Are squirrels smart?

Are squirrels smart? is a very interesting question right now. Below is the best answer to the Are squirrels smart? that we assembled. we will definitely make you satisfied!


Richard McKinley

Votes: 4208

Yes. Well, at least one of them could. In the late 1990s, I lived in a 5th floor condo with balcony. Every morning when I headed out the building entrance for my car to go to work, I saw this squirrel sitting on the grass looking at me. Finally, I just said “Hi” to it, and it hopped over and walked with me until I stepped off the curb into the parking lot. After that, the squirrel escorted me to my car every morning, like a ritual, even though I never once offered it food. After over a year of that, we had a 22 inch New Year’s 1999 blizzard (I was in Chicago northwest burbs). Once all the snow stopped, he showed up on my 5th floor balcony, sitting on top of a chest-high snow drift as I was coming back from the fridge with a beer during the football games. I knew it was him. At first I was surprised how he would know which balcony was mine, but he probably saw me out there many times during the summer after I got home from work while he was up in some tree.

It didn’t take rocket science to know why he was there. After 22 inches of snow, he probably couldn’t get to his usual food stores. So I opened the slider and he just walked right in. We’re longtime buds, right? He followed me into the kitchen where I had some little bags of nuts (cashews, almonds and pecans), the kind for cooking recipes, not the snack nuts with added sugars, salts, etc. Then he followed me back into the living where he hopped right up on my thigh as soon as I sat down on the couch, waiting patiently as I opened the three little bags. After giving him an almond and a cashew first, which he ate, then I gave him a pecan. You should have seen how he lit up, like “WOW!!! Where did you get THESE!!! Sensational!!!”. When I started to get another almond, he leaned forward and tapped on the bag with the pecans, letting me know his preference. The level of non-verbal communication BOTH ways was very high. Keep in mind you can get the same thing with any dog or cat kept as a pet since they live with you and get to know you. But this was not a pet. After he ate his fill, he hopped back over to the slider to be let out, just like a dog or cat would. Communication.

The next Saturday a week later I was up early on the computer in my home office room as usual, checking emails and planning my day. He apparently knew about my Saturday routine because he showed up on the window ledge and tapped on the window, waving his “arms” like an air traffic controller when I turned to look. As I walked past the living room on the way to the kitchen to get nuts, I could see him already waiting at the slider. After two more Saturdays enough snow had melted so he could get to his usual food, so he stopped his weekend visits, though he still escorted me to my car every morning as always.

Weeks later, on one of the first very warm Saturdays of spring, I was out on my 5th floor balcony relaxing when he came up to my balcony. He brought a candy bar with him and gave it to me. When I put it on the side table, he picked it up and gave it to me again. It was in pristine condition, one of those fundraiser candy bars (“World’s Finest”) that are frequently sold outside the supermarket by some youth sports group like little league. I know where he got it. On Saturday mornings it was always a busy time for grocery shopping, and people would get back from the supermarket to unload at the main entrance where it was no parking. They would make a couple trips inside, putting their bags by the lobby elevator while leaving the hatchback or trunk open. Many times I saw squirrels hiding in the shrubs waiting for someone to go inside, then they would quickly hop in the back and help themselves to some things. They knew EXACTLY how much time they would before the guy would be coming back through the vestibule so they could be gone before he got back for more bags.

I am sure that was where that candy bar came from, and some poor kid probably got his butt whupped for stealing the candy bar and then lying about it. But the squirrel took the effort to bring it up to me, either thanking me for my past help after the blizzard, or buttering me up for the next winter that was sure to come.

Still wondering whether squirrels understand humans? Rest assured, the squirrels that live in your yard (along with chipmonks, rabbits and the like) know everything about you, who lives in your house with you, your pets, everything. It is their business to know because their survival depends on knowing the other creatures sharing their habitat. So say “Hi” to a squirrel or rabbit once in a while when you are out in your yard. They know who you are. And maybe put some scraps out after a blizzard or other extreme weather. Maybe you will even get a candy bar out of it.

Jeroen de Bruijn

Votes: 7068

I would say most species of squirrel are quite smart for their size. They are usually very capable to solve problems getting to food. Yet, they help to grow countless trees by forgetting where they buried their winter stock of nuts and seeds. Maybe cunning is a better word for their abilities.

I would say they do rank under crows, as crows are better able to recognize object

See this nice compilation of squirrel obstacle courses (always fun to watch).

Adam Stephens

Votes: 9276

Squirrels help our forests by growing more trees.

When Squirrels forget their buried nuts, the nuts grow into more trees! Trees are important to life and to humans as like all plants, trees release oxygen to help us breathe and trees are great homes for wildlife.

What’s not to love about these cute little creatures anyway?

Michael Belcher

Votes: 7571

On my opinion yes they are. They know how hardh a winter is going to be by where in a tree they build their nest, they stock pile food, and they learn their predators patterns.

Scott Goldman

Votes: 8021

A corvid/raven/crow is likely the smartest animal in North America. This has been determined based on the number of steps they are able to process before solving a problem – six. This would put them on par with a 6-7 year old human. They are also known for playing practical jokes simply for amusement. The corvid family are great mimics and imitate the farmers calling their pigs just to see the pigs get excited and farmers get angry; the reaction from the birds appears to be hysterical laughter. Crows can also create tools (which is much more challenging than merely using them) when practical. They identify individual humans and react to each differently; this is very different than most other wild animals that clump us together.

Squirrels are probably on par with the domestic pig, ranking at the top for land animals. Of course squirrels have the advantage of dexterous hands to perform their clever tricks. Squirrels can remember exactly where they buried 3000 different acorns months before. Studies show that a squirrel would have the natural intelligence of a five-year old human, but can easily be taught to achieve problem-solving skills of a six-year old that has a year of schooling.

Nicole Marie Legere

Votes: 2692

They sure are!

I grew up dirt poor.

My mom left my dad when I was 4 years old, and my father could barely afford to keep a roof over our heads, let alone feed my brother and me. We ate a lot of wild meat as a result.

I’ve tried beaver, bear, squirrel, along with more normal game like deer, moose, and partridge.

Squirrel in particular, I remember enjoying immensely! Kind of similar to rabbit. We had squirrel stew, squirrel pie, and squirrel stir-fry. It…

Mary Ann Besser

Votes: 7259

Two personal experiences can adequately reflect the answer to this question. First when I was growing up, living directly next to me were two seniors, a husband and his wife. Every day, the little old man would sit on his front porch and he would be surrounded by at least 5 or 6 squirrels. His little posse would be seated right next to him on the porch just eating away the nuts and feed he provided them.

Squirrels specifically do recognize humans as a food source, particularly those who have fed them in the past. Because humans have moved into their habitat, squirrels have become acclimated to their human counterparts and they are often less afraid of humans than they are of other animals like raccoons. Squirrels are noted to be very intelligent rodents with excellent memories. They can be trained to approach people who offer food when like my neighbor, it is consistently provided. Squirrels assess whether or not humans are looking at them. If a human appears oblivious to them, the squirrels ignore them. However, when humans try to engage with them, most quickly scurry away.

Squirrels’ memories are so well-developed that when trained to complete a maze to earn a hazelnut, these same squirrels remembered the solution to the maze almost two years later. Squirrels have a complex method of communicating with one another and are even known to deceive each other to prevent another squirrel from stealing their stash of nuts. They will even fake out other squirrels by pretending to bury nuts, only to really bury nuts somewhere else. Not only do squirrels remember where they have buried their nuts, but they are also so organized they hide related nuts together (scatter-hoarding).

The most significant evidence that squirrels remember their human benefactors relates to orphan squirrels in the wild. When squirrels raised by humans are released into the wild, a number of them not only remember but choose to return to their human caregivers.

The question should be “Should people feed squirrels?” That answer is debated but there are a few consistent things to know. Food for squirrels is not synonymous with food for humans. If a squirrel should become accustomed to being fed and then the feeding of these rodents suddenly stops, it might take a while for the rodent to readjust to find another food source. Squirrels are wild animals and they can inadvertently scratch or bite so hand feeding them is not advised. Squirrels can also carry diseases harmful to humans and their pets.

I’ll end with one final story that demonstrates just what can happen when these ever-so-adorable rodents become too accustomed to being fed by humans. My son was a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. When we would visit him on campus, he would warn us to stay away from what he called “those crazy squirrels”. Those animals had become so accustomed to being fed that when he would stop to eat a quick meal between classes, one of those crazy squirrels would attempt to steal his food right out of his hands.


Mercedes R. Lackey

Votes: 9555

If squirrels are so smart, why do they get run over?

They are very clever at figuring out puzzles.

They are not very good at figuring out that the large thing approaching them is moving faster than they can.

They have had millions of years of evolution to evolve at solving puzzles.

They have had less than a hundred years of being around cars.

Bonnie Wingate

Votes: 4520

Being a basic generous, altruistic human you buy a bird feeder. Good to feed birds. Especially in winter when natural grasses and wild seed die off. You buy bird seed. You fill bird feeder. You notice in a couple of days bird feeder is empty. You didn’t specifically see any more birds than usual but then again you haven’t been keeping close attention. You refill feeder. Two days later, feeder is empty. No particular increase in birds flitting around, but again, you’re busy, you may not have noticed. Refill feeder. This time you watch. You watch carefully, often, and closely. One day later you see a squirrel departing your feeder. The feeder is empty. Two months later you have become something of an expert. So much so that people are actually avoiding you at parties, casual gatherings, at the post office. You have learned in your two months of study and expertise every squirrel proof bird feeder available on the market. You have researched proposed design of engineered feeders, not yet in production. You study these designs and even think you can improve upon them. People you know, even vaguely are now avoiding you in line at the market, DMV. In the course of the ensuing two months you have purchased 227 pounds of birdseed. You have not noticed a signifigant increased bird presense in your yard but the feeder, always empty, seems well used, chewed even. Maybe the birds come at sun up. You begin to get up earlier and earlier. You start drinking your morning cup of coffee while leaning over the kitchen sink, watching out the window in direct line with the birdfeeder. The empty birdfeeder. You refill the feeder. Go inside to have a second cup of coffee. What you have noticed, while no increase in birds, a definite surplus of squirrels. How fat and happy they seem. You start filling the feeder two times a day. Your morning coffee expands to three cups. Your hands begin to shake as you fill the feeder for the third time in a day. The squirrels seem very happy. Chubby too. They even start to wait for you when you come home at night. Month three. Four morning cups of coffee and 100 more pounds of bird seed above and beyond the previous month. No birds. Well, few to speak of. Must have flown south for the winter. The squirrels however, abound. And they seem so content. Delighted to see you lugging your 50 pound sacks of seed in through the back door. The question, ah the eternal question remains. Are squirrels smart animals? No, not particularily. Why do you ask?

Stephanie Jacklin

Votes: 5518

What do squirrels eat?

From observation of the squirrels in my garden:

Squirrels like:

Nuts, any

Bulbs, the more expensive the better

Figs, the day before you intend to pick them

Toast, buttered, an entire piece, from goodness knows where, preferably held in both paws and eaten on the windowsill while watching a human try to exercise. You try doing lunges while being observed by a squirrel eating toast.

Squirrels do not like:


I watched a squirrel furtively pull a radish out of the earth, take a bite, recoil, and throw it across the garden in disgust. What goes around, comes around, squirrel. That’s for the lunges.

Dan Tannehill

Votes: 6679

Squirrels are tasty. Not just to me and other rural Americans, but to hawks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats, bobcats, lynx, etc. etc.

Squirrels know this-either by instinct or by seeing other squirrels become the main course. Obviously, squirrels don’t want to be on the menu. All of the predators mentioned earlier have a distinct trait. They all have eyes on the front of the head. Squirrels and other prey species have eyes on the side of the head. So when a squirrel sees a creature with eyes on the front of the head, it knows there is a potential for danger. It must make a decision.

Now if that predator has recently eaten and is no mood for a chase, the little squirrel …

Cait Walker

Votes: 6672

Yes! Squirrels have been known to fake hiding nuts to trick other squirrels away from their food. They will try more than one way to open a locked box. They don’t forget nearly as many food caches as they remember and they have social groups and hierarchies.

All animals are intelligent if you ask the right questions and give them the right tools.

Jill E Griffin

Votes: 4924

Perhaps. The ones that call my yard and bird feeders home are very clever. They break into every bird feeder I have tried, and recently managed to open a challenging plastic container that I was keeping bird seed in. That last one really impressed me. I had a hard time opening that particular container. It took the squirrels an hour.

Note that I have four dogs, and still feed about a dozen squirrels daily…and the odd bird. The squirrels aren’t afraid of my dogs at all. They easily avoid them. I have seen the squirrels wait until the very last second to run away from my charging dog, and purposely drop things on them. It drives my dogs nuts, but I fear it’s a battle they will never win.

George Rix

Votes: 8746

What do squirrels do all day?

I’ve brought three of them up….and I have about eight wild ones in my courtyard here in east central London so I watch them with interest. Now during those two parts of the year when she is probably bringing up a brood of youngsters she, without HIS help will be busy gathering food to take back and forth or watching over the best she can her growing charges. Much of the day in the warmer parts of the year is spent gathering and hiding food, and also finding it again. In winter more time is spent finding it again. They spend a lot of time exploring, playing and bickering. I love them….and the G

Karen Marie Shelton

Votes: 5465

What do squirrels feel like?

I have mixed feelings about squirrels.

While they are adorable and cute, they also invaded my attic and proceeded to gnaw their way through my wiring on the path to burning my house down.

Yes, a wildlife expert managed to get the squirrels out of the attic without single mortality.

Photo by Shane Young on Unsplash

Of course, then I had to pay to have their damage repaired.

My house was saved, but it was very expensive and took weeks to finally get them completely evicted.

Sarah Jessica Parker on TV’s Sex And The City (SATC) was quoted as saying “a squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit!”

Before t

George Rix

Votes: 8434

Why are squirrels so small?

Which ones? As a large group there is a lot of variation in size! None are actually very large though, nature has matched their size to their lifestyle and environment, diet even. If they were much larger they would be competing with other species and thus out of the niche that nature has put them into.

Justin Ash

Votes: 8359

Can a squirrel smile?

You tell me.. He sure looks happy.

George Rix

Votes: 774

Are squirrels friendly?

Daring, friendly and tame are different things. Squirrels quickly develop trust when people feed them. Sometimes coming directly into your home each day to be fed, as is the case with me. Those in parks obviously grew up with a lot of trust but never without caution. Can they be friendly? Yes, especially if you bring them up in the first place, I’ve raised three orphans and they developed simple games with me too. One wild female that comes into my home has explored everywhere in it, even walking under the stool I’m typing from now and allowed some cautious petting, so yes, it is a one-to-one

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