No, these squirrels aren't dead. They're 'splooting' in hot weather. Here's what it means.

·2 min read

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.

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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Here's a look at animals splooting all around the world:

A dog cools down after a dog race on July 6, 2014 in Munich. Several hundred dogs of breed "Pug" replace the second Munich Mopsrennen and run a 50-meter course in competition.
A dog cools down after a dog race on July 6, 2014 in Munich. Several hundred dogs of breed "Pug" replace the second Munich Mopsrennen and run a 50-meter course in competition.
A giant panda climbs over blocks of ice as it tries to cool off in its enclosure at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province Aug. 7, 2013.
A giant panda climbs over blocks of ice as it tries to cool off in its enclosure at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province Aug. 7, 2013.
A red panda lies next to large blocks of ice to cool off in its enclosure at the Wuhan Zoo on August 7, 2013, in central China's Hubei province.
A red panda lies next to large blocks of ice to cool off in its enclosure at the Wuhan Zoo on August 7, 2013, in central China's Hubei province.
A golden monkey lies on the ground to cool down on a scorching day at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan city, central China's Hubei province, July 24, 2016.
A golden monkey lies on the ground to cool down on a scorching day at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan city, central China's Hubei province, July 24, 2016.
A semiconscious kite lies by the roadside on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India, on May 3, 2022.
A semiconscious kite lies by the roadside on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India, on May 3, 2022.

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