Thursday, July 14, 2011

Does waving at squirrel mean that I want to fight?

I have found that naive squirrels will run away if you wave at them. These are squirrels that have never been fed by humans, and they interpret the motion as a predator, because predators may move suddenly to dash in on a kill. Those that have been fed by humans know that a wave of the hand means somebody may be trying to feed them by throwing peanuts. So, even though they may seem to be moving about minding their own business (such as looking for food on the ground), and appearing not to be looking at you, they are in fact keeping an eye on you to see if you may be feeding them. As soon as they see some sort of waving motion, they look for signs that a peanut may be thrown their way. Some will stop and stand up on their hindlegs and stare at you. Some of the squirrels that have been habituated to being fed may even run towards you. Really friendly ones will even climb up your trousers to take peanuts from your hand and some may sit on your shoulders while eating the peanuts.

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