Floodplain Squirrels in Love

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.

They got very close, sitting nose-to-nose for a few moments.

Another one of the squirrels, laying down after circling the tree many times.


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