Saturday 20 September 2014

Mushroom Drying by Squirrels

    A couple of weeks ago, we spotted this beautiful mushroom growing beside the trail.  I think it is an Amanita muscaria, var. formosa, which is considered poisonous.  I was thus pretty surprised a week later when I saw a chunk taken out of of the mushroom and discovered it lodged up against a tree branch drying (photo below).  I realized it was probably done by a squirrel.
    I had first run into examples of squirrels drying mushrooms in a pine forest when I was timber cruising back in my BC Forest Service days.  I kept finding mushrooms up in the branches of small trees, but this is the first one I have seen close to our house, and the fact that it is a poisonous variety, made me scratch my head.
    I know that poisonous is species dependent, for example chocolate is supposed to be poisonous to dogs, but is good for humans.  Maybe these Amanita are not poisonous to squirrels.

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