Twelve things about Squirrels that will blow your mind

Squirrels rule. Here’s why:

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.)

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

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 (or emigrate according to some wildlife biologists) in massive numbers, following 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 nearly blocked out the sun. The best part — squirrels could do most of the journey from the East coast to Indiana without touching the ground. But as settlers started to clear the old growth oak forests, the great squirrel migrations became fragmented. Where squirrels had to cross fields, they were killed by coyotes, foxes, and other predators, including people who reported killing hundreds of squirrels (and getting three pennies a pelt). The last great squirrel migration was in 1968 in Wisconsin, when hundreds of thousands of 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.*

Don’t mess. Squirrels can be fierce.

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).

12) Squirrels have been known to gang up and attack much larger animals. Don’t believe me? Here’s a  BBC report of squirrels in Russia who killed a large Rottweiler that barked at them (Note: this story is graphic and may be upsetting for some readers). Although squirrels are small, together they are powerful.

Most importantly, squirrels are nature’s foresters. According to researchers, squirrels tend to forget around 10% of the nuts that they bury. By spreading and burying tree nuts (like acorns and chestnuts) it’s estimated that squirrels plant millions of trees each year in North America alone!

*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. Flyger, (yes, that really is his name) 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 entirely from human ken! [Update: Here’s a recent article from The Washington Post on squirrel migrations/emigrations.]

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.

      • Trish Bell says

        I love tree squirrels, ground squirrels have wrecked havoc on my yard, garden, house and nerves. They literally have destroyed all vegetation have dug thousands of holes…literally EVERYWHERE..Therefore, I hate them.

      • Squirrels do Not get rabies, or Lyme.

    • 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)

      • Debbie Pizzalato Barnes says

        I’ve raised a baby squirrel from birth for almost 2 years now and she has been very loving towards me, however tonight she just attacked me and bit me like 10 times. I am so brokenhearted that she did this and do not understand why. If you have any ideas please let me know

        • Hi Debbie,
          Sorry to hear this. Although I’m no squirrel behavioral expert, I suspect the squirrel is developing more adult territorial and resource guarding behaviors (which are normal, and doesn’t mean that the squirrel hates you. Instead, it’s behaving in ways it needs to behave to survive in the wild). Even hand raised squirrels are still wild animals (rather than domesticated species), and they do not often adapt well to domestication. You might look into transitioning your squirrel into living outside on its own. The BBC documentary (from the 70’s), Squirrel on my Shoulder that I posted further up this thread might be helpful for you to watch.
          Best wishes,

          • Yeah, I’m writing a research paper on squirrels, believe it or not, and yeah, that squirrel does not hate you at all. You said you adopted it, right? It came from the wild, and that is what they do. Your squirrel is just going off of it’s instincts. It is defending what it believes is it’s territory. I’m also not an expert, but I think that might be a sign to release it back into the wild.

          • Debbie, Email me. I have 40+ years dealing with captives.
            My website:

          • I had a dog brian that was the only child. he grew up to be as big as his mom in 6 mo.
            I had to feed him first -separately from mom and dad because I only had 2 dog dishes.
            It was only by accident that I kept him, and so he was never given his own bowl.
            More than once I got impatient to feed mom an dadddy dogs, so I reached down to take his bowl. He became like a wild coyote dog and acted like he would take my arm off.
            We lived in the forest a lot, so I thought it might be learned behavior. I don’t think so though. I knew I couldn’t give him away to anyone or sell him because he was a viscous dog. Nature saved me and he got sick and died suddenly. The doctor said it was parvo. I was sad, but relived. You can’t really keep a viscous animal.

        • Rita Barbara says

          Hi Debbie, Squirrels need their own wilderness diet to be properly nourished, and real sunshine, not through glass. when they don’t have that they don’t feel good, it affects them in awful ways, like kids or adults who don’t eat right but drink or do drugs. They need to live outdoors and will come back home from time to time for a snack, to say hi or if they need help. Also they have sensitive noses and houses smell of furniture, carpeting, dust, cooking, detergents, linoleum, and much more. And they need critter friends, and should have the freedom to run, jump, soar and explore in Nature. They very much prefer real air and real trees. And as they mature they should be allowed to choose a mate when nature calls, remember puberty and parents not letting us go out.
          Please check out

          God Bless you and the Little People,

        • Cynthia ODonnell says

          Hi Debbie, I may have a unique hypothesis that comes from raising and releasing about 50 squirrels, but there’s one I’ve had for over 10 years and she is the example. I love her and believe that she is fond of me but, when I shower I can’t interact with her for an hour or so as she will bite me viciously. Think back to if you were freshly bathed when the attack happened. My squirrel recognized me by sight or sound of my voice. She casually jumps to my thigh checks my pockets and proceeds up to my shoulder. Within a second or 2 I felt her body tense as she kinda pulls away to look at me and I see that she suddenly didn’t recognize. This is when she began digging her claws in, running around me, and biting me. My voice or physical appearance no longer mattered, it was all smell. Away from me she continued to make danger calls and click. That clicking is a warning that she will bite/attack. Stay away if you hear the clicking as something is wrong. Within an hour, I guess I start to smell like myself again and she is completely normal again as if nothing had happened.
          I hope this helps. I’ve never heard it from anyone else, but I am convinced that it is real.

          • I know 2 women that use smelly weird detergent—-maybe fabric softer? I feel ill when I’m around them. I should have said something but instead just avoid them., a pity because they are kind women and I like them both.
            Businesses and a local Post Office that have stinky air fresheners or candles, nope, I can’t go in there.

          • Cynthia,
            I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually the smell of your bath soap, shampoo, deodorant , toothpaste or something of that nature. Maybe cut down on any kind of fragranced products.

        • Rodents hate the smell of tooth paste and mouthwash, anything minty in fact ie. Gum,peppermint patties, etc.

        • I raised a female squirrel. She was a great pet until she went into heat! She will be fine in a few days just stay clear until this passes.

          • You did nothing wrong, she belongs in nature. It might be nutritional—see link— it might be her hormones, it might be that she now realizes she’s a squirrel trapped in a human environment and feels imprisoned. All creatures NEED to pick and choose others of their own species, solitary confinement makes us all insane, and heartbroken,
            All creatures deserve to be able to enjoy sunshine and nature, to run around, nibble on something that smells delightful and explore the world. To meet others of their own kind and other species. As a teenager and adult would you appreciate being locked indoors with your folks, knowing nothing will change until death? I have treats and a little squirrel door, they come and go as they wish, they NEED the TREES and fresh air. Right now the bushy tailed people are at the acorn and hickory nut festival in the woods, they are excited and rarely come over during this favorite time of year.

      • I have a squirrel named Rupert and I haven’t had him for like 2 years he comes on my balcony and has been eating and now he left and I can’t find him. actually I have five and all that come up here and eat and now they’re all gone would you happen to know why

        • animal_friendsla says

          Oh, same happened to my squirrels. It happened exactly when I repaired rotten wood in my window and used a patty and epoxy to make the wood hard and puff they were gone, did not come near the window again. I set a camera to see if they visit early in the morning or at night while I’m a sleep. In one month only saw one for a few seconds and I don’t think it was one of my friends. I am sad to see them go. I have a tiktok channel @animals_friendsla where I posted videos of them with my cat but not anymore.

      • I saw on Instagram that you have a harness on #Momo the squirrel. Where did you get it from? Could really be useful for us. Thank you kindly!!
        @MsSolon on instagram

    • 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:((

    • Sherry Morris says

      We are also squirrel lovers. We encourage them to stay and live peacefully on our wooded property. One of the little females would actually come onto our deck and beg for peanuts. Last week a fox grabbed a squirrel right in front of me. As hard as I tried I couldn’t save it. Our neighborhood has become inundated with fox that are killing our squirrels, birds, rabbits and chipmunks. I learned from a friend recently that the fox in the den across the street from her home are not only killing the squirrels but are also killing the ducks and birds that frequent the lawns along the river. People who appreciate the antics of squirrels will understand why we are sad to see them disappearing from our trees. The fox in the den down our way are being fed by those living by it ans even bragging about hand feeding them. What to do? We have a small dog and live between both fox dens. Walking our dog has become stressful as the fox are out and about all hrs of the day. We have seen them crossing the road and so we turn around for the safety of out little dog.

      • You need to find someone that can trap and relocate the foxes, there will be a fee associated with catching and released the foxes.

        Never try to get close to a Fox, reason being they can scratch or bite you and are known to carry Rabies. Hopefully this helps…

      • timothy smith says

        A live animal trap with chicken scraps works and relocates the fox to an area away from your home I caught one and animal control took it away.I would have took it to the correct location if needed the trap works great..

      • Plz, if you do the live trap, you have to really do your homework to find a good place to release them. Or let a local rescue or animal control handle that part. They will have a hella battle where ever they get released at if its already claimed territory. But worst of all is, well my boyfriend did the live trap for his mom. They released them (2 times they did this!!) at the river that we cross to get to next town. He said hes pretty sure they got squished on the road! I’m pretty sure too cause i have NEVER seen a squirrel squished on ANY OF THESE ROADS around here in 30 yrs! Foxes are vicious when cornered too but, they can get relocated, & the nearest Rangers Station may (or university) may have a good bead on some wilderness that can fit a new kid or 2, ( kit?)

    • Cynthia Durham says

      Fantastic post!! I love squirrels!

    • Missy Henslee says

      I didn’t see an option to comment of my own so hope it’s okay to use your post thanks 👍🏼 my American Indian tribe is Kletsel Dehe means ground squirrel
      Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation HOME OF THE GROUND SQUIRREL 💞
      Williams CA

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

    • Yes –there is no such thing as “squirrel proof” because squirrels are smarter than Clooney in Ocean’s 11.

      • Here in Tenafly NJ, Whitey The Friendly Squirrel loves interacting with me. I feed her peanuts daily and have been shooting videos of our interactions:

        It took a month of getting to know you diplomacy, but now we’ve become very intimate. I can even stroke her belly fur whiles she eating out of my hand! Check out the videos!!

        • I enjoyed the video. I love that you care about, feed and are now friendly with the squirrel. However, a steady diet of peanuts is no good for squirrels. There is too much bacteria in peanuts (I beleive it’s in the oil) and it doesn’t give them the nutrients they get from almonds and other nuts. I recently found a very hungry squirrel and started feeding him as well. I only had pecans so I checked to see if they were OK. That is when I learned to stay away from peanuts. Sadly, stores sell bags of peanuts for squirrels and some even say they are OK, but they are only OK for an occasional treat. The same with sunflower seeds for birds. They are really bad due to the fat and bacteria. I hope you read this and switch to a better nut. I never would have known had I not researched it. And, I know you really care.

          • I noticed all the birds are getting quite chunky around here (like way more fat than they need to store for winter or anything)…they can’t get enough of the sunflower seeds! I recently switched to safflower seeds… are those any better for them?

  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

      • Stephanie Spears says

        I am currently researching caching behavior of red squirrels online.. and it is limited.. because I have become fascinated with my red squirrel family and their recent behavior of putting black walnuts BACK into the trees for winter. Funniest thing! I went to take some photos around a tree today and one of them saw me, as soon as I got back to the porch he/she ran to the tree and spent a few minutes examining their walnut ornamented red maple which I call mine.

      • I am fairly knowledgeable in North American Red Squirrels and live with one lol so any questions, please ask!

        • I had been searching for feeding/caching behavior on line and only found information about grey’s. My reds are putting individual walnuts back into their territory trees one single nut, in a single elbow of a tree branch at a time. My trees are covered with them. They have also been teaching their young and now they are doing it too. earlier this year I also collected as many white pine cones as I could find and piled them in the corner of the yard. They disappeared within a few days… where the reds were feasting.

        • Joy Giuseffi says

          I have had several little red squirrels in my yard since the spring. I have been feeding 3 of them from my hand. Now that it is autumn, they seem to have disappeared. I still see the gray ones and an occasional chipmunk. Do the red ones have a different behavior when the weather gets cold?

          • Good question. They might have a different primary food source they’re turning to, although I don’t know the behaviors of red squirrels very well. I’m curious what others think on this.

          • Rita Barbara says

            Hello Joy, Everybody is at the Fall Harvest Acorn and Hickory Nut festival. Every autumn all of Nature celebrates, they’ll come back.
            God Bless the Critters that are gentle,

          • Red squirrels do not hibernate! Thus they have to eat every day.. They are more native to coniferous forests. Their favorite method of hoarding food is storing seed cones at the base of their nest tree around the trunk.. Near humans this has been observed in rare situations.. Usually they will winter over in a building that they can get inside and hoard nuts in an area near their bed..
            Red squirrels would rather carry a huge walnut up a tree, over branches to other trees, until the tree nearest their cache.. And they’ll do this hundreds of times, rather than run across the ground as little as 35 feet!!!

            As per my observations, I maintain that all squirrels are unable to pick up seeds, nuts, etc., with their paws! They can manipulate them with fantastic speed, but only AFTER transferring from teeth to paws!! 🧐

          • Stephanie Spears says

            My red squirrels did some unusual caching. They put whole walnuts into the elbows of tree limbs. I had a red maple that was covered with them in all the elbows. Never saw such a thing. Looks like they have taught their young the same. Haven’t got them to feed from my hand yet. But I look forward to it.

            *Unfortunately my neighbor has now cut down all his walnut trees, so I’ve been putting alot more seed out for them.

  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…

    • LOL i’m on your hubbys side! also, got a chipmunk for first time this year foraging the bird’s foods like their bigger cousins. But i covet the chipmunk and want it to keep coming back. quite the battle to run one off without scaring the chippys away LOL compounded problem but the chipmunks are as lovely as the song birds and finches. i love them dearly!

  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!!!!!!!

    • Rita Barbara says

      Hi Sallie, Babies need milk. Squirrels are vegans unless starving or have become neurotic in a non natural environment, puppy formula is for carnivores.
      Scalded milk, but lukewarm, not hot and not cold.
      Please everybody read
      Thanks for letting us all share,

  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.

      • I, too, cracked up at the ‘clucking…lol.’ I also ‘talk’ to them…with that almost a sucking click between the cheek and gum. I have black and red and blonde squirrels here and have had several families come and go over the years, though it’s the generational offspring now…and their families. I’ve been blessed enough to have watched mamas train their babies…hours of fascination. I don’t feed them except for crackers in the deep winter. I have a black walnut tree they live for and from…i love my squirrels and the feisty little tree rats never cease to amaze me.

    • 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

      • 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.

      • Rita Barbara says

        I live at the edge of a forest. The bushy tailed people very much prefer trees to human places that smell of carpeting, furniture, cleaning compounds and so much more. When folks build more and more the animals are squashed between human habitats and the territories that belong to other animals. When the Europeans came here we pushed the Native folks into other Native American’s territories and conflict happened, that is what is happening with nature. They don’t have enough territory to properly forage and roam and are trying to figure out how they can survive. Try scents they don’t like to keep them away, maybe cinnamon? I found fresh peppermint left to dry keeps them at bay. I’m sure there are other scents too.
        We are all God’s creatures.
        Thank you for letting us share,

        • Native Americans were and are, no different from other people on this planet. Tribes were fighting amongst each other thousands of years before the first European settler ever arrived in North America. To suggest that they lived in harmony with one another until the Europeans came is factually incorrect and very naive.

  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

    • Rita Barbara says

      Hello Emo, Oh Yes! They are timid, gentle, curious, scared, protective, kind, get jealous, angry when someone steals their food, the males fight (of course), mating season 2x a year makes them amorous. And absolutely adorable and loving when they’ve somehow overcome their natural fears and try to trust a human. Do dogs and cats have feelings? Prey animals are born fearful, it’s part of their survival nature. We are all God’s creatures, some, like squirrels are more gentle than others. An unnatural environment, diet and chemicals adversely affects all living creatures, plants too; expect all living things to act unnatural as the world becomes more unnatural.
      Hoping for goodness for all,

  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.

          • WILLIAM BALLARD says

            I love your video and your passion for the squirrels as I have that also today I lost my best friend to a hawk I’m upset but Life goes on I’m glad you’re a little buddy come back to you God bless you’re one of a kind thank you again

  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 🤣

    • Rita Barbara says

      Hi David, They have eyes on the sides of their heads and cannot see what is under their noses, also some are better at seeing where tossed nuts land.

  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. 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. 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.

          • I have seen squirrels licking the winter salt from our sidewalks in the spring. That may explain why squirrels are often in the road” licking salt. They are hyper-vigilant, so when a car comes along they appear to just be sitting there.

          • If squirrels’ brains can’t process the fact of a car’s diminishing distance, does it help for the driver of the car to honk at the squirrel? Will the honking initiate some sort of fear associated to the car? This is an ongoing discussion between my partner and I…we love these sweet little critters!

      • Rita Barbara says

        Hello Todd,
        Thank you for this site.
        Always wondered about squirrel migration. One person said maybe they are escaping clear cutting? forest fire?

  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).

  54. Jeffrey Mitchell says

    Can anyone tell me if a squirrel can open a can good or if they can even smell it thru the can..

  55. This post answered my question. This morning I saw a squirrel with no fur on its tail at all. Now I know why.

  56. My family mostly me, a 38 yr old woman from Maine in the USA , took in a red tail squirrel. He was only about 5 weeks old. One eye was beginning to open when we found him. My 9 year old picked him up and said, Mom can we keep him. Yes he said it. I did not dare to leave him not. Knowing whr his mother was or how she wld react. So we named him Rex. I fell in love with him fast. He loved watermelon,started sleeping in my bed. That’s fact. Whn I took him outside he stayed on my shoulders. It took him some time to get back on a tree. He started to spend the day outside an come in at night. Well a month later he stopped coming back in the house. I was buying nuts an putti g them outside cad I believed he prob did not no much if anything at all about opening an acorn. My worries, my family an I had to move from the home. I haven’t been back in2 months now. I’m worried about him starving this winter. I know he found his family. I have seen them all together. I lived on that property for years. There was also a grey squirrel family. So I started feeding them all. I plan on bringing nuts as a gift as soon as I can get there. Its 30 mins away. Does anyone believe be will make it through the winter with is family? I will be bringing nuts in about 5-7 days…

    • I hope you get to see him again. Let us know if you see him!

    • Dear Mr. Mitchell, I am a loyal Squirrel Girl and Monkey Joe devotee. I’m spending part of my quarantine becoming the Jane Goodall of squirrel study. I beg your tolerance for my latest field note entry: this morning, I observed a squirrel and a bird, which I believe to be a Brown Thrasher, playing tag — or something. At first, I thought the behavior was purely territorial, but I’m not a squirrel, much less *that* squirrel. So, I don’t really know. [Now is a perfect time to brush up on theories relating to “philosophy of mind”]. Twice, the squirrel chased the bird away from its digging zone. Then, the bird chased back, seemingly, to tempt the squirrel to chase it again. Never during this interaction did the bird fly; instead, it ran on it’s awkward twiggy legs. Next, it ducked into an empty pot resting on its side. It hid for a moment and then flew to the top, peek-a-boo style, until the squirrel resumed its chase. They traded turns at this until the bird flew to its usual perch on our rose trellis. Brown Thrashers, by the way, are known to be aggressive and absolutely will impale your eyeball if you get too close to its nest. You can’t just run to nearby base and expect them to simmer down. I’m curious if you or Monkey Joe can lend insight into this behavior.

  57. Peter Rosen says

    Hi, sure are a lot of squirrel lovers, myself being one of them. I had a great vantage point of a drey being built by a momma outside my 2nd story kitchen window. So I made this film showing her protecting its nest:

    • Great footage of the drey and squirrel behavior. Thank you for sharing this!

      • John Eury says

        Hi Todd. You are the expert I gather from all the posts. We have a frog statue which is knocked over time and again. Do you think squirrels are the culprit? We haven’t seen them attack, but no other explanation seems logical.

        • Hi John,
          It probably pretends where you live (and what other animals might frequent your yard). However, squirrels love to jump off of things, and also dig under things—both of which might knock over a frog statue. If it’s squirrels, chances are you might see some digging marks in the dirt underneath the statue.

  58. Kristan Locklear says

    The picture captioned “and we can fly” looks like a Sugar Glider…and I LOVE Sugar Gliders. I live in North Carolina and we have an abundance of them. They are very friendly and at night they look like white bats gliding between our pines….so cool.
    I’m commenting because this morning I saw the craziest thing. Squirrels frolicking everywhere, eating the sunflower seeds from my bird feeders. It was a frenzy. But one squirrel ran up one of the pine trees, and was jumping from branch to branch. This squirrel was at least 30′ up, as our pines are TALL and somewhat branchless on the bottom half. The squirrel jumped, missed, and hit the ground. Much to my astonishment, it literally got up, and ran right back up a tree. That squirrel fell 30′, hit the ground HARD, and ran off. WTH?!?!? Are they that resilient?!?!

  59. I love squirrels too, and watch them outside my window, hanging upside down eating black sunflower seeds from our bird feeder. I found your site because I wondered if the squirrel who is currently hanging upside down eating, was also using his tail to hold on. But I guess not, but by the drape of it, it looks like the tail helps a little.

    • Hi Wendy!
      Squirrels use their tails primarily for protection/distracting predators, balance, communication, and warmth. Although they’ll often move their tails to counterbalance their movements on branches, their tails aren’t prehensile, so (as you surmised), they can’t hang from them like a monkey can.
      Be well!

  60. Question. I had to move a squirrel house about 75 feet from where it was. A squirrel had been eagerly starting her nest. She keeps coming to the old spot! Will she find the her house in the new location eventually? Just curious

  61. For baby and non-releasable squirrel care check out this site:

  62. I tip my hat to the incredibly smart squirrels in this (and to Mark’s attempt to give them a challenge):

  63. Here’s an article for more on the history of Squirrel Migrations:

  64. Jodi & Wayne says

    Oh my these squirrel stories, info and anecdotes warm my heart. <3 My husband and I have spent the last 2+ months raising "Charlie" the grey squirrel. He was about 5 or 6 weeks old when my son found little Charlie trapped in our window well. It was a cold, rainy day in late April in cold Ontario, Canada. He was so tiny and beyond cute. He was cold and very hungry. It was also the same day I locked up the door to my Mom & Dad's apartment for the very last time. I was devastated. My Mom passed 2 years ago and my Dad had just past very unexpectedly a month before, at the beginning of Covid19. They lived there 22 years… the end of a long era and a complete change to my own life… such loss … the lowest of lows in my life. But there was little Charlie who needed us. I honestly think maybe my Dad sent Charlie to us… something of a much needed, positive distraction in our lives right then, to get through the next several weeks… the initial mourning. Charlie is an absolute joy in our lives. He's so healthy and happy… he's doing so well and SMART! Wow! His ability to learn is truly fascinating. Since I was the formula feeder he gravitated toward me in the beginning. We'd cuddle and I'd feed him in a small, flannel blanket, swaddled like a baby, wipe him with a warm towelette so it felt like his mom grooming him. I read as much as I could to learn and the more I read, the more enthralled I became in these truly incredible creatures. Before this, I thought squirrels were nothing but rats with tails that lived in trees. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was so wrong. Nowadays Charlie and my husband are the closest, by far. A truly unique and unwavering relationship they share. I have many incredible photos and videos showing their kindred, soulful friendship. Charlie has now been released to our backyard, but visits several times a day for nut treats and we always leave him fresh water. Our dog Rambo, terrier cross, and Charlie also share a very unique union. They play chase together in the yard. This whole experience has been truly bizarre in so many ways and unexpected. Charlie is a truly special squirrel. And he doesn't just come to visit for food. He comes for social time… hanging out … just sits and visits and at least 2X a day my husband is always coaxed into giving Charlie his chiropractor-style massages. Lol This squirrel just melts in my husband's hands, front paws and back legs hanging in complete relaxation off is arm. Charlie shuts his eyes, leans back and lifts his front forearm so he can have his side massaged too and he guides my husband's hand on where he wants scratched next. I think Charlie would lay there all day. And in return, Charlie licks and nibbles my husband's hand affectionately. So strange, but so sweet too. Odd. No one we've shown this behavior to has ever seen anything quite like it. A wild squirrel and a man with so much trust and admiration…. special. Our neighbor is a tennis instructor and has several students attending lessons throughout the day. My husband will walk over with Charlie riding on his shoulder to show the students. They are always in awe. Charlie is getting famous around these parts. We all just shake our heads and smile. How can you not? 😀 I would be happy to send you some pics and videos. Most of them are posted on my FB page. Charlie has truly enriched all of our lives and no one who meets him will ever forget him… especially our family. Not a chance.

    • Thank you for this post, I would love to see the videos and pics, PLS link your FB page or upload on Youtube if it is alright. Thank you!!

      I LOVE squirrels so much I almost worship them!!

  65. I found the below article that sheds some light on the Great Squirrel Migrations.

    Massive squirrel migrations recorded in North America

    Wayne Capooth Freelance Writer | Jul 21, 2006

    September 1803, Meriwether Lewis and his faithful dog, Seaman, traveled down the Ohio near where it joined the Mississippi. He recorded: “I made my dog take as many [squirrels] each day as I had occasion for. I thought them when fryed a pleasant food.”

    He assumed they were moving south because of the weather as they were swimming from northwest to southeast. He observed the phenomenon of migration for several days.

    In 1811, Charles Joseph Labrobe wrote in The Rambler in North America of a vast squirrel migration that autumn in Ohio: “A countless multitude of squirrels, obeying some great and universal impulse, which none can know but the Spirit that gave them being, left their reckless and gambolling life, and their ancient places of retreat in the north, and were seen pressing forward by tens of thousands in a deep and sober phalanx to the South …”

    Squirrel migrations across the upper Midwest, New England, and the Carolinas were observed in 1809, 1819, 1842, 1852, and 1856. In southeastern Wisconsin in 1842, a gray squirrel migration lasted four weeks and involved nearly a half billion squirrels.

    Robert Kennicott in his article “The Quadrupeds of Illinois” in The Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for 1846 stated during one of these peak population occurrences when the squirrels were on the move that “it took a month for the mess of squirrels to pass through the area.”

    As a boy, squirrel hunting was my obsession, and when I killed some squirrels, I always called it “a mess of squirrels” as my Dad had taught me. Now, I know where that “mess” word comes from.

    Because of the numerous squirrel migrations, John Audubon and John Bachman were convinced that the squirrels on the move were a separate species from the gray squirrels and used the scientific name Sciurus migratorius.

    One of the earliest referenced migrations occurred in 1749 in Pennsylvania. Records show the state spending 3 cents for each squirrel killed. Over 640,000 were turned in for bounty.

    Sometimes, hunts were organized to control the migration. One hunt in 1822 killed almost 20,000 squirrels. These hunts continued through the 1850s. In 1857, it was reported a hunter killed 160 in one day.

    The earliest recorded migration in the Mid-South I can find was reported in the Memphis Daily Appeal, Oct. 3, 1872: “Sportsmen may be seen coming into Memphis every evening from the Arkansas shore, loaded down with squirrels, which are counted by the dozen. They say the woods in Crittenden County are full of the little animals. Yesterday and the previous day countless numbers of them were seen crossing Marion Lake…”

    September 1881, another large migration occurred near Reelfoot Lake: “Squirrels are crossing the Mississippi River south of Hickman in fabulous numbers. They are caught by the dozens by men in skiffs. They enter and pass through cornfields, destroying everything as they go….”

    In the Arkansas Gazette, October 1885, it was reported: “Where the million of squirrels have come from, or what extent of country could ever produce so many, is the question…. A similar emigration of squirrels occurred in 1877…”

    These migrations occurred mostly during the month of September preceding a year in which there was a large production of food (acorns). Many squirrels the following year had two liters in response. But nature threw them a curve ball when the year turned out to have low food production. Because of this, squirrels migrated trying to locate food. Even large rivers like the Mississippi were no deterrent.

    When was the last migration? One occurred in 1968 in most of the eastern U.S. The last I can find for the Mid-South

  66. Lisa Large says

    I Love squirrels I have raised 2 one in 2011 who found us a male. This year found a abandoned female in a friends closet of all places very high 3 stores very high no trees around houses. She was very dehydrated that was March 6 now she is with me hiding nuts Love her she can get on our porch I will put out her bed that she slept in when we feed by bottle this winter on porch just to be safe her name is Little Pig she comes when I call her we Love Squirrels we feed them the wild ones eat out of our hands

  67. Robert "Bob" Davis says

    I have lived most of my life in Minnesota in the St. Paul/Minneapolis metro area (born in
    Arkansas with relatives in Texas). I have enjoyed watching squirrels in parks and sometimes yards. Rabbits also. Interestingly, some areas have large numbers of squirrels, and other areas in the metro area have none. I have had multiple dogs, and all the hounds and some of the other breeds were “squirrel crazy”, chasing after the squirrels and even visually tracking them scampering around in the tree limbs. I am convinced that some squirrels taunt dogs, fleeing from the ground to the top of a fence and running back and forth along the fence as the dogs run back and forth. I have had smart dogs and dumb dogs, as demonstrated by their understanding, or lack thereof, of fences and gates, roads and cars, etc. Given how squirrels can “screw around” with my dogs, they seem to be smarter as a group than my dogs, although I admittedly haven’t given the matter systematic study.
    All of the foregoing is a digression from why I writing and submitting this post. Several years ago I had a squirrel experience that left me nearly dumbfounded. I was living on the southern bluffs of the Mississippi, across from downtown St. Paul. Lots of wildlife and “tons” of squirrels. I was walking one or two dogs, on leashes, down a street packed on both sides by smaller houses with minimum yards (to the east and closer to the bluff the streets had bigger houses and yards and more trees). On the front lawn of a house perhaps one or two house ahead, I saw a small “clump” of squirrels, standing absolutely still. Not the stillness, squirrels standing frozen in the open are commonplace, but the two or three squirrels standing together held my attention. Fortunately the dogs I was walking were not from the “squirrel-crazy” variety, so they stopped and sat as I watched. Suddenly, the clump of squirrels dashed in unison from the yard to the sidewalk, then froze again. I had a “whoa” reaction, then I looked around and realized I was surrounded by squirrels, some solo, some in small “clumps,” two or three, spread out all around me. They were dashing then”freezing”, then dashing and freezing again, moving in the same direction, and climbing rather than skirting around anything in their straight path; some squirrels where crossing over a car, then would freeze on the hood or roof of the car, then reach the street on the next dash to only freeze in the middle of the street. I think some squirrels were on lawn furniture or other lawn decorations, following the same dash-freeze-dash routine/ritual. The squirrels were seemingly oblivious of me and the dogs as they advanced in the same direction, diagonal to my path on the sidewalk. They moved too frequently to get any estimate of their number; I had the impression more squirrels were in the front and back of the procession, beyond my field of view, coming and going between the houses.A hundred squirrels? Several hundred? Maybe more, maybe less. All those I could directly see, dashing-stopping-dashing again, more or less in unison, spaced out over several yards, across the street and into several yards over there. In retrospect I couldn’t tell whether the clumps were enduring or some incidental artifact of the number of squirrels moving in the same direction over an uneven terrain, dispersing then reforming with different squirrels.
    This all happened four to eight years ago, and I am old enough (over 70) to admit that I no longer trust my recollection of specific details beyond the innumerable squirrels spaced out and moving in a starting and stopping wave in front of me on a late summer or early fall afternoon. I do know I stood slack jawed and amazed for at least a minute and probably longer; I don’t recollect if I proceeded home after all the squirrels had passed or if I had crossed through while there were still squirrels coming from the east.
    I am writing this long submission because this site has provided the first information I have found that provides any explanation for this otherwise inexplicable phenomenon involving squirrel behavior. Perhaps this behavior is some vestige of the migratory behavior of squirrels
    observed and documented from the nineteenth century. I look forward to fully reviewing the numerous citations scattered among the many comments I read before deciding to add this post to the chain. Perhaps what I saw is a rare event, or not, but no one I have spoken to or contacted had ever hear of such a thing.
    On a final note, the number of squirrels I saw seemed to be far too numerous to have come from the immediate neighborhood. Four or five blocks to the east is a promontory; the south bluff of the Mississippi River curves, creating a “cul de sac”, and all the streets to the east start and end at the north and south edge of the bluff, three blocks long at the edge of the bluff and six blocks long at the last street before there is the through street out of this circumscribed neighborhood. Said through street I observed the squirrels crossing, heading approximately south west, which incidentally becomes uphill for over a mile.
    If anyone has seen anything like this or can provide some explanation for this odd squirrel behavior, I look forward hearing from you. I will follow this chain for any and all comments.

    • Thank you for your comment, Bob. It sounds to me like you witnessed a now very rare resurgence of the squirrel’s migratory instinct. Although this behavior is almost extinct in the wild (due to changes in the environment, and a drop in squirrel populations) the extinct likely lives on in squirrels. And any time there’s an abundant squirrel population, and a shortage of food in an area, it might kick in again. You were lucky to witness it. Be well!

  68. What does it mean if you see a squirrel eating leaves ?

  69. I’m a squirrel lover as well. we had 2 as pets when I was really little and after releasing them years later we found one that had fallen out the most. we raised him and sadly he was killed by a very vindictive person. Since then I’ve grown up and have a strange gravitational pull on orphaned animal babies. I’ve raised skunks,3 racoons and now that I’ve had an empty nest of sorts for a year or so I just recently acquired an abandoned litten who I bottle fed and is now in the advanced stages of kitten hood and I have suddenly been presented with another squirrel baby..looms to be a bout 7 weeks,has a nasty cut on his nose from falling out the nest but am excited go start the journey again..hoping to acclimate the two fledglings to each other( no worries carefully and overly cautious)I’m obsessed with my.babies so I won’t take any unnecessary chances with there lives..and hopefully I’ll have some odd animal couple videos or pics to share..before anybody gets all up in arms( I’ve raised numerous orphaned animals and I k owe what I’m doing.)

  70. One more awesome squirrel fact:
    Penn State University has an official squirrel named Sneezy.
    Look him up.

  71. Wooh..! I love Squirrels most..! I love to reach you and read this amazing discussion about squirrels. I learn some new info about squirrels. Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing blog with us. Keep posting like this. Have a beautiful day..!

  72. Elizabeth says

    Hi… I love my wild squirrels, but the good
    food is costing me a fortune. I know they
    need calcium, so I was wondering if
    I could dust foods like sunflower chips
    peanut hearts with calcium from pulverized
    claim shells. Would these less expensive
    foods be healthy with added calcium?

    • Good question. I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t –other than I think it’s probably best (if you’re going to feed squirrels) to just feed them foods that are already part of their natural diet. Perhaps someone else with more squirrel dietary knowledge will be able to answer this question (I’m interested in learning more about this too!).

      BTW: There are plenty of “What to feed squirrel” articles online, but most are just trying to sell a specific product. Here’s one of the better ones I’ve found, though.

  73. I was wondering something! I’m a first time squirrel mom and my baby whom name is Bonnie, loves for me to rub under her ears.. I can find anything about why she loves it. Was wondering if someone can tell me probably feels nice but is there a certain reason?

    • Good question. I’m not sure why your squirrel might like this. However, with many animals (such as dogs) the area around the ears has a high amount of nerve endings, making it highly sensitive. And it’s a place where mother squirrels often groom baby squirrels. So it probably feels good.

    • Dave Larson says

      Jeff is correct. Give your baby plenty of love and attention. This website will give you information on long term care:

      • I think the use of “Jeff” above may be a typo. (If not, I’m not sure how to interpret the statement “Jeff is correct.”).

  74. Squirrels are wild animals. People shouldn’t be feeding them any more than birds, foxes, bears…. My dog gets regular vaccinations for Leptospirosis, which is carried by squirrels and other rats–yes, squirrels are just furry rats. They can carry other diseases in places where they urinate and defecate, which is all over your property.

    Ground squirrels are considered agricultural pests, and any squirrel can be considered a pest in some areas. People that think squirrels are desirable probably haven’t had them invade gardens, chew up electrical and other wiring, bury peanuts and other food in their yards. NYC has rats everywhere, but people generally don’t try to attract them. I wouldn’t keep garbage out in the open where bears are around, nor should anyone deliberately attract squirrels. Study them, fine, but don’t encourage them.

    BTW, I am far from alone in disliking squirrels, especially Eastern Gray.

    • To “Jeff”: PEOPLE are the pests destroying the natural environment. All you worry about is an animal in YOUR garden, chewing YOUR wiring etc. You are in it’s environment not the other way around. CATS are the pest that carry diseases, not squirrels. Feral CATS are the disease carriers created by humans. No wonder this planet is in trouble….

      • So PEOPLE don’t have a claim to the environment, but squirrels do? Seems like the “natural environment” ship you may desire sailed long ago. PEOPLE could certainly improve their stewardship of the environment, but they’re not going away, yet.

        I live in the western US, where the Eastern Gray is not native, but populations have arisen and proliferated unnaturally. Their overpopulation has been spurred on by human transportation, elimination of their predators, creation of an environment they can adapt to, and by the unnatural, deliberate feeding and sheltering by humans.

        “Feral” is just as applicable to squirrels as cats. Your assertion that squirrels don’t carry disease is fantasy.

        • Another “armchair expert”. I have been involved in squirrel research, study and care for over 40 years. The only diseases have ever seen are Squirrel Parapox (not transmissible to PPL), Coccidia and fleas. EG’s are in the west b/c IDIOT people (again) brought them there. Not even going to get into how PPL destroyed their natural habitat b/c you will keep defending your position. Hope you are around in the next 20+ years as climate change really ramps up so you can look back and lament over how good the environment was in 2021. Peace out!

        • Funny — the exact same thing could be said of humans by every other creature on the planet.

          “Their overpopulation has been spurred on by…transportation, elimination of their predators, creation of an environment they can adapt to, and by…unnatural, deliberate feeding [i.e., factory farming]”

        • Wayne Fenwick says

          Mother Nature will be so happy once she rids the Earth of humans

        • Oh FFS! If you don’t like squirrels don’t come to this website troll!

  75. Animal lover says

    I first want to say that I love squirrels. We have a cabin in the mountains in Portland and I loved watching them play and feeding them when I was younger. I have had dogs my whole life and wouldn’t let them chase them when we were out and about. I actually had a Rottweiler. That being said, as an animal lover I was really taken aback by the lack of empathy and encouragement to go and check out a story on a Rottweiler getting killed and having pieces of it carried off. I can appreciate your love for squirrels, but to boast about killing another animal who just BARKED at them is disgusting. I know cats and dogs get ahold of them and I am NOT saying that is ok. I honestly can’t stand any killing of animals I am not a fan of the “circle of life”, but What I am saying is that please have some compassion when it comes to certain incidents. As a Rottweiler owner when I read that it made me sick and made me cry. I am a lover and supporter of ALL ANIMALS and as much as I may like some more than others, I would never boast about one of them killing another animal especially over a dog just barking at them. I don’t mean to offend anyone I just think that that comment was extremely sick and unnecessary.

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you pointed this out. It is not my intention to promote violence, or to glorify the suffering of any animal or person.
      Best wishes.

  76. My cat seems to be some kind of squirrel whisperer. He sits under the tree wherever we go in our RV and the squirrels come to talk with him. Harry would probably chase them, if they ran, but they rarely do. Of course the squirrels DO know that Harry is on a leash and has limited reach.
    Just now Harry sat under the tree at our current campground, waiting for his friend to come out an talk – then moved over to our shaded patio to watch from a distance, since Sam the squirrel didn’t come talk to him.
    A few min later Harry walked away, and a minute after that the squirrel came up on the porch looking for him!
    3 days ago while on a walk with his daddy, Harry also found a rabbits nest with 2 baby bunnies inside. He pulled them out most carefully and rubbed on them with his head. He did not try to bite or eat them, only love on them and try to get them to play. Husband put the bunnies back and they don’t walk by that tree anymore, but it was cute.
    My granddaughters cat simply chases the squirrels he sees and is never interested in a relationship.

    I only wonder why the squirrels seem to want to sit and chat with Harry wherever we travel.


    Hi, I am Sunishka from India, I have an Indian palm squirrel that visits me from the tree top that is right out my window. What I mean by that is few weeks ago my mom and sister were fed up of the squeaks it made for hours so I randomly went to check it out and made some sounds to which it came hopping through the branches. Over time we realized it just responds to my sounds. My mom and I decided to put some peanuts in my window sill hoping that it would grab some. So each day, I call it out, it appears so close to me but leaves without taking any peanuts. How do I get it to eat? I kind of feel bad for it since it has been raining cats and dogs and these days it doesn’t squeak but the minute I call it , it’s right up in front of me! Any response is much appreciated!!

    • What a gift to be visited daily by a squirrel! I don’t know much about what palm squirrels eat, but with most adult squirrels, it’s best not to feed them (and peanuts are often not healthy for squirrels). Squirrels are versatile eaters and can feed on tree buds and tree shoots when nuts, seeds, or fruits aren’t available. However, if you want to leave your squirrel something, try putting out a few fruits or nuts that grow naturally in your area. Best wishes!

      • Sunishka says

        Oh, that’s quite something I had no clue about but thank you so much for getting back. I shall follow as suggested. Have a great day!

  78. Good question. I also am a squirrel lover.Jeff is correct.

  79. Leigh Hartsoe says

    I love all critters large and small . Squirrels are so fantastic. The last time I remember seeing a flying squirrel was many years ago and I considered myself very blessed to have seen it also the albino squirrel as we always called them the last time I saw one of those was on my grandma’s farm and that was 45 years ago. I love your article and I hope to see more God Bless you!

  80. We love squirrels! From my 2nd floor apartment deck I watched Earl Girl Squirrel take her babies out of her nest not 20 feet from me. I was quite surprised to see her take TWO albino babies out. Al one and Al two. If I could post a picture of them eating on my deck or any of the videos I have, I would!

  81. Eastern Grey Squirrels, the most common species in North America, can make a standing long jump of about 9 feet and a standing high jump of about 5 feet. That means a human with the proportional strength of a squirrel could make a 60 foot long jump and a 30 foot high jump. Grey squirrels can exert a bite strength of about 7,000 PSI (for comparison a Great White Shark can exert about 5,000 PSI). Scaled up to human size that would mean a squirrel-based superhero could gnaw through solid steel! They can run up AND down vertical surfaces at full speed, have enough balance to run along a wire, and their reaction time is significantly faster than a human. There’s no getting around it: squirrels are badass!

  82. I love animals. I was raised in a rural area. I hardly ever saw a squirrel near my house growing up because all of them lived in the woods. Due to the loss of habitat, they are now found in large numbers in residential neighborhoods. Yes, they are cute, but they are destructive. I like to grow a garden every year but the only way to do it is to reduce the squirrel population. I don’t particularly like to kill them but unless I do, there is no reason to even plant a garden. I killed 38 in about 2 months last year, all in my yard. This year has been much better. I still have squirrels and they do occasionally find my garden. The difference is, now I might lose a few tomatoes and vegetables when in the past I would lose all of them. I have the same problem with whitetail deer. Difference is, it is easier to deer proof my property. squirrel proofing is nearly impossible.

  83. George Krivda says

    I saw a squirrel swimming across the Connecticut River today.

  84. I just saw a squirrel helping another squirrel climb…. I don’t know if the one was injured or otherwise lame but it was struggling to climb on it’s own. It was a pretty amazing site. Anyway, it got me googling on squirrels helping each other and I landed here along the way.

  85. Shoshona Magill says

    why would a black squirrel attack my wind chime, chew off one of the chimes and take off with it in its mouth????

  86. Shoshona Frey-Magill says

    why would a black squirrel chew off one of the chimes and take off with it?? bizarre

  87. Sandra Hardy says

    My cats drug in a baby squirrel, I’m guessing it was about 4 week’s. It’s eye’s were not open yet. I gave it some antibiotics as it had cat marks on it, started with pedealite, then purpurchased some puppies milk. Syringe fed her every 2 hours. She pulled threw the first few day so I figured she was going to survive. Days passed, her eye’s open, still growing and thriving. Weeks passed she became more active. She gained her own little personality. Would snuggle in my lap, and in her box. We chose a name for her even though we knew she could never be domesticated. HERMIONE! meaning Of the Earth.
    We bought her a big cage! she was still in the house, she would come and go as she pleased. Took her on car rides to Petco and Mavrick for nuts and a soda. The soda was mine. Lol The day came when we knew it was time to take her cage out side and set her free.
    My one biggest fear were the dogs and cats that I have. Because she was not really afraid of them. She did really good. Would play some and then return to her cage to retire. But would fenture in the house to sleep. One day I went out and she was gone. I was heart broken. Tho i did know it would come. The next day I went out and gave her a call, and still nothing. With tears in my eyes I returned to the house and prayed for her the best life.
    Today I decided to build a perch in her tree that way I could set her food and water out. While deciding where I was going to put this perch I glanced up, and there she was. Oh joy, joy.. she climbed to my shoulders. I took her inside, got her some walnuts and cold water. Its just what she needed.
    I did notice a scrape mark on her back figured she may have got into a lil tiff with another squirrel. I got her box out of the bedroom set it by her, and down in she went. I think she is happy to be in the safety of my arms again. For now she can just rest.

  88. Louisa Turton says

    I am very concerned at the rate the squirrels around here are disappearing. There may be a planned reduction of greys to encourage the flourishing of reds. I am in Burnley Lancs. It would appear that there is not a gradual process going on. I have been here a year. The trees were full of squirrels. In a year they are all gone. I think that is terrible. This is pure extinction. People have argued that as the greys are now – and have been here for some centuries – here they should not be disposed of. The authorities are saying that the reds were here first and should take priority. Absolute nonsense. Also some MP has said that a third of his trees on his estate were destroyed by squirrels stripping the bark. Well I am sure deer and red squirrels have the same practice, as well as other wild animals. We have not seen that destruction and we are facing a group of trees. I think this is an appalling way to reduce numbers. It gives every one the right to kill the grey squirrels which can be done inhumanely. How on earth are we going to stop this.


  1. […]  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. — Todd Mitchell Books […]

  2. […] barking! It turned out that the kitten had been raised with dogs and thought it was one of Sphynx kitten chasing after a […]

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