What are squirrels’ predators? Daily gloomy adventures of Alvin, Scrat, and Sandy Cheeks
We see them almost every day—in parks, in our houses. These popular rodents even make it to the Hollywood and literature books. They are one of the most appreciated animals living in suburban and rural areas in many places of the American continent. But these books and movies do not fully disclose the daily dangers these little creatures face—the predators that send squirrels scurrying for safety.
What are squirrel predators like?
Squirrels make up of 200 species around the world. This include prairie dogs, marmots, and chipmunks. These rodents are omnivorous: they only eat fruits and nuts. They usually live in places nearest their food source. Squirrels basically live everywhere they feel most convenient to get and store food for their consumption all year round.
Unfortunately, these little animals are constant targets of their larger and sneaky predators. The natural predators of squirrels range from flying species to walking and crawling species. Up above, hawks and owls pose danger. On ground level, squirrels watch out for foxes, weasels, coyotes, snakes, and wildcats. Danger of being eaten follows them wherever they go.
As much as they want to stay away from their predators, squirrels need food to survive. In search for food, there are times when they need to risk going beyond their safe zones and tree canopies to find, eat, and store provisions. This challenge exposes them to possible death.
Another threat involves hunting these creatures in some areas in America and other parts of the world. Squirrels are one of the hunters’ favorite targets. These squirrel predators go on hunting trips in the woods to prey and make a feast out of them.
How do squirrels protect themselves from predators?
To survive, different types of squirrels make different techniques. More sociable squirrels disseminate tasks to one another. While one eats and stores, the other serve as a guard, always alert for any possible attack. Their sharp vision and sense of hearing help them in this kind of job.
Other more solitary ones find interesting strategy to hide from these squirrel predators. One recent study discovered that there are squirrels which improvise luring their predators so that they can be less desirable to eat. Some squirrels collect old skin of their perpetual eaters—the rattlesnakes. This effort helps them hide from the smell-dependent hunters.
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Mclendon, Russell. 2017. “22 things you may not know about squirrels.” Mother Nature Network, November 20. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/happy-squirrel-appreciation-day.
Kurtus, Ron. 2017. “Squirrel Defense Mechanisms.” School for Champions, December 31. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://www.school-for-champions.com/behavior/squirrel_defenses.htm#.W-DyHNUzZQI.
What Eats. “What Eats a Squirrel?” Last modified March 29, 2010. Accessed November 6, 2018.