About Your Privacy on this Site
Welcome! To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads. Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices.
You always have the choice to experience our sites without personalized advertising based on your web browsing activity by visiting the DAA’s Consumer Choice page, the NAI's website, and/or the EU online choices page, from each of your browsers or devices. To avoid personalized advertising based on your mobile app activity, you can install the DAA’s AppChoices app here. You can find much more information about your privacy choices in our privacy policy. Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our sites and applications. By clicking continue below and using our sites or applications, you agree that we and our third party advertisers can:
  • transfer your data to the United States or other countries; and
  • process and share your data so that we and third parties may serve you with personalized ads, subject to your choices as described above and in our privacy policy.

Wild Animals

Study: Male Squirrels Don't Help Females Do Anything, Really

Philip Childs/Solent News/REX/Shutterstock

You know those television commercials that portray husbands as barely human clods, unable to perform even the simplest of tasks without making an unholy mess and then their disproportionately attractive wife just shakes her head and laughs and then ostensibly goes off and buys the product that will fix said unholy mess?

It turns out that that’s just a portrait of most squirrel marriages.

A new study by Northern Arizona University has found that the division of labor in the average squirrel household is, well, shameful.

Fifty Arctic squirrels in Alaska were outfitted with fitness collars to determine why male rodents were more likely to be eaten by predators.

The researchers found that females do more work caring for offspring, foraging and storing nuts. The females spend three to six fewer hours above ground than males — presumably because they spend time underground caring for young — and when they were above ground, they were more active than their male counterparts.

“It is not clear what [the males] are doing while above ground,” the authors write. “The additional time spent above ground may be simply to loaf/bask in the sun.”

Females have to spend more time foraging because they not only have to find enough food to keep themselves going, but also to produce enough energy to gestate and produce milk for their babies. Males, meanwhile … well, they’re deadbeats. Two years of study confirmed this. Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of the entire female population of Arctic squirrels shaking their heads, shocked that humans have just now discovered this.