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Last Updated: Thursday January 17 2008 09:18 GMT

Smart squirrels fool food thieves

Squirrel eating a nut

Scientists studying the way squirrels behave say the furry creatures are a lot smarter than we thought.

They saw the rodents pretend to bury their nuts away from where they have buried them, to draw any would-be thieves away from their food.

Experts watched the squirrels pretend to put food into pits in the ground, and cover it over with soil and leaves.

They said the creatures put on the show of hiding the non-existent nuts more often when they're being watched.

The animal experts say their research shows that squirrels understand what stealing is.

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