We all believe that all plant-eating mammals eat plants, like grasses, leaves, fruits, algae, or whatever they find while foraging. But now a research reveals that humans are not the only mammal to tend and harvest their crops.
New research reveals that southeastern pocket gophers (a small burrowing rodent) also practice their brand of farming.
Pocket gophers spend most of their life underground. These mammals get about 20 and 60% of their daily energy intake from farmed roots. They build extensive tunnel networks which are considered as shelter and larders for the animals. However, researchers discovered that these mammals promote and defend meandering tunnels of underground roots and collect them for food.
In their study, researchers found that these little rodents not only harvest the longleaf pine roots, but they also grow these roots into their homes and cultivate them. Moreover, these tunnels are always modified, reworked, and also fertilized by the nutrients in feces that they spread within tunnels.
Veronica Selden, who led the research, said, “Because they provide and cultivate this optimal environment for growth — that’s what we think makes them farmers,”
“They’re providing this perfect environment for roots to grow and fertilizing them with their waste,”