Red squirrels sniff out danger better than greys 紅松鼠比灰松鼠更能嗅出危險

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Wide-eyed and cute as they appear, pine martens are sharp-clawed predators. Their agility and tree-climbing skills make them the enemy of any squirrel. But an innate fear of their predators seems, according to this research, to give the reds an edge over their grey competitors.

雖然從外表上看,它們眼睛睜得很大,又可愛,但松貂是長有利爪的捕食性動物。敏捷的行動力和高超的爬樹技巧使它們成為所有松鼠的敵人。但根據這項研究,對掠食者與生俱來的恐懼似乎讓紅松鼠在其競爭對手灰松鼠的面前佔有優勢。

When the researchers applied pine martens’ scent to squirrel-feeding stations, they found that only the red squirrels responded, showing much more vigilance when they sniffed out the danger.

在研究人員們給松鼠的喂食器上噴了松貂的氣味後,他們發現只有紅松鼠作出了反應,它們在嗅出危險時表現得更警覺。

Grey squirrels, on the other hand, seemed to ignore the scent and carry on regardless. This lack of a behavioural response, researchers say, means greys are much more vulnerable.

另一邊,灰松鼠則似乎不顧松貂的氣味,繼續進食。研究人員說,這種缺乏行為反應的表現意味著灰松鼠更容易受到傷害。

But with more than two million grey squirrels in the UK and just 150,000 native reds, they could do with any advantage that evolution has given them.

但英國有200多萬隻灰松鼠,而僅有15萬隻土生土長的紅松鼠,紅松鼠需要利用進化賦予它們的任何有利條件。

詞彙

wide-eyed 睜大眼睛的
pine martens 松貂
sharp-clawed 爪子鋒利的
predators 掠食者,捕食性動物
agility 敏捷度
tree-climbing 爬樹的
innate 天生的,與生俱來的
edge 優勢
scent 氣味
vigilance 警覺,警惕
sniffed out 聞出了,嗅出了
behavioural response 行為反應
vulnerable 脆弱的,易受傷害的
evolution 進化

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。

1. What characteristics make pine martens the enemy of any squirrel?

2. What did the researchers do to find out which species is more vigilant to danger?

3. True or false? Grey squirrels are more likely to be attacked than red squirrels.

4. How many native red squirrels are there in the UK?

答案

1. What characteristics make pine martens the enemy of any squirrel?
Their agility and tree-climbing skills make them the enemy of any squirrel.

2. What did the researchers do to find out which species is more vigilant to danger?
The researchers applied pine martens’ scent to squirrel-feeding stations and observed the responses of the red squirrels and the grey squirrels.

3. True or false? Grey squirrels are more likely to be attacked than red squirrels.
True. The research discovered that red squirrels showed more vigilance when they sniffed out danger, while grey squirrels seemed to ignore the danger, leaving them more vulnerable to attack.

4. How many native red squirrels are there in the UK?
There are 150,000 native reds in the UK.