People are going nuts over fat squirrels on social media

People are posting pictures of tubby squirrels on social media.
People are posting pictures of tubby squirrels on social media.PHOTO: ANNA NORRIS/ TWITTER

Rotund rodents are the latest thing to go viral on social media. 

In parts of North America and Europe, people are taking pictures of squirrels sporting chubbier forms than usual.

Squirrels put on weight in the cooler months leading to winter as a way of dealing with food scarcity.

But the little creatures are particularly portly this year because of the milder winter, which has blessed them with more food and less cold weather to deplete their fat reserves. 

In the United Kingdom, last December was not only the warmest on record but also the wettest, resulting in increased supply of squirrel favourites such as acorns. 

Squirrels pack on the pounds because they do not hibernate. Instead, they hide nuts in the ground and burrow through the snow to retrieve them when food is scarce. As temperatures drop further, squirrels can also burn off the excess fat on their bodies when there is not enough food.

With the additional weight, these usually light-footed creatures are moving slower, which spells critter cuteness as people snap pictures of them for social media posterity. Check out #fatsquirrel on Twitter and Instagram.