The summer months bring warmer temperatures across the country, and you can stay cool by turning on the air conditioning, drinking ice water, or sitting in the shade.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation shared a photo of a squirrel stretched out on the ground on Tuesday, and the department warned city residents not to worry if they see other squirrels in a similar position.
This week, with temperatures reaching 95F (35C), the city parks department urged residents not to worry about the health of squirrels seen sprawled on the ground, legs spread behind them like a person whose arms fail in the middle of a yoga class. “On hot days, squirrels stay cool by hopping (stretching) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat,” the department tweeted.
That caused a flood of questions about what splooting means. But the word, of unknown origin, has been kicking around the internet for some time, popular with pet owners delighted to see their dog or cat stretching out its hind legs in a playful pose.
“It’s just fine,” NYC Parks tweeted on Monday, along with a photo of a splooting squirrel. “On hot days, squirrels keep cool by splooting (stretching out) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat. It is sometimes referred to as heat dumping.”
There are numerous variations of the power position, according to the Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital. There are three different types of sploots: the traditional sploot, in which one leg is tucked under the body while the other is pushed to the side, and the full sploot (the animal has kicked both legs behind the body, exhibiting a full body ). section). Splooting also has other cute names like “frog”, “frog dogging”, “panqueking” and “superman”.
Splooting is a great photo opportunity: there’s a subreddit dedicated to sploot shots, as well as one called toolps, dedicated to reverse splooting, when an animal lies on its back with its legs in the air. But stretching actually has some functional benefits. As Andrea Y. Tu, medical director of Behavior Vets in New York City, explained to Sam Howell in a Dodo article, there are a few reasons why animals, like dogs, engage in splooting.
“Sometimes they like it because it feels good to stretch,” Tu told the Dodo. “Some animals like to stretch out in that position. Some animals can enjoy the cool feeling of the ground in the belly.” Unless they look like they’re in pain, those spitting squirrels are fine.
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