The summer months bring warmer temperatures across the country, and you might keep cool by cranking up your air conditioning, drinking ice water or sitting in the shade.
But some animals have their own way of handling the warm weather, and there's a name for it: splooting.
New York City's Department of Parks & Recreation on Tuesday shared a photo of a squirrel stretching out on the ground, with the department warning city residents not to worry if they see other squirrels in a similar position.
“On hot days, squirrels keep cool by splooting (stretching out) on cool surfaces to reduce body heat,” the department explained. "It is sometimes referred to as heat dumping."
And New York City squirrels aren't alone in splooting. The Petrified Forest National Park, located in northeastern Arizona, shared a photo on Twitter in 2020 of a white-tailed antelope squirrel practicing heat dumping.
If you see a squirrel lying down like this, don't worry; it's just fine. 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. pic.twitter.com/pD1T3lPbBH
— NYC Parks (@NYCParks) August 9, 2022
White-tailed Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus leucurus) look like pastel chipmunks. They practice "heat dumping", lying with their belly pressed to the cool ground in the shade. This releases heat in their body, cooling them down. Credit Andy Bridges (hl) #PetrifiedForest pic.twitter.com/yR3jxEBnAa
— Petrified Forest NP (@PetrifiedNPS) July 22, 2020
Squirrels aren’t the only animals who opt for splooting while trying to cool down either. The National Park Service last month explained on Twitter that animals “lay spread-eagle, usually face down with all arms and legs spread out” in an effort to lower their body temperature, sharing a photo of a bear lying on the ground.
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— National Park Service (@NatlParkService) July 27, 2022
Here's a look at animals splooting all around the world:
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY's NOW team.
Marina Pitofsky is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is splooting? Meaning of the move used by squirrels in the heat