Researchers have discovered a strange behavior by California ground squirrels.
When the squirrels are confronted by a rattlesnake, they heat up their tails by about three degrees and wave them around. The rattlesnakes, which can sense the heat from the squirrels’ tail, usually just slither away instead of attacking.
Experts aren’t sure exactly why this trick works, but they believe that the heated tails are a way to warn the rattlesnakes that they’ve lost the element of surprise.
The rattlesnakes prefer to attack in an ambush because the squirrels, who are immune to snake venom, can defend themselves by biting, scratching and kicking gravel at the snake.