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'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the in-the-dead-of-night-squirrel-bites dept.

Science 54

sciencehabit (1205606) writes Few scientists have ever seen the rare tufted ground squirrel (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), which hides in the hilly forests of Borneo, but it is an odd beast. It's twice the size of most tree squirrels, and it reputedly has a taste for blood. Now, motion-controlled cameras have revealed another curious fact. The 35-centimeter-long rodent has the bushiest tail of any mammal compared with its body size.

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54 comments

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so cute! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47357905)

Oh yeah, just let that critter suck ya dry.

Vampire Squirrel Overlords (5, Funny)

Hallucienda (893346) | about 3 months ago | (#47357927)

I for one welcome our new Vampire Squirrel overlords.

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358031)

they're so FLUFFY!

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (2)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47358507)

Given that their automated camera happened to snap pictures of an adorable-looking but viscious killer squirrel, did it also happen to also snap a picture an evil jester, a whiny prince, or at least someone eating a fish cream sandwich?

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (2)

azav (469988) | about 2 months ago | (#47359405)

Everyone knows that the jungle is not natural habitat of evil jesters.

Duh.

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 months ago | (#47362105)

I think we have a new candidate for an IgNobel?

Re: Vampire Squirrel Overlords (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 months ago | (#47359479)

Or a woolly mammoth, a sloth, and a saber toothed tiger.

Re: Vampire Squirrel Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47365851)

walked into a bar

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (1)

azav (469988) | about 2 months ago | (#47359397)

I, for one, welcome our new vampire squirrel overlords.

FTFY

Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (2)

Alorelith (118865) | about 2 months ago | (#47359611)

Aha...Joss Whedon is not a genius. It turns out he just plagiarized his ideas from Fluffy the Vampire Slayer :(

Nobody on here knows about biology (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 3 months ago | (#47357939)

Biology is for girls and according to Karl Popper, who is the God of capitalsm alongside the idiot saint Anne Raynd, it is not even a science, just a hobby.

Plus, can you prove that these are squirrels and not toads? I think they are arboreal toads, not that I'm into biology or knitting or any other stupid Italian girl stuff.

Re: Nobody on here knows about biology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358617)

Looks like you forgot your meds today, bro.

Re:Nobody on here knows about biology (1)

azav (469988) | about 2 months ago | (#47359421)

My 100% heterosexual and male marine biology degree wishes to contest your postulation.

Waste of taxpayer money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357961)

From the article:

Melissa Hawkins, a mammalogist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

There you have it. Your taxpayer dollars are going to considering the fluffiness of squirrel tails. Not only is running a museum like the Smithsonian an enumerated power of the federal government under the Constitution, but these scientists aren't even working on things that will make Americans' lives better.

How 'bout this: if you statists are so rah-rah for this navel-gazing, why don't you pay for it yourself instead of having the federal government put a gun to the heads of your fellow Americans?

Re:Waste of taxpayer money (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47358041)

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/m... [linkedin.com]

She provides plenty of reasons for the research there. Moreover, the article says nothing about the Smithsonian paying for this research. She just happens to be a world expert on these squirrels and is working there, likely because they have a collection of preserved specimens that she is using in her studies. Given that the Smithsonian is providing their collection of preserved specimens from this species for her research, I wouldn't be surprised if what the universities and research institutions tied to this effort have to offer are the funds to engage in the expeditions. You'll be pleased to know that neither George Mason University nor the research station based in Spain are US federal government institutions.

Mind you, I'm not attempting to make any sort of political statement with this post, I'm merely seeking to point out the lack of a factual basis for most of your assertions.

Re:Waste of taxpayer money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47361291)

Melissa Hawkins was not involved in the research for this project, and was only used to get a soundbite for the news piece. The first author on the paper was their teenage daughter, followed by her moth who is an independent scientists, and then father who has a position at Australia National University but was working with an Indonesian conservation organization. Unless you did a ctrl-F for "Smithsonian", you would have seen most of this before getting to the line you quoted.

Re:Waste of taxpayer money (1)

thunderbird32 (1138071) | about 2 months ago | (#47362789)

Fair enough, but if you get to pull out of funding the Smithsonian, I get to withhold my tax dollars from military spending.

No way. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357999)

The George Walker Bushiest tail compared with his body size has president Obama. I mean, there is not much that could safely be categorized as anything else.

Why is this on Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358011)

Whats next, articles about bird watching? Are we all over 70 already?

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47358541)

Quit your yappin. When I was your age, we used a wood-burning Slashdot. Old Tindery, we called it. Of course, back in those days, we didn't have the internet, we had to connect to it with a couple pieces of copper wire and some old fishing line, which back in those days was known as "trout twine". You could pick up a coil of trout twine and a shiny red apple for a nickel down at Bailey's Drug, but there was a nickel shortage due to the war, so I had to use five red cents which I got from picking a barrel full of cucumbers down in Birchton. "Greeny Sausages", we called them. I could eat a greeny sausage all day. Maybe two, but never three, because then my aunt would give me a whooping with her hickory switch for being greedy. And oh, you don't want to see Aunt Margie's hickory switch. It was a mule's leg in length and made of the most knotty hickory a lad ever did see...

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 2 months ago | (#47358985)

You sound like the "Grumpy Old Man" [thebigshow.com] character on "The John Boy and Billy Big Show".

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 2 months ago | (#47360527)

Did you wear an onion on your belt, too? Or was that just the fashion up around Springfield [imdb.com] ?

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | about 2 months ago | (#47358573)

It's in the science section. It's news about science. Slashdot is more than just maths and computers. Science is more than just Physics.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47359695)

yes - here it is on a science graph and everything
http://xkcd.com/435/

News for Nerds... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358023)

I guess we have to discuss any way we can of getting a little tail.

Its not like it comes easy for us.

Hmm, let me guess... (2, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | about 2 months ago | (#47358039)

Hmm, let me guess...

News for nutters, stuff that squeaks?

Re:Hmm, let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358133)

Much in the style of Slashdot there is more fluff than meat.

Re:Hmm, let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358717)

Hmm, let me guess...

News for nutters, stuff that squeaks?

Only if the same squirrel comes back to the same motion-sensing camera a few day or maybe even weeks later....

Re:Hmm, let me guess... (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 2 months ago | (#47359159)

Hmm, let me guess...

News for nutters, stuff that squeaks?

There are options for you. You can block what you don't want.

It's News for Nerds, not News for computer programmers only.

I shall hold off on my usual rational comments. (4, Funny)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47358083)

Fulffffffffffffffffffffffffffeh!

You can't resist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358107)

[x] Touch fluffy tail

Re:You can't resist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358399)

Bad vampire touch! Bad vampire touch!

Re:You can't resist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47362309)

If you don't link it, people won't know what you're talking about you know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Holy Crap!!! (4, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | about 2 months ago | (#47358145)

Local legends suggest that Rheithrosciurus, which is thought to mostly eat giant acorns, can be savage. Hunters say that the squirrels will perch on low branches, jump onto a deer, gash its jugular vein, and disembowel the carcass. "It sounds pretty fantastical," says a skeptical Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. "Even more than its fluffy tail."

This sounds far too awesome to be fact checked.

Re:Holy Crap!!! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47358743)

Clearly none of the deer lived to tell the tale.

So fluffy (4, Funny)

Shadyman (939863) | about 2 months ago | (#47358199)

Squirrel with huge, fluffy tail and a taste for blood?

"It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"

Re: So fluffy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358629)

He vants to suck your nuts!

Hey look, a squirrel (3, Funny)

Jonathan Hart (2984995) | about 2 months ago | (#47358415)

In a forest in Borneo, a small group encounters a surprisingly large squirrel with an exceedingly bushy tail. It is grooming itself. 1: "Its soooo cute." 2: "Hey look... Another one." 3: Looking tense, he firmly grasps 2's shoulder, and in a muted growl, "Look in the trees." The camera pans up and around showing what could be thousands of squirrels perched on branches in and around the small group. The squirrels stare at the group motionlessly. The camera starts to slowly back up and away from the scene, and just as the squirrels become difficult to individually distinguish, they descend in brown furry waves upon the hapless group, whose screams scare up a number of birds from a distance tree.

Re:Hey look, a squirrel (2)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47358771)

I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *squirrel*, isn't it?

Re:Hey look, a squirrel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47359837)

LMAO, I was coming here to post something along that lines. Posting AC due to modding.

Hey look, a squirrel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47362439)

In photography, "pan" means to turn left and right. For up and down you want "tilt." Thus a camera cannot "pan up."

World's fluffiest tail (1)

azav (469988) | about 2 months ago | (#47358595)

Oh yeah, finally some real science.

Well that settles it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47358801)

So, we're doomed right? No aliens, no nukes, no super volcanoes, no religious apocalypses, no zombies, this will be the end of us.

R.O.U.S.'s (4, Funny)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 2 months ago | (#47359015)

Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist...

CAPYBARA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47363937)

Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capybara

About the size of a medium dog, and does ok as pets. Also used in Enpanadas as the Catolic Church says they are like fish.

I'm warning you! (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47359097)

He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!

When you go to Borneo... (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47359129)

...be sure to bring the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch

It's the Cuteacabra. (3, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 months ago | (#47359337)

'nuff said.

I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47359529)

...they put every other ingredient in shampoo claiming it helps with body and volume (don't see how those are different), so why not add blood? Or even "vampire squirrel blood"?

Fluffy the Vampire Squirrel Hunter (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47359803)

New series on the WB coming to you this fall:

Fluffy the Vampire Squirrel Hunter.

Join Fluffy and her team of misfits battle the increasing population of Vampire Squirrels.

Ya, sorry, I know it's stupid, I'm out of weed currently.

Squirrel got my baby!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47359989)

Kinda like how the Aussies have the threat of dingos. Can't wait for the SyFy adaption called "Squirrelgeddon" that will hopefully not include sparkly, drama queen squirrels... or maybe that would be good for comedy spoof.

It's no match (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 2 months ago | (#47360281)

for the San Acitos Dirt Shrew.

Re:It's no match (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47360965)

they're extinct, the hoop snakes would run them over, then eat them

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