Skip Navigation

Go
Species Search:
Ask an Expertthreatened and/or endangered

Eastern Grey Squirrel Communication

We have numerous squirrels in our yard. We regularly feed them. Many times, as we watch, they begin to waggle their tails: sideways, up and down and occassionally in circles, while they chatter, screech, and make other sounds. We would love to know about their ways of communication and if anyone knows what they might be telling each other. Frequently there are 4 to 6 squirrels involved in the "conversations". We feel "left out" Thank you for your help.

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

All the vocalizations and tail movements you see among squirrels around food sources boil down to pretty much one sentiment: "Get away, this food is mine!" Squirrels do say other things, such as, "Get out of here, this land is mine" and "Don't even think about trying to keep me off that birdfeeder, because it's mine." It's like a two-year-old's credo: "What's mine is mine, what's yours is mine, what you came in with is mine, if I want it it's mine, if I don't want it it's mine...." Or those gulls in Finding Nemo: "Mine-Mine-Mine-Mine......"

No, seriously, squirrels do have many vocalizations and also communicate with their very expressive tails. Imagine what humans, with our wide range of emotions, might do with tails! Squirrels certainly don't have sophisticated conversations like we do (some of us, at least), and most of what they say can be classified either as territorial or alarm signals.

New Search
 

 

 

2007 eNature.com