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Pine County officer discovers squirrel's winter nut collection in back of squad car

That's a well-prepared — and sneaky — gray squirrel.
The squirrel's winter food storage.

The squirrel's winter food storage.

An opportunistic squirrel offered up a couple of surprises to a Pine County officer this week. 

The officer in question was driving Monday morning when a squirrel popped out from underneath the squad car's computer and jumped on the dashboard, according to a  post from the Pin County Sheriff's Office. The animal ran toward the passenger side, "gave a quick stare down" to the officer, then disappeared somewhere in the back.

The officer pulled over and opened his doors, hoping the squirrel would run for freedom.

Instead, nothing. He could not find the squirrel anywhere.

So the officer checked in the back of the patrol car and that's when he discovered the nuts. Dozens of them, stashed away by the well-prepared squirrel, thinking ahead to the upcoming winter. 

Related: Cow spotted in car at Wisconsin McDonald's drive-thru

"If anyone sees a squirrel looking for his food, we are looking for said squirrel for questioning in relation to this incident," the sheriff's office added.

Squirrels cache food, such as nuts, to help them survive the winter, where food would otherwise be quite scarce. Gray squirrels will organize these hoarded nuts and scatter them about in a deliberate manner (though normally these caches are buried, not put in the back of a squad car).

The Minnesota DNR says gray squirrels are able to hide 25 nuts in the span of about 30 minutes, and can relocate about 80% of the buried items.

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