Twelve things about Squirrels that will blow your mind

Squirrels rule. Here’s why:


Where have you been all my life?

I’ve tried to explain my love of squirrels to folks before, only to watch them back away slowly and speed dial their doctor for a rabies vaccine. So here it is (with pictures), twelve amazing facts about squirrels for the uninitiated.

1) There’s a squirrel superhero: Squirrel Girl! (And Ulysses –the squirrel superhero from Kate DiCamillo’s fabulous Flora and Ulysses, who writes poems!).

2) Squirrels can jump vertically five feet, and can leap between objects that are over ten feet apart. Given that squirrels are less than 1/10th the size of people, if you could do this, you would be a superhero who could literally jump onto five story buildings and clear buses and trucks in a single bound.

3) Squirrels can sprint faster than you. (Unless you’re Usain Bolt, in which case you’re probably faster than a squirrel. But can you run vertically up a tree at 12 mph? I didn’t think so.)

Twiggy has experienced more in two squirrel years than most people do in a lifetime.

Twiggy has experienced more in two squirrel years than most people do in a lifetime.

4) Squirrels are good swimmers, although they usually prefer not to. Except for Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel.

Rare Oberlin Unicorn squirrel.

Albus, the rare Oberlin unicorn squirrel.

5) The college I went to had a rare white unicorn squirrel in its central square. I saw it once, and it was one of the best days of my life.tumblr_m2s6z0PdWp1qgugy6o1_500

Moments later there was nothing left but bones. (Image from Brian Ashcraft)

Moments later there was nothing left but bones. (Image from Brian Ashcraft)

6) In Japan, there are squirrel gardens (where you can pet squirrels with oven mitts).

7) The white fur on the inner thigh of a squirrel is the softest thing you have never touched.

8) Squirrels pull out their tail fur for their young.

9) A squirrel nest is called a drey. It looks like a leafy piñata in a tree, but please don’t hit it with a stick.

10) Squirrels in North America used to migrate in massive numbers, following the cycles of bountiful acorn harvests. When settlers first arrived in this country, they reported squirrels being so thick in the trees above during a migration that they blocked out the sun for days. The best part — squirrels could do most of the journey from the East coast to Indiana without ever touching the ground. But as settlers started to clear the forests, the great squirrel migrations became fragmented. Where squirrels had to cross fields, they were killed in the thousands by coyotes, foxes, and other predators, including people who reported killing hundreds of squirrels per hour with clubs (and getting a penny a pelt). The last great squirrel migration was in 1963 in Wisconsin, when a couple million squirrels were seen migrating (and dying on the highway and in lakes). One fisherman reported a wave of squirrels swimming toward his boat and nearly sinking it as they ran over him. Since then, this mass migration behavior has gone extinct.*

11) The Japanese flying squirrel is the cutest thing you have ever seen. (If this doesn’t win you over to the squirrel side of the force, then try number 12).

Laugh not. We ate a dog.

Laugh not. We ate a dog.

12) Squirrels have been known to gang up and attack much larger animals. Don’t believe me? Check out this BBC report of squirrels in Russia who killed a large Rottweiler that barked at them and “carried off pieces of its flesh.” The moral: don’t mess with squirrels!

And we can fly too!

And we can fly too!

*Okay, this post might seem to have very little to do with writing (except for the fact that squirrels are awesome, and therefore an inspiration to every writer ever) but for years I’ve wanted to write a book on squirrel migration (see #10). Trouble is, when I tried to research it, I found that very few biologists know about this behavior, and one of the leading experts, Dr. Flygar, (yes, that really is his name) I fear has passed away. So it’s been a tough one to investigate, but if you know any experts on squirrel migration, or migration witnesses, please send me their contact information. The wonder of squirrel migrations must be documented before all knowledge of this fantastic (and now extinct) behavior fades away!

Final note: There is a Squirrel Lovers Club. Don’t judge. Just join. If you love animal stories and ecological thrillers, check out my latest award-winning novel: THE LAST PANTHER.

A “Best New Book for Kids” pick!


  1. Amie A. Conant says:

    Love this post! I’m glad to find another lover of squirrels. When I started my degree, 26 years ago, for photography the first two weeks– were all pictures of squirrels. Also created a poem about squirrels last year. When I was a child, my grandparents had a white squirrel on their farm, which was fascinating to me.

    • Squirrel poetry! Please share!

      • Amie A. Conant says:


        queer, hairy, creatures
        shuffling, shambling, wallowing
        no bones in their bodies

        discover a good way
        to avoid admiring only acorns.

        wrapped in skins of sage rabbits
        the dirt old and thick
        strangely blurred
        divided by seams
        and wrinkles worn to the weather
        for ages.

        pass a circle
        closely besieged
        begged whiskey
        tobacco, to get away
        from the gray, grim

        see them vanish
        fellow beings—
        [not] the society of squirrels and woodchucks

        (words from John Muir’s “First Summer in the Sierras” August 24, 1869)

        This is an erasure poem–I left out words and then arranged them. As part of an exercise in poetry 412 class with Dr. Steensen. The fascinating part was the dichotomous difference between the way that John Muir described people –the native Americans, and the animals– such as squirrels.

    • Please feel free to follow us on Instagram “Maxwellthesquirrel” we are also learning sharing and educating!! Maxwell was diagnosed with a rare case of animal (squirrel) OCD 😜.
      Squirrels, handled wild squirrels and “house” squirrels require different diet support. ✌️🐿 (and we also have MoMo -she keeps maxwell company)

    • ooh I adore squirrels!! we’ve a few families who’ve become permanent residence, we’ve been feeding them for years, and we promote them living in log piles behind our home.. We’ve Douglas and Greys both equally entertaining and oh so precious! ! Not to mention their babies!!!!
      I write this with a sad heart because they disappeared as of late (mostly the dougs) and I’m truly sad about it:(
      Does anyone know what would cause this? And how to get them back:((

  2. A squirrel just destroyed my supposedly squirrel proof bird feeder.

  3. Don’t forget Red Squirrels. Red Squirrels are gorgeous.
    One of them started the Tufty Club!*
    Tufty has kept thousand of children safe on the roads since the 1960s in Britain.
    * Probably with the help of some people, but, whatever

    • I’ve been feeding “My” red squirrel for 3 years now. Red squirrels are totally different from the grey squirrels. Different diets, different habits, etc. They are very solitary and fiercely protect their domain.
      It’s very difficult to find information on the North American red squirrel. If anyone can help me out I’d appreciate it

  4. Squirrels cook says:

    Per #6, where would one find Japanese oven mitts for squirrels? And who puts them on the squirrels? And how do they get them to stay on? So many questions.

  5. This made me laugh, but it made my husband cringe. I’m pretty sure one of the main reasons he gets up in the morning, is to make our neighborhood squirrels’ lives a living hell. He has a long history of battling squirrels and a vast majority of his day is occupied patrolling the bird feeder outside his office window. Thanks to this post, Todd, he’s now afraid to let our 95-lb boxer outside…

  6. Anyone ever see a BBC (or PBS) documentary film about a squirrel in England who was raised by a cat, and would bury nuts in the litterbox, and play with the other kittens? I think it was from the 70’s or 80’s. I saw it on late night TV years ago (after a big night out), and have been searching for it ever since. I think the squirrel’s name may have been Sammy. It was an incredible story. Needs to be a picture book.

    • Mike Frappollo says:

      I feed the wild life here. squirrels, birds (robins mostly) and a rabbit. Some great battles have gone on before me. My faves are the red squirrels. Named them and I can call them when the feed is out. Noticed a different behavior today. After feeding two of the largest (Geronimo and Mr. T) they came up to me within 2 feet) as I sit in the back of my hatch back car, and both lied down spread eagle in front of me, looking at me. “Spoke to them in a calm voice for a while. After about 10 minutes, they got up, nibbled on the tips for my running shoes, grabbed some food, climbed a tree a ate it while trying to stare me down. What does this mean (to a squirrel). Earned their trust? after about 9 months.

  7. Here it is. Many thanks to Ronald Cree for finding this. It’s the best documentary ever!

  8. I zig-zagged my way to this site, in attempts to find information on a squirrel’s ability to survive a nest being blown out of a tree. I just spent my Sunday between tears and panic, over the duscovery that my beloved squirrels’ nest was gone, from the house that we recently moved from, when I went back to visit them. My landlord swears that she knows nothing of an “active removal.” Thank you for making me feel less insane and isolated in my true love for my squirrels. Madison, Wi weather was brutal, dueing the week after we moved. I can only hope.

  9. sallie keaton says:

    I have always enjoyed watching the squirrels dart here and there and hung upside down by their tails to eat out of my bird feeder. but my like of squirrels turned into my love of squirrels last October. my son cut down a dead tree in our yard, went in to eat lunch came back out to stack wood and heard a squeaking noise didn’t see anything but went and got his dad to help him look for the source, after awhile they found 1 tiny hairless pink thing no bigger than my thumb, upon looking more they found 2 others (they were not sure what they were still), looked online decided they were squirrels maybe a day old, I stopped on my way home from work and hot puppy formula and a little bottle, read a ton of information, kept them warm, them around the clock EVERY 2 hours….they were so gross little pink wrinkly skin and long tails (Ewwww). I made little tiny blankets and swaddled them to feed them (they had long nails) , after a few days of this I fell totally completely in love with Sandy, Mandy & Randy (they were now my babies) unfortunately Randy passed away, I cried for days, squirrels are unable to maintain their body temperature when they are hairless babies and in spite of my getting up every 30 minutes to check their warmth, Randy didn’t make it..We have had a farm and have lost animals before but for some reason Randy’s death just devastated me..I have taken excellent care of Sandy and Mandy but not handling them as much as I could because I had ever intention of releasing them when they got about 3 months old, but it was cold out and I still felt they needed me. they are now 7 months old and just the highlight of my days, they never cease to make me smile. I am now unable to release them because I’m afraid they will get run over, shot or not be able to find enough food and water. they have a big cage and I release them in my bathroom every few days and let them run and jump around..They like to eat ice, avocados, carrot, blueberries, and corn and pecans, and other things but those are their favorites. They let me pet them and rub their bellies in the cage but when they are out they are wild and crazy jumping from one place to the other. Love my girls. Enjoyed your post.

    • Stephanie Gill says:

      Im raising a 5 month old boy squirrel named Roscoe. Hes the light of my day. Noone seems to understand my huge amount of love i have for this little creature. But hes my baby and he loves me and needs me as much as i need him!! Nice to know someone else feels this way too.

      • I have 5 children two grown boys a grown and a half girls and my 5 month old baby NOVA a squirrel! saved him as a wee baby from a bad storm! tried to let him free but woke up one day on my couch to find him next to me! has not left since! loves to live in his little drey hanging on my shower rod that he made himself! loves to play and cuddle! and eats all his vegetables without me having to say it twice! and is very gentle! I know……….sadly that I must try to set him free again this summer………..but my doggy door will always be open to him!!!!! Long Live Squirrel Lovers!!!!!!!

  10. David Pink says:

    Squirrels are for sure fascinating animals. They chase each other 10 miles an hour around a 6 foot diameter oak tree. Some times they must dig up a hundred holes to look for a pecan nut. I still can’t figure out how they know that August 15 on their squirrel calendar to come to my pecan tree to start eating my pecans. At that date the acid in a pecan will kill a human child. The pecans are not edible to humans till about Sept 15th or later.
    My tree has aluminum sheeting on first 6″ of 2 foot dia. tree. I cut all limbs on trees around it. One tree the limbs grew back in ten years and now they only have to jump 8 feet between trees 65 feet up. If they fall with a big thump they just get up in 2 seconds and scrabble off. My 90′ pecan tree is a wild one and with lots of oil in its small size nut. I have never tasted pecans so good anywhere else. Problem is if you kill off the squirrels the Blue jays will stash the rest like they return every 15 min. The woodpeckers take their share to stash, and I’ve seen crows snatching them with out landing on tree.
    One year 2004 I borrowed a Rockrowler dog on a line to keep the squirrels away and got 47 pecans, then hurricane Ivan gave me 77 but a week later the blue jays came and they took the rest.. Anouther year 2012 Hurricane Isaac came at the right time and I got a 5gal bucket full.
    It was 6 years before I discovered that the tree bore nuts, because it was 90′ tall. Hur, Katrina knocked off 40″,but has re-grown limbs back. Tree very thin because at edge of woods. One year 2003 I saw the tree was full of nuts, that was Wednesday, I checked Saturday after work and behold the tree was empty with only a few green ones on the ground. One pecan tree up the street I counted 25 squirrels zooming around picking nuts, so that many working 15 hours a day. They kept my wife up at night with all their chewing.
    How good is their eye sight or how good they know there surroundings?
    Sometimes I open front door and as I’m walking across grass to next door, a squirrel across the street about 300 ft away in woods yells a warning to others I’m around. We have painted the tails of squirrels and taken them 1000″ away in woods, and some are seen back the next day in the tree.
    I can see my tree from back door at corner of door, but the second I look at them eating the fallen green nuts they jump on 4′ dia. fallen oak tree, then go up a tree. If I pull back my towels in bathroom window side facing tree say one inch so I can put my eyeball threw they see me in a few split seconds and they are a minimum of 170 feet away.
    The 1st year squirrels are not very smart, A squirrel will go after a nut till he dies, you can chase him off, but will be back shortly, I think squirrel talk to each other, can tell others where the nuts are as in great migration movements of long ago. It’s like migration of Monarch butterflies, all the kin folk always migrate at certain seasons. Reindeer and wildebeests know where the grass is greener at certain times of the year, so did squirrels.

  11. Bob Holmes says:

    I have been feeding my tree squirrels for two or three years and am madly in love with them all. I buy unsalted roasted peanuts from Costco and they absolutely love them. Before I started feeding them, some had sparse tail fur and irregular growth around their little bodies. After several months of daily feeding, they are filled in and nicely plump. I just love their antics and can watch them for hours.
    They will come looking for food when I whistle and “cluck” for them. I say “cluck” because that is the closest sound in trying to emulate squirrel talk.
    If I am late feeding them, the boss squiurrel will come on my back steps and look inside for me.
    I love these little creatures and they make my life more complete.

    • Thanks for your comment about the squirrels. I love watching them as well, and picturing the “boss” squirrel clucking for you cracked me up.

    • Dont B Stupid says:

      My neibour feeds squirrels. I now have squirrles in my attic. They chewed all the wires under the fuse box of my car. They destroyed the plastic parts of my lawn mower. some of the wires in my house have been eaten poseing a fire hazzard. I bought a trap and have relocated over 100 squirrels. Its too much. I will now be poisoning squirrels. Whats wrong with you people. These are just RATS but cuter. Desiese infested vermon. In a world where a peanut allergy can kill a child you are letting these things distribute them all over the neibourhood. STOP FEEDING AND ATTRACTING SQUIRRELS before your neibours house burns down or his car dies in traffic. The concquences could be fatale

      • Michelle says:

        I agree! My neighbor rehabs them only to release them in her back yard. I have 6 squirrels now who believe I’m here to serve them. They are no longer afraid of me or my dog. I saw them chase my cat across the backyard. They have eaten a hole in my soffit to gain access to my attic, eaten through my yard chair cushions for nesting materials and now are trying to eat through my 1 month old newly screened in porch. They’ve become aggressive and I see them as a nuisance. I wouldn’t mind feeding them but they’re pigs and eat all the birdseed. They bully the birds and run them off too. Enjoy is enough. I just bought a squirrelnator to trap and relocate. Glad I saw the post above I guess I’ll relocate them across town. Unless you guys want to come get them.

  12. I’m doing a project and I was just wondering if you knew how many hairs a squirrel has.

  13. I am doing a project for a class and I was wondering if you knew how many hairs a squirrel has

    • Great question! I have no idea. A wildlife Biologist might be able to give you an estimate on this. What I do know is that when you see a squirrel without much hair on its tail, it’s often because the squirrel pulled out its tail fur to line the inside of its drey, or nest, for its young. There’s nothing softer than a squirrel fur bed!

  14. The concept of squirrel migration is fascinating! I mean, never needing to touch the ground, blocking out the sun’s rays with their numbers…It is both the coolest sounding thing I’ve heard in a while, and the saddest, considering they don’t have these opportunities anymore.

    Not a hater, but not loving them either, as they create chaos when my dumb (wonderful) dog goes ballistic, scaring the crap out of me.


  15. Do squirrels gave feelings????

    • Stephanie Gill says:

      Yes when they are babies they are loving and needy but when they get older they don’t need companionship I think the wild in them makes them go more by their instincts

  16. Erin T. Aardvark says:

    I only have one thing to say about the pic of the Japanese Flying Squirrels. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

    (believe me, when I say “squee” like that, it means I’m in love with utter cuteness)

  17. Erin T. Aardvark says:

    Forgive the spamming-esque, but I just thought of something else. One of my favorite cartoon characters is a squirrel.

  18. karen gautier says:

    When we go to the park to feed them .They seem to have bad eyesight .can’t see the nuts when there close up

    • Hi
      I believe they find the nuts primarily by smell. Their eyes are for protecting them from predators at a distance. Try this: In there presents, accentuate your blinking by doing so slowly and evenly. Our little buddies recognize this behavior as non-threatening. I started doing this and the result is amazing. When you think about it, predators stare at their prey. Even the new juveniles come right up and don’t appear to fear me in any way. They make my day, every day! I LOVE these little guys, What a hoot at dinner time!

  19. I live in Florida and we have neighborhood squirrels that love to come around in the mornings and evenings looking for hand outs. I feed them standard nuts I buy from Publix. Some will come right to my feet while others will stay at a distance. What I can’t stand is these Blue Jays that fly down and “steal” them. Anyway to put a halt to the thievery? Thanks!

    • Hi
      I have fashioned a semi-jay proof squirrel diner out of an old plastic laundry basket. I turn the basket upside down with the front edge resting on a brick and the squirrels shinny underneath for their meal of peanuts. BTW, ever notice the symbiotic way crows and squirrels watch out for each other? The crows will herald the approach of a predator and the squirrels disappear. Occasionally, I will toss stale bread out for the birds and the squirrels will cluck for the crows and they show up. Cute!

  20. Question. When you approach a squirrel, and they run from you, why do they always jump to the back side of a tree?

  21. SteadySteve says:

    I never knew how smart a grey squirrel was until I became the owner of two that fell out of the nest and was about to be tortured to death by a cat. When I got them home hardly any hair and eyes closed. My wife bottle fead them every couple hour’s and a year later they have there own bedroom and roam through the house a couple time’s a day,and have become a part of the family and a very good pet sometimes I think I’m the pet. As for interaction with people just me my wife and 3 year old grandson who lives with us are allowed to touch them most of the time when company is over they hide in there room but if messed with will growl and lunge at strangers and will not be intimidated. Just wanted to add they are a crazy animal and I am looking forward to many year’s of there company.

  22. Kate Leven Patterson says:

    Sparky, my own personal squirrel, comes to either our front or side door every single morning for his breakfast. I always have Ritz crackers and peanut butter ready for him, or her, I can’t really tell LOL. So I speak and I say, “Okay Sparky. Mama is here.” I say it in a very lilting, sing-song voice. He has no fear and comes right up to me and stands up on his two hindividuals legs. Then I hold out the cracker with the peanut butter and he very delicately takes it in his mouth and scampers off. He goes into the tree in our front yard and has his first course. Then he comes for a second serving. We do this every single morning, particularly here in the Detroit area where it gets so darn cold. Anyway, that’s my Sparky. I love squirrels.

  23. I was watching the squirrels in my backyard today…they were so comical. One was chasing another up and down and around the trees, clucking the whole time. I stayed perfectly still.
    I’ve read that they also communicate with their tails. And leaping lizards, can they jump.
    Little acrobats and so funny to watch. Thank you, God for providing humorous nature!

  24. Charles Downum says:

    can A squirrel go backwards

  25. Faith Sullo says:

    outsmart me everytime

  26. Rene Mayo says:

    I live in a senior park with lots of trees and lots of grey squirrels. I’m lucky enough to have two big oaks about 10 ft. from my front windows and firs and cedars out back. I don’t feed the squirrels but when it gets warm I keep a big planter tray full of fresh water for squirrels and all types of small birds that like to come take a bath. I love watching from living room chair. I’ve been enjoying this for the 6 years I’ve lived here.
    About a month ago I watched what I assumed was family of 5-6 squirrels running madly around on my downhill neighbor’s roof. They ran as though connected, like a chain, or a train. Around and around they went, up and over the roof, then back again, then leaping onto the big pine branch closest to the roof. I was spellbound. I’d never seen anything like it. It was like watching synchronized swimming.
    One of my favorite things has been watching the squirrels out my bedroom window when I wake in the morning.
    I write today because all of the squirrels are gone … I just realized I haven’t seen one for many days. They have just disappeared, and I miss them, and am concerned. I haven’t seen even one in the park for a couple weeks, and ordinarily I have to drive slowly to avoid running them over, they are such little morons in the street.
    Does anyone have any information or thoughts about the sudden disappearance of my little buddies? I’ve just started doing a little research into squirrel behavior, and I guess they do migrate. Thankfully I haven’t found any little dead bodies. They’re just gone, and the trees are quiet.

  27. Wayne Fenwick says:

    Why do squirrels spend so much time just sitting in roadways?

  28. I bottlefed a baby squirrel whose tree was destroyed by my arborist fiancé. The little devil thrived with bottle feedings and a variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts. We intended to release him, but have become afraid he would be killed by cats/dogs and I have to admit, I love the little monster. Even though he loves to run amok on my vanity, eating my Bobbi Brown eyebrow pencil and lipstick, urinating on my Lancome lipsticks, and smearing poop all over its surface. I just found my semi-destroyed house deed in a nest he made atop a highboy dresser in our bedroom. He takes the oddest things into his nest; I found one of our Fire alarms in it yesterday. Today he actually opened a drawer of my jewelry chest and pulled out an earring! Are squirrels to anyone’s knowledge hoarders or kleptos? I’ve heard the term “squirreling away”, but always assumed that meant nuts. I have to say, this little devil (Miniboo Tinkerton) makes me smile and laugh every single day and I will tolerate his antics and messes because I adore him. To save my sanity, we are now building him a large enclosure in our living room, safe from our cats and dog. I’d never seen a baby squirrel in my 53 years of life, and I find him to be a most fascinating and endearing creature!!

    • Sheron J Schofield says:

      I just released Munchie after 15 months I took him away from one of my cats when he was only a few days old eyes closed no fur yes he would take things into his cage i was constantly finding all sorts of things in there whenhe was little i hung baby teethers and bird mirrors and toys for him he lived with 3cats and 2dogs in complete harmony even playing together after releasing him he came back after 8 days and stayed for 3 he was scared by a neighbors lawn mower i nowhavnt seen him in9 days really hope he is ok I have 4 pecan and 3 oaks in my yard really hated releasing but his sitting in the window staring out and his pacing in his outside cage I had built for him was breaking my heart I really miss him and spend my mornings starting in the trees looking for him his 1st release was hard but after he came back and left this time has been one of the hardest things of my life i am heartbroken i miss my little guy

      • Nicholas Matroni says:

        My little Louie has been gone for 3 days now. He’s only 6 months old. I really hope and pray that he’s ok. He was such a blessing to my little family. The joy he gave us was truly amazing. I know nothing about their returning habits, or if they finally figure out that they are a squirrel. I’m worried sick about him. He only went outside maybe 5 or 6 times, for just minutes each time. How will he know where to find water and what about our smell on him? He was always crazy about different smells on us. Do any of y’all think he will return? His nest has only been in my bed. Really hope to see him and know that he’s happy and healthy! Thx squirrel lovers! Any help will be appreciated!

        • Thank you for sharing your comment on Louie. I’m not sure if he’ll return, but I think it’s likely. I also think that the call of the wild is strong in squirrels. Here’s a good (though a bit old) documentary on a British guy who tried raising a rescued squirrel, and eventually found a way to release it into the wild. It’s an amazing story (and very funny in parts). I think you’ll dig it.

  29. I love feeding and watching back yard squirrels at their box feeder. We went on vacation now they don’t show up. Will they come back?

  30. I had one that would come up to me and beg for peanuts. I called it “Notch” because it was missing a notch out of it’s ear. When another squirrel was chasing it, it came up to me, knowing that the other squirrel wouldn’t go near me. Once it took a peanut from my hand- they have very sharp claws. Then it disappeared. That was a few years back. Now I have a new one that’s always bugging me for peanuts. I came here because I was wondering about their eyesight, also. I’ll throw a peanut right near it and it’s like it didn’t see it, and has to search for it.
    My wife knew some people that always fed squirrels and they would climb right up and get peanuts out of their shirt pockets.

    • Squirrels have amazing eyesight !!! It could have vision problems but it could also just be messing with you, they are super smart and if it causes you to give him another nut…well it works 🤣

  31. naomi cohen says:

    thank you, Todd!
    YOU are my hero, simply because of your love of squirrels.
    I, too, am a squirrel lover, also a vegan, also an animal activist.
    reading all the information you have supplied has made my day.
    i feed walnuts to “my” squirrels in the park where i live, which, by the way, is now illegal, I got a summons a couple of weeks ago. can’t figure it out. why is it against the law?
    anyway, that doesn’t stop me. i am still there every day. first i check for cops, of course.
    much love to you and your huge heart.

  32. Just wanted to let you all know there is a HUGE squirrel loving community on instagram!!! I definitely suggest looking into them!!!! You can start with this_girl_is_a_squirrel and go from there! I have a beautiful sweet eastern gray who just celebrated his first birthday!!! Anyone who takes the time to learn about these amazing animals is sure to find love for them. Feel free to message me @opietheopossum if you’d like some more suggestions or just wanna stop in and check out the most handsome opossum that ever lived 🤗🤗

    • Stephanie Gill says:

      Im raising a 5 month old boy squirrel named Roscoe. Hes the light of my day. Noone seems to understand my huge amount of love i have for this little creature. But hes my baby and he loves me and needs me as much as i need him!! Nice to know someone else feels this way too. I really love to see others who love them like i do

  33. Franklin Pattison says:

    I have lived in my house for over 12 years and I have two pecan trees that are absolutely full of pecans each year. This year I have terminated the lives of at least 88 squirrels. I feel bad but they have been in my attic of my house causing damage as well. This year I’ve got at least 30 lbs of pecans. My question is, as soon as I think I’ve got them all I see another 4 show up on the scene a day later. I’m in a very urban area of San Antonio. My neighborhood is surrounded by highways. Do these squirrels migrate to other areas as their pack grows? How many more am I going to have to terminate in order to enjoy my pecan tree without feeling bad!

  34. Lots of squirrel poems; I am doing a presentation tomorrow morning (11/18/17) at the Milford, Ma library; doing a squirrel poetry and story reading. Note to pecan grower in San Antonio; what can I say? squirrels just naturally love nuts! Here goes:
    Squirrel Portraits
    A young gray squirrel perches on a red oak tree
    Standing sentinel by a bubbling brook
    Watching life’s mysteries float by
    A wise Abert’s squirrel
    His white belly pressed against a live oak
    Solemnly watching the country lane below
    Preparing for the transforming seasons
    An agitated red squirrel
    Poised on a moss-covered roack
    On alert for gray squirrel incursions
    Not ready to cede its ground
    An impertinent chipmunk
    Flitting and scampering between a row of rocks
    Quick as the wind on a spring day
    Forever on the move in this brief moment of time

  35. In 2010 where I went to deer camp the squirrels were everywhere they were so thick they were running across my legs my step dad told me every so many years they swim the lake and r super thick.

    • Carry, this sounds like the squirrel migration behavior I mentioned in the above post (number 10). I know deer camps often best kept secret, but would you be willing to tell me what state or area this was in?

  36. I have a squirrel that comes to my balcony nearly ever day, and so I started leaving some peanuts before leaving for work in the morning and found them to be gone by evening. Then couple of weekends back I kept my balcony door open on a Saturday, and kept some peanuts in the balcony and some just inside the door. The squirrel came inside the door and cutely stood there on its hind legs munching down the peanuts one by one. Then, last Saturday I took some peanuts in my hand and stretched out my hand sitting down on my carpet just inside my balcony door. The squirrel came and realized I was offering something so it came near my hand very apprehensive and skittish. First it thought my finger was a peanut so it tried to take that, but realized it was not. Then, he started sniffing in my palm and found peanuts which he started taking one by one and stood there on its hind legs eating them less than a centimeter from my hand. Now it’s got so used to feeding from my hand that the moment I sit on the floor with my arm out, he comes to my palm, at times still a bit skittish (I guess that is his natural instinct and resoonse), puts his left front on my hand and leans in with his mouth to pick up the peanuts and eat them. He is so adorable. I look forward to feeding him everyday, and get tremendous joy and satisfaction when he sits besides me and puts his feet in my palm and eats the peanuts. He even licks the peanut crumbs out of my hand with his cute little tongue. At times, he stretches up and looks into my eyes while eating.

  37. Kathryn Cooper says:

    Todd, this is the best we are Arborist’s and fell trees, we have rescued many a squirrel. This fall we rescued a squirrel who fell out of a tree. A dog then picked it up and punctured his head,his back legs was ripped open and a big punctured hole under his front arm he was a bloody mess. We fondly named him Crinkle. His brother died overnight, he was the un harmed one, no dog wounds but… Well I got goat milk and fed Crinkle every 2 hours. He opened his eyes on the great American eclipse so cool, but and experienced squirrel saver I knew he would soon be weaned and then they tend to get nasty and bite. Crinkle does not and has not. He is so sweet and has attached to my husband how fitting both great tree climbers I guess they are kindred spirits. I will send you pictures if you send me your e mail

    • Dear Kathryn,
      Thank you for telling me about Crinkle, and your rescue and raising of him. Stories like this fill my heart with hope. I’d love to see a picture or two of him if you’re willing to share them. My email is ToddMitchellBooks (at)

      Happy Holidays!

  38. Doug Adams says:

    I remember a squirrel migration in, I believe, 1969. My uncle saw them swimming the Ohio River near Cincinnati, Ohio and called me. Sure enough in a week we had squirrels everywhere in south eastern, Kentucky.

    • Wow! Thanks for telling me about this. The last great squirrel migration I knew of was in Wisconsin in 1967 (I think –need to look up that date again). Over a million squirrels were recorded as being on the move together at once.

  39. We have a squirrel house and lots of feeders. We have numerous squirrels who come daily. We’ve seen mom and dad and their babies… However, there is one grown squirrel who has no hair on it’s tail. I know parents do this for their young, but this squirrel has none and it’s been this way for the 4-5 mos. we’ve been watching? What might that mean?

  40. It’s nice to know that other people share my love for these little guys.They are cute little fur balls but tough and quick at the same time.I have read not to feed them because they find their own food but they seem to come out to greet me and my peanuts more aggressively when it’s cold or/& snowy. I’ve read that rabies in squirrels are virtually non existent which is nice for those of us that choose to feed them by hand.They will bite sometimes though by no fault of our own.I was bit once when a squirrel was confused because I offered a small nut after giving it a series of large ones.It’s bite looked like 3 dots shaped like a triangle and felt like glass.I live in NYC and feed them in East River Park which is a little oasis between the FDR highway and the East river.They seem to know who I am and want me to feed them by hand but after getting bit I’ll admire them from a few feet away.Sometimes I see a Red Tailed Hawk and they don’t come out… I guess sometimes they slip up.yea they seem to come over to me even when I drop food in a place they know about…My apt’s too small for a cat they’re my pets…Joe City

  41. Michele says:

    We LOVE squirrels here! They are darling little creatures, and we have such fun watching and feeding them. We never tire of their antics, and, as animal advocates, can’t imagine how others don’t share our love of these little guys. I have some fabulous photos of them, as well as videos, and my husband made a little “corn” feeder for them, which looks like an vintage school desk and chair. The “corn” (sold in several stores) fits onto a thin peg and the squirrel sits on the seat (most times, not, since their bushy tail gets in the way!), or stands on the seat, or does upside down gymnastics…and gnaws away! They give us immeasurable enjoyment…and it does wonders for your stress levels!

  42. Alyce DUBREUIL says:

    I have a squirrel that has decided to pluck the leaves for one specific tree. He works at it for hours. Now a black one has decided to work on the tree plucking away at the leaves. Is there a reason they do this. This is an every day thing.

  43. You went to UNT?? I love watching our squirrels! We have a particularly large one I call Fat Ba$tard, and he is not afraid at all of humans. We had to add slinky’s to our sheds rd hook bird feeding stations bc he would eat so much no bird got a chance. Darned if I didn’t catch him leaping from a large rock in the yard and getting on the feeder anyway!! We often joke there is a whole squirrel engineering and construction team so they can defeat and obstacles to the food 😉

    I really enjoyed your post! Thanks

  44. We have about 25 pine trees lining our property which means the squirrels have a good home year round. I feed them in the morning and have as many as 10 squirrels at a time although it’s ususally more like 6. A few of them will come and stand a few feet from me while I fill the bird bath. It’s amazing how much pleasure I get from this small show of trust. I never get tired of watching them.

  45. My little Hortense seems to have an injury to her back. She can no longer sit upright without falling over and eats laying on her tummy. Any thoughts, anyone?

  46. Dixie Dearing says:

    I stumbled on to your web site while researching squirrels. I have a small porch on the front of my house and a big oak tree about 10′ a way. I’ve been enjoying eveyone’s posts and eager to tell my experience I recently had with a male squirrel. I guess about 3 weeks back I saw him on my porch. Our eyes made contact and I promised that I would get him some nuts. I think he knew exactly what I said so it was sort of my fault. In a couple days when I was able to get some seeds and peanuts, I put them on my porch in a 13 x 9 metal cake pan. When I got a chance to look out, there he was sitting in the middle of the pan– gorging himself. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of him. Who ever showed up, birds or squirrels– it didn’t matter, he would jump up and chase them off. I guess I made him think this gift was exclusively his and no one else’s. Every time I would peek out the window, trying not to scare him off, he was still sitting there gorging himself. It started to become more and more comical. I couldn’t even guess how long he sat there. After some time had passed, I looked out and he was sprawled out on his back on the top railing–he looked so miserable. I felt so bad, but I still couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of him. I guess after a while he was able to go home. He acted just like a person would act. I was sort of in shock about the entire incident. Every time I see him in my mind’s eye, I still can’t help but chuckle at what a sight he was. He was so adorable. I couldn’t help but worry about him, though.

  47. Hello! Wonderful article and comments. I wonder if there is a squirrel migration going on in New Hampshire the last month…thousands of squirrels have been crossing roads, and sadly getting killed. People are calling it the “Squirrelpocalypse”, but it’s very sad. I’ve heard there was a bumper crop of acorns this past year, and there may have been more babies born than normal, but no one has seen anything like this before.

    • Thanks for letting me know about this, Jennifer. I saw some of these news accounts of an increased squirrel population as well and I was wondering the same thing. I think that whether it’s a true migration or not depends a lot on the forests in the area –that is, are the squirrels migrating to follow an increase in acorns through different regions, as they did in the past? I’d like to look into this further, but if you learn anything more about it, please let me know. Be well!

      • I have asked this question before, but never received an answer that really explained it. The question is , Why do squirrels spend so much time sitting on roadways? I mean there is nothing for then to eat there, it would be just as easy to sit on the ground or a branch Toto eat a nut, but no, they sit in the road and munch away. Why???

        • Hi Wayne,

          Good question. I’m not a squirrel expert, but I think there might be three main reasons why squirrels sit in roadways. One is that when it’s cold out and the sun is shining, roads warm up quickly and I sometimes see squirrels lying on roadways to warm up (especially in winter). Also, I think squirrels might be comfortable in an open area where they can see predators approaching. The third reason is just that roads frequently cross squirrel territory, so it’s possible that squirrels don’t hang out in roads more than other areas. Instead, we just see them there more.

          One thing I do know is that squirrels often get hit by cars in roads because their brains didn’t evolve to process the approach of a car as a threat. In fact, some biologists who study squirrel behavior think that because of the way a car approaches (and because of the way squirrel brains decipher movement), a squirrel doesn’t even see a car as moving closer. Instead, to a squirrel it looks like there’s a wall in the distance. And then the wall is closer. And then it’s very close. But the squirrel brain has trouble understanding why this is. That’s why squirrels often stand stunned in the road when a car is approaching.

          Best wishes,


          • Hey Wayne,

            Just talked with biologist about this and he suggested another reason why squirrels are often on roads –because nuts get cracked there. So if there are oak trees, or chestnut trees near the road (or pecans or walnuts), a squirrel may go out into the road to eat the cracked nuts. Not only that, he’s witnessed squirrels putting acorns on the road to be cracked. Also, you can frequently see crows doing a similar behavior, cracking acorns or other nuts on the road. In October, this becomes particularly dangerous for squirrels, because they love pumpkin seeds. So if a pumpkin gets crushed in the road, that will bring squirrels out there.

  48. I love squirrels, too! So glad there are others. I found your article while doing a google search to find out if squirrels can swim, inspired by a very cute Dodo video posted today on youtube, where a guy saves a squirrel that he finds swimming in the middle of a lake.

    As long as we’re talking about videos, here’s a little footage from today’s mid-morning snack, chez moi:

    The camera on my phone is not great, but there are a couple of crystal-clear stretches.

    Also, Todd: I read your bio. I’m from Illinois and was born on Elvis’s DEATH day. Like, the actual day (8.16.69). Squirrels: they bring people together.

  49. Randy sumpter says:

    Hi Everyone, I also am a squirrel lover and have rehabed alot of them in the past. I hear alot of people commenting on hear about feeding them…And this in no way is meant to Come across in a bad way. I know peanuts are inexpensive and you can get a lot of them in a bag, but they are really bad to feed squirrels, it’s not good for them.
    Squirrels need a proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus and their bodies or they can get MBD metabolic bone disease, It will paralyze them slowly starting from the back legs and moving forward it’s very very painful, And peanuts contain something that blocks the intake of calcium. So it puts them at a higher risk of developing a disease. It’s also very high in fat and not extremely healthy 1 or 2 once in a while is it going to hurt but you’re feeding them peanuts or peanut butter or some other foods that you probably should look into they can be really harmful and I know no one is trying to do that. I would’nt know if I would’nt have gotten into rehabing them and had to learn all of this. so just a helpful suggestion.

  50. Ronald Ryan says:

    Squirrels are pests. I’m not mean to them and do not actively try to kill them, but I need them out of my attic.

  51. Mr. R. Clayton says:

    Simply wonderful little animals. Achingly cute and endlessly entertaining. Here in the U.K. the greys (my favourite) are classed as pests and have largely displaced the native reds (protected by law) although determined efforts are being made to re-introduce them in some areas. Any trip to London is incomplete without a visit to one of the central parks to hand-feed them (we don’t have rabies in this county so you are safe even in the rare event of a bite). Being “mugged” by a squirrel is a wonderful experience. People think I’m simple-minded in my love for interacting with them until they try it themselves, then they’re hooked.

  52. Ok so you’ll get a kick out of this, I have this huge pine tree in my yard and I just watched a squirrel carry 6 babies, maybe more because I may not have witnessed the first however many. So she scurries up the tree and carries one at a time, a little pink wriggly baby in her mouth to somewhere under my neighbors porch. I saw the trip 6 times, I’m not going under the porch to check out her new home, but I hope she likes her new home! I’m guessing she must have seen that article on the internet about how someone had to rescue baby Squriell that were knotted together by their tail fur and pine sap…what a responsible mum, to get them out of the tree before their tail fur comes in! Haha!😏

  53. I found this because we have two squirrels in our back yard that are constantly yelling at each other and chasing each other. This morning, while they were battling it out, one of them fell into our neighbor’s pool. There was a lot of splashing but we can’t see the pool from here so I was concerned about whether he/she was going to be able to swim out of it. They’ve been fighting every day for over a year. Any idea why? Also, just an interesting thing, that tree that they seem to be fighting over has recently been taken over by locust and one of them spends almost all day eating them and also knocking them off the branches. It’s a crazy squirrel saga here.

    • Thank you for sharing this. Squirrels are good swimmers, so the only concern with the pool is if they can find a way out. Not sure why they’re fighting. Juveniles often play fight and chase each other around trees. Adults can get territorial, but they usually don’t fight. Sounds like the locusts in the tree might be a desirable food source and they’re fighting over that. Squirrels often hide food, and some try to steal other squirrel’s food, which leads to fights. Here’s an epic fight over nuts between two chipmunks (which are related to squirrels).

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