Why Do Squirrels Chase Each Other ? Playful Pursuits

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Mammals that chase each other are squirrels. Despite the behavior being natural, there could be several causes. However, I’m curious to know why do squirrels chase each other.

Yes, Squirrels do chase one another. When food resources are scarce, they use to chase one another to protect themselves. Female squirrels may chase one another as a form of play and male squirrels pursue one another and battle.

While the chasing behavior amuses a few people, it frightens others who are concerned that this behavior is a sign of rabies infections. To learn about the causes of squirrel chasing, keep reading the article.

Do Squirrels Chase Each Other?

Squirrels Chase Each Other Around Trees

Squirrels do chase each other. Two squirrels chasing each other can indicate that one male has entered the territory of the other male. If you look attentively, you’ll notice that they might also be biting, nipping, or clawing one another. This kind of territorial conflict can appear to be highly violent.

On the other hand, we enjoy seeing squirrels in our surroundings because they are intriguing and cute. In cities, we observe them chasing after nuts, biting vegetables, or stealing nuts from people.

For every living thing on this earth, finding sustenance in the wild is a completely different experience.

Squirrels pursue one another for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they do it to play, and other times they do it to mate. Typically, it’s to fight for territory or food.

When squirrels are ready to mate, they chase the females more slowly. Based on their aroma, they will determine whether they are suitable.

Do All Species Of Squirrels Chase Each Other?

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All species of squirrels chase one another; however, some are less territorially assertive than others. For example, grey squirrels are less territorially hostile than many other species, yet they will still go after another squirrel if necessary.

On the other hand, red squirrels are known for being quite territorial and will not hesitate to drive any other squirrel away. No matter how violent a species of squirrel is, it will do anything to survive.

A squirrel with a clearly defined area may chase off intruders if they get too close.

 It is not the objective to capture and kill the other squirrel; instead, it must be made to escape and stay away. Not all squirrels act in such a territorial manner. 

Red squirrels and flying squirrels are among the species that exhibit some of the most aggressive tendencies when it comes to territorial behavior.

 Do Young Squirrels Chase Old Squirrels?

Why Do Squirrels Chase Each Other

Yes. In the wild, squirrels can live for three to seven years. As a result, young squirrels frequently come into contact with much older ones. The age of a squirrel is irrelevant during a chase.

A young squirrel won’t think twice about chasing an older squirrel out of its territory if it isn’t strong or healthy.

Young squirrels benefit from this kind of activity. They gain strength and coordination abilities as a result. Typically, only fun nips occur during this form of play, with no aggressive behaviors.

For a variety of reasons, squirrels chase one another. Older squirrels chase each other to show dominance during the mating process, while younger squirrels chase each other for amusement.

Squirrels will fight one another to defend the scarce food source when the population becomes too dense.

Do Young Squirrels Chase Each Other?

Young Squirrels Chase Old Squirrels

Young squirrels chase one another, sometimes even appearing to fight. They do this to entertain themselves and hasten their growth so they can live to be adult squirrels.

If you see this group of squirrels keeping close to the same tree and you also see a nest in that tree, they are probably young squirrels from that nest playing chase.

 For enjoyment, two young squirrels will frequently chase and “play fight” with one another. You may notice that puppies or kittens have behavior like this. Once they’ve caught each other in these entertaining chases, the squirrels won’t start fighting.

 They do, however, occasionally playfully nip at one another. When young squirrels play they practice behaviors they might make with less harmful or severe repercussions as adults.

In addition to training, children also build the neural pathways necessary for particular motions and behaviors while they play

Why do Young Squirrels Chase Each Other?

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Some squirrels enjoy playing in addition to displaying their dominance, mating, and defending their territory. Like other species, young squirrels frequently chase one another as a type of play fighting.

Young squirrels chase one another and occasionally even seem to be fighting. They do this for amusement and to help them grow faster so they can live to be adult squirrels.

They are likely young squirrels from that nest playing chase if you notice this group of squirrels sticking near the same tree and you also notice a nest in that tree. They climb trees very quickly though.

If they are underfed, hurt, or even simply for pleasure, they may go after their mother to get her attention and take care of them. A newborn squirrel or perhaps other animals would frequently chase their mothers.

Which Squirrels Do Chasing And Which Are Chased?

The specific squirrels participating in the behavior determine who is being chased and who is doing the pursuit. When two males are fighting for control of a territory, the dominant will be conducting the chasing and the sub-dominant will be doing the eluding.

It might go when two sub-dominant males are competing for a new area.

If a younger squirrel challenges an aging squirrel, the older squirrel may be pushed away. Males typically pursue females and other males during breeding, however for various reasons.

Young squirrels will chase one another back and forth while playing. They continue chasing and grappling with one another until they lose interest in the game.

A non-dominant male squirrel may occasionally wait in the female’s territory. When the dominant male squirrel takes the female and begins mating, the hiding squirrel may challenge him and try to force him to run away.

Do Squirrels Chase Each Other Around Trees?

It might be turf wars if they are after one another, but sex is more likely. They can fight for a long period, and they frequently chase one another around trees.

The male squirrel suddenly falls off, picks himself up, and appears unharmed. He then sprints back up the tree and continues where he left off.

The squirrels’ age and gender determine the causes. Every time you see them running up or down a tree, falling, getting back up, and continuing their pursuit, there is a valid explanation.

To survive, especially when evading predators, most squirrels need to be able to climb trees fast and jump from branch to branch. They can build their strength and coordination by moving about and balancing on various trees or fences. The more kids can hone these abilities in a less dangerous setting, the better.

What Are The Reasons For Their Chasing?

Due to genetic adaptations, safety, and their constant search for food, squirrels chase throughout the day.

Additionally, they show their authority by engaging in violent combat with other mature males. These are the significant reasons for their pursuit of one another.

1- Mating

Squirrels Mating

A male squirrel chases a female squirrel because he wants to mate with her. When she decides that the man is worthy enough to mate with her, she can opt to yield to his advances.

A non-dominant male squirrel may occasionally wait in the female’s territory. When the dominant male squirrel takes the female and starts mating, the hiding squirrel may challenge him and try to force him to run away.

 2- A Friendly Competition

For social as well as crowded-living squirrels, in particular, this chasing can be crucial in establishing who belongs where in a hierarchical race. In some circumstances, a non-territorial squirrel may also follow another squirrel around. This will serve as proof to upcoming rivals of which squirrel is the most dominant.

 3- Safety Of Off Spring

Squirrels are constantly worried that one of the predators would turn their young into a meal. And as a result of this, there must always be a predator at the top of the food chain, ready to eat your squirrels at any time.

Due to the shortage of food and hiding places, a few adult squirrels hunt young squirrels. In such circumstances, their parents chase after one another and guard their young children.

 4- Reducing The Competition

To lessen the rivalry for mates, the males of the species chase one other. The other healthy males are sought after and captured. During the mating season, males would chase rivals for anything between a few minutes and an hour.

The duration of the competition between the participants is determined by the participants’ male stamina.

 5- Secure Food Sources

It’s life or death for many creatures, including squirrels, when they go food hunting. Even though protecting food sources is a very important and necessary part of sustaining their territory, certain non-territory animals will chase squirrels away when food supplies are low.

Squirrels must guard their food against robbers since they typically gather and store it in mounds.

 6- Protect Their Land

For territorial disputes or other reasons, adult male squirrels would routinely pursue one another up and down trees. When there is a territorial dispute, you can usually talk because the pursuing squirrel will bite the other until the invader leaves the area.

Female squirrels will occasionally exhibit territorial tendencies when there are few sites to construct nests and care for their young.

7. Grow Their Fighting Skills

Young squirrels will entertain themselves by chasing each other about as they develop essential skills for surviving in the wild.

The majority of squirrels need to be able to climb trees quickly and jump from branch to branch for their survival, particularly when avoiding predators.

They can develop their strength and coordination by wandering about and balancing on various trees or fences. The more children who can develop these skills in a less hazardous environment, the better.


Due to the squirrels’ struggle for survival, there can be a lot of variety of these chase situations when food is scarce in one location. These animals won’t be able to survive or feed their young if they don’t have enough food stashed away for the colder months.

When a squirrel is defending its food supply, many actions such as nipping, biting, and shrieking are on show. Squirrels frequently chase each other as a sort of defense against other threatening squirrels.

Chases can include territorial disputes, food fights, and the pursuit of potential mates depending on the age and gender of the squirrel. Young squirrels engage in playing by chasing one another.


Cronk, L., Palombit, R. Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) color morphs do not differ in aggressivenessacta ethol 24, 143–147 (2021)

Stephen M Jackson, Quan Li, Tao Wan, Xue-You Li, Fa-Hong Yu, Ge Gao, Li-Kun He, Kristofer M Helgen, Xue-Long Jiang, Across the great divide: revision of the genus Eupetaurus (Sciuridae: Pteromyini), the woolly flying squirrels of the Himalayan region, with the description of two new speciesZoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 194, Issue 2, February 2022