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Squirrels are very playful little creatures that are always running around and doing stuff. You might even get a kick out of watching the squirrels do crazy stuff out in your yard sometimes.
Have you noticed that the squirrels seem to like chasing each other? Why is it that they do that when there doesn’t seem to be a practical purpose for it?
Read on to learn about why squirrels like to chase each other. You’ll understand a bit more about squirrels and why they act the way they do.
Sometimes It’s Related to Territorial Disputes
There are many different reasons why squirrels might chase each other. One of the reasons has to do with territorial disputes, and sometimes squirrels might chase each other as a way to establish dominance.
Squirrels that are feeding in other squirrels’ territories might be challenged. Have you ever seen a squirrel aggressively chasing another squirrel up a tree?
If you see squirrels making an up and down spiraling pattern on a tree, then this is a sign that a territorial dispute is occurring before your eyes. One squirrel will eventually establish dominance over the other so that the territorial matter will be solved.
It can be entertaining to watch, but things won’t escalate and become too violent in all likelihood. You might see squirrels nipping at each other and chasing each other, but there’s no reason to worry about bloodshed.
Not All Squirrels Are Territorial
Of course, not all squirrels are territorial, and this means that some of them won’t bother chasing other squirrels when they come into their territory. One of the most common North American species of squirrels, the gray squirrel, is not territorial at all.
However, just because this species isn’t territorial doesn’t mean that chasing won’t happen. There are other reasons for chasing, but squirrels can still chase each other to establish dominance even when they aren’t territorial.
There might be some chasing involved in figuring out the hierarchy of the squirrels in the area. Which of the squirrels is the dominant one will often be determined by these little chasing games.
All squirrels will chase each other for certain reasons, and it’s often about establishing dominance whether it’s related to territory disputes or not. However, there are other important reasons why squirrels might chase each other to consider before moving on from this topic.
Sometimes squirrels might wind up being a little too successful in a small area. If squirrels have found an area that has lots of food and seems to be safe for them, then it might become overpopulated eventually.
When there are too many squirrels in an area, food can become scarce due to the squirrels needing to compete with each other. This could cause squirrels to start fighting and trying to chase each other away.
This is similar to the territorial disputes that you’ve already read about, but it’s just more about squirrels trying to claim an area as their own to get the other squirrels to spread out. If the squirrels stay in the same area, then they’ll all be competing too much for the same food sources.
In many ways, chasing is just a natural way to try to keep the peace between squirrels. Instead of squirrels viciously fighting each other, they’re going to attempt to establish dominance and force other squirrels to go look elsewhere for food.
You’re going to be most likely to see this happen in areas with lots of food. Some spots might become overpopulated due to a lack of natural predators in the area.
Humans have caused many changes to the environment, and some animals that used to prey on squirrels aren’t as common anymore. When an area gets too crowded, chasing could be a way to try to keep the squirrel numbers from swelling too much in a specific spot.
Mating rituals might involve chasing as well, and this means that squirrels that are chasing each other might just be trying to find a mate. During the late winter months or in the early days of spring, adult squirrels are going to be looking for mates.
The chasing patterns that you will see during the mating season will be different from the ones about dominance or territorial disputes. Generally, the males are going to chase the females slowly and they’re able to detect the reproductive state of female squirrels by scent.
How this normally starts is that an adult female squirrel will try to get the attention of a male squirrel. The female squirrel will start to scurry away to get the male to follow.
The adult male squirrel will follow behind slowly using scent to tell whether the female is in heat or not. Generally, adult female squirrels are only in the right state to mate for a few hours at a time, and the male will need to be able to tell this by scent for things to proceed as planned.
A short chase will ensue, and when the male squirrel catches up to the female one, the two will finally mate. It’s a pretty involved process, but that is how things normally are for many different animals.
There are some weird things that can happen during the mating process as well. For example, there might be a male squirrel that isn’t dominant in an area that will wait for an opportunity to strike.
This beta male squirrel could wait for the two squirrels to meet up before attempting to scare away the normally dominant squirrel. This might mean that the squirrel will attack the other squirrel to try to claim the female as a mate.
Sometimes the two squirrels will fight to establish dominance, but one of the squirrels might just run away fairly early on in the encounter. It’s even possible that the female might leave because of the altercation.
It shouldn’t be surprising that squirrels chase each other a bit when trying to find mates. This is a very common thing that you’ll be more likely to see happening if you try to observe squirrels from a distance during the late days of winter or early spring.
All adult squirrels will be looking for mates during this period of time unless there is something wrong. It isn’t too unusual to see squirrels mate during the late summer months either, but the more common time is during the late winter days and early spring.
The type of chasing seen here is very distinct, and you’re not likely going to mistake it for another type of chasing if you happen to see it. It should be obvious what the squirrels are trying to do if you observe them for long enough, but getting too close could scare the squirrels off.
Most people who observe squirrel mating rituals do so from a distance. It makes sense that squirrels would be wary if a human got too close.
Young Squirrels Playing
Young squirrels might chase each other just because they have an abundance of energy and want to play. Playful chasing is a way for young squirrels to have a good time with each other.
It isn’t unusual for young squirrels to play like this with each other, and sometimes they might even play around by pretending that they’re fighting. You might have seen dogs doing this when they’re puppies, and it isn’t so different from what the squirrels are doing.
It’s also notable that this playing around can serve a purpose for young squirrels. Young squirrels need to develop good coordination and strength so that they can survive, and playing with other squirrels can help to teach them certain things.
Developing the necessary skills by playing around and chasing other squirrels does make sense. Squirrels need to know how to chase each other because there might be a need to establish dominance or solve territorial disputes in the future.
Should You Worry About Squirrels Chasing Each Other on Your Property?
You probably shouldn’t worry at all about squirrels chasing each other on your property. It’s completely normal behavior and it’s just how squirrels establish certain things among each other.
It won’t be likely that you’ll encounter two squirrels fighting to the death or anything strange like that. These squirrels will just be solving little disputes when they’re chasing each other most of the time.
When young squirrels are chasing each other, it’s going to be a form of playing. It’s just something that young squirrels do to have fun and to learn how to do certain things that they’ll need to do later on in life.
Mating rituals might occur during certain seasons, but that shouldn’t be concerning either. The only time you should be worried about squirrels in your yard is if you want to keep them away for one reason or another.
Keeping Squirrels Away
Maybe you don’t like seeing squirrels chasing each other in your yard. Not everyone wants to have squirrels around because they could be pesky in certain ways.
For instance, squirrels can rile up your dogs and cause them to bark incessantly. Squirrels will also sometimes eat the birdseed that you have placed in bird feeders, and that could be more than a little annoying.
Thankfully, you can keep squirrels away from your property by taking certain steps. If you just don’t want to have squirrels hanging out in your yard, then there are many options.
Keep reading to learn a few quick tips to keep squirrels from congregating in your yard. Whether you’ll want to do these things just depends on how you feel about squirrels.
Remove Food Sources
Removing food sources will be the best way to keep squirrels from wanting to hang out in your yard. If you have been noticing many squirrels in your yard as of late, then you probably have food there that they can eat.
There could be berries from nearby bushes, nuts growing on certain trees, and other types of seeds that squirrels like to eat. If you pick these things up and don’t leave them on the ground, then squirrels will have far fewer things that they can forage in your yard.
Some people even go so far as to remove bushes or trees when they don’t want squirrels around. This could certainly work, but you don’t need to go to those lengths to take care of an issue like this.
Just do a good job of keeping food sources to a minimum. If you pick up your yard semi-regularly, then that can go a long way toward making it less attractive for squirrels.
Use Squirrel Repellent Products
There are actually squirrel repellent products on the market that can help you out as well. This could give you an easy way to get the squirrels off of your property if you do things right.
One of the simplest products to use is an ultrasonic repellent device. People place these devices near things that they don’t want squirrels to mess with.
For instance, you might wish to keep squirrels from coming to mess with your bird feeders. If you have an ultrasonic repellent device near the bird feeders, then squirrels won’t want to get near it.
The only issue with this is that many of these devices might also scare away certain birds. You’ll need to try to get something specific that targets squirrels and small animals and not the birds that you want to feed.
If you’re just worried about keeping squirrels away and you don’t feed birds, then these will work amazingly well. Many of the best devices are solar-powered so that you won’t need to worry about charging batteries or anything like that.
There are also squirrel repellent sprays that deserve your consideration. These can be sprayed on your deck, car, plants, and outdoor furniture to try to keep squirrels from messing with things.
You’ll easily be able to spray specific parts of your yard, and squirrels will want to stay away from the spray. Anyone who doesn’t like squirrels will be happy to use a product like this, and it’s good at keeping squirrels away from specific things that you don’t want to be bothered.