The Garden Community for Garden Lovers



Many people walking in New York City’s Central Park have noticed a sizable number of its squirrel population lying flat on the ground or on park benches belly down with all legs stretched out. Out of concern that these animals are sick the park visitors have been sending pictures of this situation to the NYC Parks Department. In response to the great concern, a notice has been posted in the park that there is no need for worry for what they see is the 2300 or so squirrels in the park doing what is known as “ Splooning”to cool off in the heat wave we are now having. Splooning is the behavior many animals have to beat the heat by lying flat belly down on a cool surface with all legs spread out. Well how about that! Taking my dog Charlie out for a walk today he made a beeline to a tree and splooning in its shade. I have seen this behavior in many different kinds of animals but never knew what it was called until now. Another behavior I have noticed in this hot and very dry weather is an occasional squirrel dashing out into the road after a car passes by and licking the asphalt. I finally realized that these poor creatures were licking the drops of water coming from the car air conditioning system.

More blog posts by loosestrife2

Previous post: With Most Of The Garden Work Completed For This Year...

Next post: Cosmos....the late bloomer



That is basically what humans do when we 'starfish' in bed. I've only known it as splaying, same thing. Large surface area to allow more heat to radiate off and a larger area to be in contact with a cooler surface.

I always think it looks really uncomfortable when dogs have their back legs splayed. But they clearly don't seem to mind it.

15 Aug, 2022


I have made a correction to my blog, the word is Splooning not Splooting which my auto spell checker preferred.

15 Aug, 2022


Our little Westie Harriet splays out like that a lot, we call it Frogs Legs in the Westie world as most of them lie in that position....

15 Aug, 2022


Poor little squirrels.Those water drops mustn't taste very nice!

I've seen dogs and cats do that occasionally. Splooning is a lovely word isn't it? Very descriptive. I wish I could see those squirrels on park benches! A sensible choice, if those benches have seats made of wooden slats, as they'll have good ventilation!

16 Aug, 2022


Loosestrife, I've seen birds do this in our garden and on the bund. I guessed it was to cool off. Interesting to hear squirrels doing it too. I agree, love the term 'splooning'..thanks for sharing.

20 Aug, 2022


Only just seen this interesting blog. Cats tend to sploon the other way up, on their backs. The fur is thinner there, though mostly they just find the shadiest spot, like under a hedge. Groups of lions are often seen sprawled on their backs, in the wildlife programs. ( not in my back garden)😊

21 Nov, 2022

Add a comment

Recent posts by loosestrife2

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    25 Feb, 2011