With their bushy tails and the way they seem to dash about playfully (they actually run in erratic patterns to avoid predators), squirrels look adorable. Underneath that playful exterior, could squirrels be hiding territorial or aggressive tendencies? As with most wild creatures, it’s a bit complicated.
Certain species, such as the American red squirrel and the northern flying squirrel, are very territorial. Both types of squirrels keep interlopers away and use their urine to mark their territory.
Also, remember that female squirrels, regardless of their species, can behave territorial or aggressively when protecting their young. That’s also true of most females of any species, squirrel or not.
Squirrel communication is also rather complicated. They can aggressively chitter and wag their tails to send a “stay away” warning signal. Some untrained observers can also mistake their more normal chittering vocalizations as a warning.
Are Eastern Gray Squirrels Territorial?
Remember when we said, “it’s complicated”? Eastern gray squirrels are the perfect example because someone watching their activities and behavior could easily think they’re territorial, but they actually aren’t. The confusion is because eastern gray squirrels have hierarchies and use dominance to establish and maintain their place in that hierarchy. As such, they’ll chase each other, not to drive a squirrel away from their territory but to exert its dominance over the other one. It can look the same to those who aren’t trained wildlife experts.
Other traits that lead people to think eastern gray squirrels are territorial involve courtship and training. When trying to attract mates in the spring, male eastern gray squirrels will chase females, but in a far less aggressive manner than they do in the dominance games. It’s a courtship ritual they engage in to evaluate each other as mates. Young squirrels, much like puppies and kittens, will chase and playfully “fight” each other as a way of learning how to do it for real.
Are Squirrels Aggressive to Humans?
Generally, no, squirrels aren’t dangerously aggressive to humans. However, a lot of C.W. Postgraduates can tell stories about the squirrels on campus chittering at them with attitude and body language that makes it clear they should keep their distance.
Squirrels can be aggressive to each other under certain circumstances, regardless of the species. For example, wildlife experts have found that male squirrels will kill young squirrels belonging to their rivals and not just in times when food is scarce. They’ll also do it when food is abundant.
Are Squirrels Loners?
Whether a squirrel is a loner depends upon several factors. Certain types of squirrels live in extended groups or colonies called a dray or a scurry. Other types, such as tree squirrels, will live alone or in small family groups. However, even squirrels that are natural loners will come together in extreme weather to huddle together to stay warm and survive.
Let Twin Forks Pest Control® Solve Your Squirrel Problems
Squirrels are cute to watch from a distance but difficult to remove if they’ve gotten inside your attic, chimney, or walls. At Twin Forks Pest Control®, we have more than 20 years of experience humanely removing squirrels. If you think squirrels have gotten into your home, give us a call at (631) 287-9020 if you’re in Southampton, (631) 324-9020 if you’re in Easthampton, or (631) 298-0500 if you’re in Southold.