Squirrels and people do not always coexist peacefully together. Sometimes the tree-dwelling rodents seek shelter in your home. This requires you to have squirrel removal to avoid damage to your property. However, conflict also occurs when the squirrels are outside in their natural habitat. As long as you are on foot, you shouldn’t have any issues, but the situation changes when you get into your car.
While you are driving in your car, you may see squirrels trying to scamper across the road, especially during the fall. If the squirrel sees your car coming, you may observe it darting back and forth in front of your vehicle. It may seem that the squirrel has a death wish or maybe isn’t smart enough to get out of the way. In fact, the behaviour has nothing to do with a squirrel’s intelligence or will to live.
Why Do Squirrels Run Back and Forth When a Car Is Coming?
Squirrels are capable of more complex thinking than many people give them credit for. They sort nuts by taste, type, and size before burying them and show problem-solving abilities when it comes to figuring out how to get food from bird feeders. Why, then, do they react to a car on the road in a way that seems so counterintuitive?
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why squirrels run back and forth in front of moving cars. However, they have formulated a theory based on observation of the behaviour of wild squirrels that it is an instinctual maneuver to protect them from predators.
In the wild, squirrels are used to predators such as hawks that spot them from above and swoop down out of the sky to grab them. Through centuries of evolution, they have learned to avoid hawks by running back and forth to confuse them. The technique may also have proven effective against other predators.
A squirrel does not understand what a car is, but when it sees one barreling down the road toward it, instinct tells it that it might be a predator. Therefore, squirrels react the way they always do when they see a hawk or other potential threat; they run back and forth hoping to confuse it long enough to make their escape.
Why Is Squirrel Roadkill More Common in the Fall?
Squirrels mate twice a year and give birth in the spring and fall. Each year, the young squirrels that were born the previous autumn are out of the nest for the first time. Inexperience being on their own combined with the instinctual urge to avoid predators by evasive maneuvers may make them more likely to get hit by a car. Not only that, but squirrels are generally more active in fall, adding to their stores of nuts for winter while also trying to fatten up. Squirrels running around more often increases their chances for a collision.
What Can You Do To Avoid Hitting Squirrels With Your Car?
If you see a squirrel on the road in front of you, slow down your vehicle if it is safe to do so. This gives the squirrel time to complete its dance, after which it will hop out of the way. You can then resume your normal speed and continue on your way, confident that the squirrel will do the same. Be aware of the traffic conditions around you. You do not want to avoid hitting a squirrel only to have a collision with another vehicle.
Squirrel Removal and More From Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control
Skedaddle performs several types of wildlife control in Barrie, including squirrel removal from your home. We remove wildlife from homes without harming the animals, relocating them to the wild where they belong. We then clean up after them and prevent them from getting back in. Find out more about the services we offer in your community.