If you’ve seen a squirrel in your backyard, you may have probably seen squirrels chasing each other. Despite they live lonely, they will sometimes find and chase other squirrels constantly, even up to 10 minutes or more. Do they play, mate, fight, or protect their territory? What do they fight over or how do they play, protect or how do they play and mate? Here’s the concise answer.
The Concise Answer…
Young squirrels run, climb, fight, and chase each other for playing with each other but mature squirrels chase each other to mate with a female squirrel in her estrus cycle, defend their territory that includes both red and grey squirrels. They also use to chase each other in order to defend the food or water resources when in short. However, female squirrels may chase each other to play with each other. But male squirrels only chase each other to fight.
Squirrels are quite funny and playful species. They jump, climb, dig, and chase each other quite occasionally. While chasing each other might haven’t been seen by many people, but that’s what they do apart from their other activities, similar to doves and chickens but in a little bit different style. That looks pretty fun and just playing a game, but why do squirrels chase each other?
Why Do Squirrels Chase Each Other?
While squirrels seem very funny and stupid but actually, they aren’t. They are smarter than most pets and they do everything for a purpose. In some cases, they even trick humans and other animals and sometimes mock and make fun of people and pets. Pretty much like humans, they have homes which are nests, find food, water and have a territory which they protect and have dominance over, poo and pee (Check how and where does squirrel poo and pee). And they do a handful of things which are hidden or rarely seen. And one of those things is chasing.
Just like pigeons which chase around all day, squirrels do too. Similar to cats, they are fast, quick, and definitely smart to chase and run after each other but that’s probably not useless or they’ve been crazy. There’s definitely a reason behind it which differs on the age and favor of the squirrel. And also the style of the chasing is different and more serious than younger ones. Here are the reasons.
Mate With Each Other
Just like breeding season which happens after mating, often squirrels chase each other to mate. Which starts from February (late winter) up to August (late summer). While female squirrels produce a scent to communicate with each other, it also attracts nearby squirrels.
In this period, the male squirrels will look around for the female squirrel in her territory and when pointed out, it will try to approach but often there is more than one squirrel to mate with the female squirrel, usually two to three. That ends up in combat with each other and result in a violent and brutal fight and chase each other until one wins.
However, it doesn’t always end up winning with the larger squirrel but instead, the more mature of them wins often. When the fight’s over, the winner squirrel has now the right to pursue and mate with the female, realizing she is near or at estrus cycle (also known as heat period). Just like women’s menstrual cycle, it’s a special cycle which is a period when a mammal is ready to mate. It usually lasts some hours and that is when the partner has to mate with her.
The female squirrel will now be conscious of the most powerful and strong squirrel in her territory. She will now get ready to mate together.
When the female squirrel is ready, she will now run, seducing the dominant squirrel to run after and find a perfect spot. Meanwhile, the male squirrel will figure out if she is in estrus cycle. On the point, the male squirrel will make a soft sound to signal the female as he’s not a threat but friend. In response, she will make sound of “kuk kuk” or”quaa quaa” for acceptance. Here’s are all the sounds squirrels make. Once this happened, the female squirrel will now slow down running away and the male squirrel will approach and proceed with her.
But often the female squirrel wouldn’t respond back, and instead runs fast, but eventually, the dominant squirrels win and approach, grab her and proceed with it.
Younger guys choose not to approach female squirrels this way or fight over. Instead, they wait, connect, and watch over if there any other male squirrels and eventually when the female is ready to accept, then it will go for it.
This happens through chasing each other climbing, jumping from branch to branch, and burrow to burrow for an hour or two without a stop or path where to go. It’s more of a fast and wild run than a friendly chasing which can be easily differentiated. And when you see in this situation, you may a little bit get an idea of what’s the operation. Here’s a picture of how it looks like.
Most squirrel has a particular territory which uses to chew to mark a sign on a tree (up and down circle) that declares his zone, which can be red squirrels or eastern gray squirrels and flying squirrels. More importantly, they also use to pee and produce a scent on the area which clear up and warns other squirrels of the territory. This way, they get to know the territory of each other and will not enter each others territory. If they do so, that would mean starting a fight and they severely protect it and fights until death for it just like prairie dogs that kiss each other to recognize.
Not only those, they also protect it from smaller and weak rodents and animals, such as rat, chipmunks, birds. They usually protect it due to the limited food, water and resources, and most importantly, protect from the nest and babies inside it. This mostly happens in cities where space and food supplies are limited.
While male squirrels are pretty serious about their territory but female squirrels isn’t very, unless they are attempting to harm or build difficulties for her which isn’t very likely. Mostly male squirrels chase females to mate and don’t hurt the female but that doesn’t mean they don’t protect or fight over. Female squirrels do sign and protect their territory from danger and male and female squirrels which they don’t like. More often they won’t easily combat with a male squirrel, as they are stronger than her.
The territory of a squirrel ranges from 2 to 8 hectares and that mostly depends on the amount of the place and also the variety of squirrel and how far the other squirrel is. When the babies squirrels leave the nest and are mature, they will build their nest far away from their mother at least 200 feet or more.
Some of the squirrel’s species aren’t territorial but would chase and fight with other squirrels not for the territory but for dominance.
You may have seen squirrels chasing each other very violently and also makes harsh noise. Next time when you see squirrels chasing each other, remember this!
Protect Goods Sources
Either in city or in the wild, squirrels need food and water to survive. While squirrels are mostly in cities, they come across a single source of food and water. Despite whose territory it is, they will need to use the same source of food and water. They protect the territory and so does the food source, they will fight over especially when it’s in short. It doesn’t affect if the squirrel is non-territorial but this depends on how far the food resource is, and how far they can travel. The war is on the resource and they would battle over and there’s nothing that would stop them.
Most non-territorial squirrels chase and fight over the food and water supply and protecting nests. Male squirrels are more aggressive than female ones, but female squirrels will also defend and steal away the food when they are in need. For example, if there’s a bird feeder which is common for a few squirrels, they will fight over and take away the food all of them. But they won’t step into battle when there’s plenty of food or food sources even all of the squirrels would be active at the same time. Like if there’s nuts or oak tree which produces lots of nuts, they won’t often fight over and will share happily. And it’s the same for water from where do squirrels get water. Remember this!
Play with Each Other
Occasionally squirrels chase each other to play with each other. Although most young squirrels play with each other, despite that, mature squirrels will still want to play with each other and that’s why they chase each other, but it’s more friendly and smooth than chasing to mate or fight with each other. And more often it happens between two females or males and a female. It can also happen between two males but rarely when they are mature, and instead, in childhood when they are young.
Why Do Young Squirrels Chase Each Other?
While playing is quite common among young creatures and can be easily seen especially among young gazelle and young goats. These two are the obvious example due to their size. And the same is with young squirrels which are around 8 – 12 weeks old, just like a 8 to 12 old kid. They would like to learn, play, and practice what they’ll see and learn. So young squirrels chase each other to play and fight friendly with each other. But that’s not all, here’s the complete answer.
Play with Each Other
Young squirrels either play by themselves or play with their siblings or other young squirrels chasing each other. The run, climb, attack, spin, fight, practice, fun, and play with an item that can be a toy, stone, tree branch, or anything else which is not so often.
What’s more often and widely seen is young squirrel playing and chasing her siblings mostly or other young squirrels where the squirrels run, jump, tease, bit, mock, climb, fight, and chase friendly with other squirrels just like raccoons babies.
They obviously do this to learn, practice and play what a young kid would do and that’s the time which are supposed to do this. There’s no other intention behind this and they simply do this for enjoyment and sharpen those skills to find food, get fresh and sweet water and protect themselves from predators. You can also feed them seeds and peanuts despite they are young.
This way, they would learn all the necessary skills and steps to take care of themselves and live on their own. They continue doing this until 12 weeks when these baby squirrels are out of their nest and continue doing it even after that for a few times.
Draw Attention & Care
In addition to playing, they will also chase her mother or grandmother and sometimes even humans (just like pets) to draw attention and care. In case they aren’t fed well or are injured or even just for fun would like to draw attention and care of her mother so they will chase her. It’s common to see a baby squirrel even other animals to chase her mother.
While every animal play, sex and make fun, squirrels do too. Younger squirrels manage to chase each other to play and draw attention. While mature squirrels do chase each other to mate with each other, protect territory & dominance, protect food sources and play with each other. However, there are also some species of squirrels that aren’t territorial. This means, they don’t really care of the territory where they live but they would probably chase and fight over dominance and food source and protect themselves and their nests. If you saw squirrels chasing each other next time, you may probably know it’s due to food or protecting their territory, nest. However, you may feed squirrels to make over the fight. You can also shoot squirrels in your backyard and make a delicious meal but is it legal to hunt squirrels and from your backyard? Check out now.