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Sunday, March 6, 2011

I have a table booked: The moment a clever squirrel uses a giant fungus as a platter

By Daily Mail Reporter

Clever: The red squirrel takes its lunch of nuts to the ready-made platform - a Razor Strip Fungus - and feasts in these shots captured by Mark Hancox

This is the moment a clever squirrel balances a hoard of nuts on a giant fungus growing out of a tree and uses it - as a PLATTER.

The red squirrel scampered down the birch tree and perched on top of the Razor Strop Fungus which also served as a handy watch tower.

Wildlife photographer Mark Hancox, 48, captured the incredible moment while he was on an expedition to the Cairngorms in Scotland two weeks ago

He waited for seven hours in a hide he built 20 metres away from the tree to get the remarkable set of shots.

Mark, from Hartlebury, Worcs., said: 'I love going to the Cairngorms because you never know what wildlife you might see.

'I was actually looking for a rare bird when I came across this large fungus sticking out of a tree about four feet off the ground.

'It must have been about half-a-foot in diameter and about an inch thick.

'I took some close-up snaps of it just for my own records because I thought its shape and size were interesting when I spotted some chewed nuts on it.

'I put two and two together and realised it must be some kind of natural shelf which is being used by a squirrel.

'I set up a hide far enough away from the tree to stay unheard and waited.

'After seven hours I spotted this little red squirrel poke his head out from the top of the tree and scamper down to the fungus.

'He jumped on top of it and started eating his nuts which he’d left on it. It was quite amazing and just shows how ingenious these animals are.'



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