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Need to cool off? Do what Austin squirrels do: Sploot!

 A squirrel spreads out on a tree.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Splooting — when animals lie on their bellies and stretch out their arms and legs — may be the key to keeping cool this summer.

When it's really hot outside, do you ever feel like lying down and spreading out over a cool surface?

During this recent heat wave in Austin, local squirrels have been doing just that. It's called "splooting."

A squirrel sploots on the concrete outside the KUT office.
Stephanie Federico
/
KUT
A squirrel sploots on the concrete outside the KUT office.

Four-legged animals sploot when they’re exhausted from the heat. They lie flat on their stomachs with their arms and hind legs stretched out.

Jules Maron, the operations manager at Austin Wildlife Rescue, said there's multiple theories behind why animals do this. There's one theory that’s generally accepted, though.

"There is less fur on the bellies of those animals, and there's a lot of blood vessels,” she said. “So, if they can find a cooler type of thing to lay on, like a rock or concrete, they are basically able to kind of dissipate their heat and absorb some of that coolness."

Squirrels aren’t the only animals to sploot, Maron said. Bears, dogs and rabbits are also notorious for splooting.

It may look weird, but if your pet is splooting, there's no need to be alarmed. Just like you, they're exhausted, hot and looking for some relief.

“I don’t think they can sploot enough with the heat we get here in Austin,” Maron said.

Maybe we all ought to try splooting.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at hpanjwani@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
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