Animals · photos

Performance Anxiety


When Smarty and I walked out the door yesterday morning, we heard squirrels squawking in the trees on the edge of the front yard. I looked up to see a big ball of swirling squirrel, whirling around near the top of an alder tree. It looked just like animal fights in the cartoons! I thought the squirrels would fall but they both suddenly jumped out of the mass of flailing squirrel parts and a chase was on.

When Smarty and I got home from our walk, the angry-sounding squawking was still going on. It went on and on until finally I stepped out onto the deck to see what was going on. And I saw alright! A pair of squirrels was mating while dangling from a branch of my birch tree. The female was only holding on with her front feet and the male wasn’t holding onto anything but her. I watched in amazement and then horror as one of her feet slipped and they were both dangling there by one paw. I thought they would plummet to the ground but they simultaneously leapt onto branches and continued the chase, around and around the trees in my backyard, where they were joined by four more squirrels. Smarty decided to join in too and ran around the base of the tree while barking at the squirrels.

I made a cup of coffee and settled down to watch. It appeared to be five males after one female with the lead male chasing the female, while also keeping the other males away. Finally, the other males backed off a little and the female positioned herself in the top of my ash tree and waited.


The male climbed toward her, then backed off, then climbed toward her again.




Just when I thought it was time to tell Smarty to cover his eyes, I started getting pictures like this:




The male squirrel kept looking at me! I think if I understood squirrel language, I would have heard a conversation that went something like:

“Come on already! What’s your problem?”

“I can’t do it with her watching!”

Then again, maybe not. I went in the house to give them some privacy and try to get something done but the squawking and squeaking and chasing and scuffling went on. For the next twelve hours! Apparently, squirrel mating is a complicated and exhausting business. After what I saw yesterday, I understand why some of them look so ragged in the summer!


24 thoughts on “Performance Anxiety

  1. Wow! That was a regular softcore squirrel spread! Some of the looks on the squirrels’ faces in those pictures just speak for themselves…. you can’t beat furry love!

    1. Now if I had my camera in my hand when they were dangling from that tree branch, I would have had to add a mature audiences only warning! As it is, I think I should have blurred a few spots….

    1. Thank you! I was glad they chose my yard for their little dance so I could get a few shots of them.

      I was a little mad at them myself a couple of weeks ago because they shredded a new succulent I planted. There are just certain types of plants I shouldn’t even bother buying.

      1. I didn’t know they go after succulents. Little buggers! I’m hating on them here because they ate all of the baby cardinals that were nesting in the tree outside my window. It was a horrifying thing to see, very disturbing. I didn’t know squirrels ate baby birds. 😦

        1. I didn’t know squirrels are birds either! That would be disturbing and I would be hating on them too, if I saw them doing that. A plant once in awhile is one thing but killing baby birds is unacceptable! I’m sorry you had to witness that. 😦

          1. I was going to blog about it, but it was such a horrible experience I decided not to. The poor mommy and daddy cardinals were so distressed and that effing squirrel sat there not a foot from the nest and chomped on their babies right in front of them. Rachael ran outside several times and scared it away, but it was relentless and kept coming back, and we couldn’t be out there 24/7, in the end all four babies were eaten. 😦

  2. Amazing photographs 😀
    Your description of their antics made me think that maybe us human females should put our prospective mates through similar trials lol

  3. I had a similar experience, except watching two moose try to make in Alaska. Poor guy kept pushing her into the water and couldn’t stay on top of her. I don’t think our pointing and laughing helped.

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