Problem Solving in Wild Squirrels

Institute Seminar by Pizza Ka Ye Chow

  • Date: Jan 16, 2024
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Pizza Ka Ye Chow
  • For over a decade, Pizza has been studying Eastern grey squirrels and Eurasian red squirrels’ problem solving and innovation ability. She is intrigued by the agility and adaptability of these rodent species. She started studying squirrels’ problem-solving ability during her MSc study at the University of Exeter (UK). She continued her passion with squirrels and this study topic during her PhD (Exeter, UK) and most of her postdoc fellowships (UK, USA, Japan, Finland). Pizza had also worked with other animal species such as parrots during her work at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Germany) and bumblebees at the University of Exeter (UK). She is currently a Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of Chester (UK) and her current work primarily focuses on squirrels’ problem solving in urban environments, but also extends to understanding bees’ learning.
  • Location: online
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
  • Contact:
Problem Solving in Wild Squirrels
For more than 10 years, my collaborators and I have been studying the problem-solving ability of squirrels. These rodent species are commonly seen in rural and urban areas of different European and Asian countries. We compared squirrels’ problem-solving ability in rural and urban environments, examined the factors that made them succeed or fail to solve problems, their ability to apply learned information to solve similar problems and recall learned information to solve old problems. Here, I will present some results on the problem-solving performance of wild squirrels. I will also share how we design and set up a problem-solving task for these species. I will discuss how our findings may relate to their ‘popularity’ to be seen in different types of habitats and other implications on city management. Finally, I will mention the challenges that we face in studying this topic, working with these species and some future directions.

The MPI-AB Seminar Series is open to members of MPI and Uni Konstanz. The zoom link is published each week in the MPI-AB newsletter.

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