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Fast Fact: Acorns

Acorns are in high demand at this time of year, with animals eating up and stocking up to prepare for winter. Squirrels are the most well-known acorn lovers, but other fans include deer, chipmunks and bird such as wild turkeys, woodpeckers, crows and blue jays.

Acorns on an oak tree.
(Photo via Shutterstock)

Acorns are the seeds of oak trees, so anywhere we have oak trees you’re likely to find acorns scattered on the ground come fall — unless the critters have eaten them all first. Acorns look like they are wearing a hat. The smooth part on the bottom is the seed, and the rough “hat” is called the cupule, or cup.

Oak trees don’t produce the same number of acorns each year. Some years are mast years, when they produce many more acorns than usual. These mast years typically occur every two to five years, and scientists don’t fully understand why. During these high-production years, a single oak tree can produce as many as 10,000 acorns!


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