Why Do Squirrels Chase Each Other? + [5 FAQs]

Have you ever looked outside and found squirrels hanging out and chasing each other?

If you don’t know why they do this, it can seem weird and concerning that these small creatures are chasing each other. Are they fighting? Playing?

In this article, we will go into the behaviors of squirrels and find out why they insist on chasing each other.

You might also like: How Far Do Squirrels Travel? (Here’s The Answer!)

What Are the Reasons that Squirrels Chase Each Other?

Like any animal, there are reasons why these squirrels participate in this particular behavior. In fact, squirrels have a few reasons why they will chase other squirrels around much to our amusement.

Let’s see their reasons below. 

Squirrels Chase Each Other For Domination

The main reason why you might see a squirrel chasing around another is that squirrels use chasing to establish domination.

If anything is going to be chasing you, it’s because they are trying to dominate you.

Squirrels will try to dominate each other to resolve conflicts. These creatures are territorial over their stuff and their space. Their hideout is theirs alone and they want to keep all of their food safe.

However, this territorial nature can sometimes cause disagreements and conflict between squirrels.

To settle an argument, one squirrel will try to dominate the other to show that the space is theirs and the other squirrel can’t have it. 

This kind of chasing is most commonly done during the fall and early winter months when squirrels are trying to prepare for hibernation.

With them needing a good spot to stay for the winter, they are especially territorial over space and food. 

Grey squirrels are the least territorial of the kinds of squirrels, usually because they don’t need to worry about having limited space.

American red squirrels and California ground squirrels are known for being a lot more territorial and will often be seen chasing each other around because of this.

American red squirrels
American red squirrels

Space and food are what squirrels will fight over the most as having enough of both are essential for their survival.

Spaces, where many squirrels live together, will have higher levels of competition for food and independent squirrels will fiercely protect their space and food supply.

Squirrels Will Chase Each Other to Initiate Mating

Squirrels Will Chase Each Other to Initiate Mating

This is another kind of domination that will make squirrels chase each other.

Squirrels have two mating seasons, one in the early spring and the other in late summer. Male squirrels will start the mating process by chasing female squirrels.

This chasing happens because it gives male squirrels time to assess the female squirrel’s reproductive state and to see whether the female squirrel is a good match.

The chasing is slow and methodical, even though it looks like two crazy squirrels to us. 

Sometimes, you will see multiple male squirrels chasing one female squirrel. The two male squirrels are not only sniffing out whether the female squirrel is a good match, but also competing with the other male squirrel to get the female squirrel first. 

If the male squirrel establishes that the female squirrel is a good mate, the female squirrel might take control of the chase by literally leading him on.

Eventually, the male squirrel will catch up to the female squirrel and they will mate. 

Squirrels Will Chase Each Other to Play

Squirrels Will Chase Each Other to Play
Playing tree squirrels

If squirrels aren’t chasing each other to start mating or to establish dominance over territory, they might be chasing each other to play around.

This is mostly seen in squirrels that are too young to start mating. 

We see many species of animals engage in play-fighting behavior from cats to dogs to now squirrels.

This chasing around might seem like aggressive behavior, but it is no more than playful wrestling to these young squirrels. 

Chasing in young squirrels is very beneficial to their development. As these young squirrels play with each other and run around, they learn useful skills such as eye coordination, strength, and stamina. 

Learning these skills helps them run away from vicious dogs and predatory cats among other squirrel-hunting creatures.

When you watch your dog chase after a squirrel only to be thwarted by the squirrel’s escape, you now know how the squirrels got those skills. 

At some point in a squirrel’s development, they might stop chasing around for fun. Chasing would then be reserved for mating and keeping their territory safe. However, some adult squirrels will still chase each other for fun. 

If you want to see what squirrels chasing each other looks like, check out the video below to see!

Courtesy of Nature Shared

Squirrels Just Want to Survive

Much of the time, squirrels are using their chasing ability to survive in the highly competitive and dangerous wild.

Even something as innocent as chasing to play fight is necessary for young squirrels to do. It’s with this that they learn necessary survival skills.

Mating is necessary to keep the squirrel population up and protecting space and resources is necessary for an individual squirrel’s survival.

Everything that this species does as natural prey is to ensure that they will survive for as long as possible. 

Will a Squirrel Chase a Human? 

Again, the things that a squirrel will do is to protect themselves and the things that belong to them.

Most of the time, a squirrel won’t chase you, especially if you aren’t doing anything to threaten them.

However, you might get chased if you get too close to a mother squirrel and her children.

If she believes that you are a threat to her baby squirrels, you are very likely to get chased and possibly bitten depending on how threatening your actions are. 

Be mindful whenever you are around squirrels. They want to survive in this world as you do, so don’t give them a reason to think that you are a threat to their existence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Squirrels Murder Each Other?

While this might seem morbid, the American red squirrel has been known to attack and murder other squirrels.

This answer becomes even more morbid when you learn that it’s baby squirrels that usually get murdered and sometimes even eaten.

Male American red squirrels will occasionally eat the baby squirrels of another male. This sometimes then includes squirrel cannibalism.

There are also cases of male squirrels killing off other squirrels that are endangering the safety of their mate and their kids. 

Female squirrels might kill off other female squirrels as a form of dominance or even ensure food safety. 

While squirrels are adorable creatures that many people love to watch and feed, they are also brutal killers as many wild animals are.

Do Squirrels Bite Each Other’s Tails Off?

You might come across a squirrel with an oddly short tail or with a tail that looks like it got a bite taken out of it. This is because it is a common occurrence for squirrels to bite at each other’s tails. 

When fighting for dominance or in a brutal attack, a squirrel might take a bite out of its opponent’s tail.

If the squirrels were only play fighting, it could have been an accident. However, squirrels can be brutal if they need to be and will rip at another squirrel to protect what is theirs.

What Does It Mean When a Squirrel Stares at You?

If you live in an area with many squirrels, you might find yourself being stared at by one of these tiny creatures. In most cases, there is nothing to be worried about if you feel their tiny eyes on you.

A squirrel might stare at a human simply out of curiosity. They will wonder what you are going to do next or if you are going to try to interact with them.

Other times, a squirrel will watch you to make sure you aren’t a threat. When we get scared, we will access our surroundings to search out any threats.

This is what the squirrel is doing as well.

Why is a Squirrel Screaming at Me?

Having a squirrel scream at you can be a weird but frightful situation.

If you find yourself being screamed at by a squirrel, it is best to leave them alone. They might be thinking that you are a source of danger and are screaming at you to warn you off.

A screaming squirrel might also be warning off other nearby squirrels of a possible predator. This will only happen if the squirrel is already with other squirrels or is a more social breed of squirrel.

Final Thoughts

Many people love squirrels but don’t fully understand why they act the way that they do.

Squirrels will often chase other squirrels around for a variety of reasons. They will chase to resolve conflict, start mating, or to simply play around.

If you have ever had squirrels chase each other around in your backyard or while you were on a walk, let us know in the comments! 

Squirrels can be brutal and violent at times, but don’t forget that they can enjoy playing around too. With that, squirrels simply want to survive.

About Justin Stewart

With a deep knowledge of plants, landscaping, and sustainable gardening practices, his engaging content offers practical tips, creative ideas to help you transform your backyards into thriving green havens. Get ready to unlock your backyard's full potential!

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