Understanding What’s Up in a Squirrel Brain.

OK, that was dog brain, but I loved this dog in the movie!

Many people have a love/hate relationship with squirrels. Personally, I find them adorable! Understanding what makes squirrels tick can open a world of entertainment, right in the front yard.

Grey Squirrels


Grey squirrels can come in a range of greys including jet black.

In summer, grey squirrels are active in the early morning and then again in mid-afternoon. They rest in the middle of the day, a nice idea! In winter, their peak time is noon.

Grey squirrels use a nest to rest and raise their young. Follow a squirrel that has a mouthfull of leaves and they’ll end up at thier home, an 18 inch-round accumulation of leaves, usually near the top of a tree.

Their home range spans for acres and overlaps other squirrels’ territory. They don’t defend the territories, but there is a hierarchy; older males are dominant over females and younger males.

Like birds, squirrels use certain behaviors to communicate with each other. A dominant squirrel will chatter its teeth, stamp its feet, and wave its tail. It may run at another squirrel, but fights are rare. When alarmed, they will quickly wave their tail from front to back.

Breeding seasons are December though January and June through July. Look for a female squirrel being chased by one or more, with the more dominant squirrel being immediately behind her.

Grey squirrels use scent for communication and finding their hidden food. They tend to use the same routes through the trees and often rub their faces on the branches. They can tell if other squirrels have passed by recently. When burying nuts, they dig a hole 3-4 inches deep and cover it with their paws. They seek out the scent left during burial, but since many squirrels may bury nuts nearby, it’s unclear who gets what nut.

Red Squirrels

Red squirrels live solitary lives, defends a territory of 2-5 acres from other red squirrels, grey squirrels, and some birds. This squirrel is much feisty than a grey squirrel despite its smaller size.

Red squirrels have two breeding season also, March to May and July to September.

Opposite of greys, red squirrels store most of their food in a central location within their territory. This stash could be within a brushpile, an underground chamber, or in a hollow tree.

Red squirrels live in leafy nests, hollow trees or in underground tunnels.


This isn’t about bird feeder protection, as there’s enough information for another post on that. Compromise can be found with a squirrel feeder! If their little tummies are full (if that can ever happen) they would be more apt to leave the birds alone.


James M. of Manor, Texas shares the fun design.

Find the directions for this squirrel feeder HERE

For a bigger goal, you could have a feeder like this!

I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut!!!

© Ilex Farrell ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

11 thoughts on “Understanding What’s Up in a Squirrel Brain.

    • So your dogs said, “SQUIRREL” and all heck broke out, eh?!? Funny!
      This year an either smart or dumb (you choose) squirrel decided to nest in the ONE tall tree I have in my backyard. Remember, I’ve got 2 Border Collies. =-)
      They both sit and stare into the tree sometimes. We also have coyotes & hawks, so living among your ‘enemies’ might be safer. We’ll see…..


  1. Now that my last dog died, there are many more visits from the local rock squirrel colony. The squirrels clean fallen seeds from the bird feeder, and appreciate the occasional bit of fruit. Occasionally, one will be more approachable than the others, but none have yet desired a giant friend.


    • My squirrel crew stays in the front yard, mostly because of my 2 dogs on back. But I’ve got one adventurous one that lives in back. As a child, we had friendly squirrels that we would feed peanuts. It just takes patience and food, they will come.
      Thanks for the comment!


  2. Squirrel!! Loved that movie….Up, is that right? My Mother-in-law is constantly shooing squirrels away from her bird feeders…it’s kinda funny(don’t tell her I said that). Great post!!


  3. Pingback: Squirrel at My Window | Midwestern Plants

  4. Pingback: Squirrel McDonald’s  | Midwestern Plants

  5. Pingback: Doggy Dilemmas ~ Squirrel Edition | Midwestern Plants

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