Two Eastern Gray Squirrels on a Branch
The floodplain was mostly still yesterday (in terms of vertebrate life, anyway) — except for these four squirrels who lept, climbed, and barked, their way through the trees above, creating this quite noticeable racket in the otherwise still woods!
… It seemed like three of the squirrels were “pursuers” and one was the pursued — perhaps three males, and one female?
The dynamics changed a bit once one of the pursuers got close enough to the female… he and the female laid down on a branch and rested nose-to-nose, staying vigilant. They others stood by and watched; when they’d try to crawl near, the dominant male would scare them away. Scamper towards them, force them to run up the tree…
At first I thought they were all just having fun until I realized that they were engaged in a very serious ritual that shakes out whose genes get passed on, and whose do not. Only the strongest, fastest, and most nimble squirrel could earn passage into the future.