Disney World convenience store owners are no on the lookout for a tiny, furry thief who’s been stealing their peanut M&Ms.
There are lots of place in the world where the local wildlife has learned to integrate themselves with the urban landscape. Monkeys in Southeast Asia and South America are known to hop from restaurant to restaurant to snag an unwary patron’s appetizer, while pigeons are known the world over for their ubiquity in the city.
We don’t normally think of squirrels as urban creatures, but that opinion may change thanks to one Eastern grey squirrel native to Florida’s Disney World.
In a video posted on Facebook, the grey-furred bandit is seen rummaging around the snack counter at a convenience store while a nearby woman tries to shoo it away. Undeterred, the squirrel keeps its eyes on the prize and finds it: a bag of peanut M&Ms. He then pushes it to the ground and takes off with it to the amused sound of his human audience.
The video has been shared over 16,000 times since it was originally posted on Brianna Bradshaw’s Facebook account. It soon went viral after being posted earlier in June, to the point where news agencies from around the globe have picked up on it as a curious and humorous story.
However, the most impressive part of the video isn’t so much that the squirrel got away with a bag of peanuts, but that he (or she--nobody in theTravel’s office can ID the squirrel’s gender at a glance) was able to identify the yellow M&M bag as one containing chocolate covered nuts at all.
The bags are designed to be airtight so as to seal in freshness, thus making it impossible for critters to smell what’s inside them. This particular squirrel has enough intelligence to equate the iconic yellow bag with the fact that inside it there are chocolate-covered peanuts. In other words, it learned which bag has peanut M&Ms inside just by sight alone.
We don’t know if this means that squirrels can now read, but if so, we’re in for some serious evolutionary competition.