Why do Squirrels Chase Each Other? Major Reasons

Have you ever seen two squirrels racing around a tree? Maybe you’ve been to a park and seen six or eight squirrels playing chase at the base of a tree? If that’s the case, you’ve probably wondered why squirrels chase each other.

Why do Squirrels Chase Each Other?

Watching a group of squirrels run around a tree or make their way up and down a tree trunk without stopping is fun. 

You might be surprised to learn that squirrels chase each other for various reasons

The reason for the chase can be determined by studying the behavior of these small creatures, listening to the sounds they make, and considering the current season of the year. 

Read on to learn about squirrel chasing behavior, as well as some other interesting facts about these busy, adorable rodents.

Why Squirrels Chase Each Other

Here are the most common reasons you might see squirrels of various ages and sexes chasing each other around trees or across lawns:

1. Protect their Territory

When you see adult male squirrels spiral up and down trees chasing each other, it’s typically for territorial reasons or disputes. 

You can usually identify a territorial dispute when you see the chasing squirrel nipping the other until the intruder leaves the area.

Ground squirrels usually have a territory range of around 225 feet surrounding their burrows. 

Their burrows help them survive by protecting them from predators, so they are very aggressive if anyone intrudes into their space. 

Sometimes female squirrels will also show territorial signs when there are limited nesting sites to raise their young.

Young squirrels will move away from their mother’s territory to establish their own territories after around 9 to 11 weeks. 

They’ll move up to 260 feet away from their mother’s area. 

However, some species will share part of their territories with their babies instead of chasing them away after maturity hits.

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2. Protect Food Supplies

While protecting their territory does involve protecting food sources, some species that aren’t territorial will chase away squirrels when food resources are low. 

Squirrels typically collect and pile their food into mounds, so they must protect their stash from intruders looking to steal. 

High competition for food usually only occurs in areas or seasons where food supplies are limited.

3. Establish Dominance

While some squirrels, such as the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) aren’t very territorial, they will chase other squirrels to establish dominance and show “who’s the boss.” 

To assert dominance, squirrels will typically chase each other until they catch each other and then fight. 

Typically the most mature squirrel wins and claims or maintains dominance. Coming out as dominant can be beneficial, especially during mating season. 

Females are most likely to notice males who have established themselves as worthy bachelors.

4. Mating Ritual

During late winter or early spring, you might see male squirrels chasing females around. 

Usually, this is more slow-paced, where the male is following the female as part of the mating process.

Females will emit specific scents and vocalizations when she is in a reproductive state. 

The attracted males from various territories will follow the female to determine if she is ready for mating since females’ bodies are usually “ready” for only a few hours.

Female squirrels will also run from males to see who can catch up to them. Males who can keep up are typically considered sustainable partners. 

In this chase right before mating, you might see them running after each other through fields or around tree trunks.

5. For Fun

Chasing each other for fun is usually when two young squirrels run after each other and “play fight.” 

This is similar to the behavior you might see in kittens or puppies. 

These types of playful chases won’t result in fights after the squirrels catch each other. However, they do sometimes playfully nip at each other.

6. Develop Survival Skills

Young squirrels will also playfully chase each other to help themselves develop essential skills for survival in the wild. 

Most squirrels need to be able to climb trees quickly and jump from branch to branch to survive, especially when escaping predators

Running around and balancing on different trees or fences lets them develop their strength and coordination. 

The more they can practice these skills in a less-threatening scenario, the better they will be.

Do all Species of Squirrels Chase Each Other?

All squirrels chase each other, but some are less territorial than others. 

For example, gray squirrels are less territorial than many other species, but they will still chase another squirrel if necessary. 

Alternatively, red squirrels are known to be very territorial and won’t hesitate to chase any other squirrel away. No matter how territorial, all squirrel species do whatever it takes to survive.

Do Young Squirrels Chase Old Squirrels?

Yes. Squirrels can live from 3 to 7 years in the wild. This means that young squirrels often encounter much older ones. 

When it comes to a chase, the age of a squirrel doesn’t matter.

If an older squirrel that’s not strong or healthy invades the territory of a young squirrel, the young squirrel won’t hesitate to chase it away.

Can one squirrel seriously hurt another during a chase? Though the fight between squirrels can look and sound really vicious, it doesn’t usually end in injuries for either one. 

The point of the fight is to drive the other squirrel away from the area. The fight is not meant to end in injury or death.

Is a Squirrel a Good Pet?

A squirrel is not a good house pet. They are wild animals that need to be outside climbing in the trees with other squirrels.

Someone who sees a baby squirrel sitting on the ground near a tree may try to pick it up and take it home. 

Even if the individual has good intentions, this may be the wrong thing to do. The mother squirrel may return for her missing baby and return it to the nest. 

Handling the baby squirrel may prevent it from being retrieved by its mother. The scent of human hands on the baby can repel the mother.

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In conclusion, squirrels chase each other for numerous reasons which include: territorial defense, mating procedures, fun, and establishment of dominance. Kindly share this content on all platforms.

CSN Team.

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