Just like other small mammals, squirrels have a lot of natural predators. This contributes a lot to their lifestyle. For instance, a squirrels will always be on alert even when there is no danger around. It is because they know that they can be attacked from any direction, and at any time. They also only get out to look for food during specific times when they know that predators are not around. If you live in an area that has lots of squirrels, you may enjoy watching how they dodge their enemies. On the other hand, these enemies might be your perfect weapon to keep away these small mammals, especially if you do not have time to hunt them down yourself.
Before going into the list of what eats squirrels, you should know the following facts.
- Squirrels are small rodents that feed on a wide variety of foods.
- They are wild animals, but they can wander into homes when they find a way.
- They are always fast and sensitive and therefore, some predators have a difficult task catching them.
- When in the woods, they are not difficult to spot.
Another reason these animals have lots of natural enemies is because they are mostly harmless. They spend their lives running away from other animals, rather than attacking them. Here are their most common predators.
Birds such as eagles and hawks are among the biggest predators for squirrels. They are particularly dangerous because of their ability to fly, and locate the animals even in their most discrete hideouts.
These birds can patch on a tree in the woods and wait for the animals to come out out their hideouts before attacking. They can also wait patiently until the animals get to the open fields where it is easiest to catch them. Because of these, the squirrels also hardly spend a lot of time in the open spaces. When they do, they keep supporting themselves on the hind limbs in an upright position so that they can see every movement of the birds in the air.
Being the most creative animals, primates can catch squirrels with a lot of ease. Humans and guerrillas are the most common one when it comes to this. There are communities across the world that use these tiny animals as food. They will hunt them down using modern methods, and catch them at all costs. These are the predators that can locate a squirrel and flash it out of its hideout without even having to work so hard. The only difference is that while the guerrillas eat them raw, humans take time to cook a it and make a meal out of it. These are the kinds of predators that can dig up holes, set traps, throw sharp objects, and do all sorts of things to ensure that the tiny prey does not escape them. Humans may also use other animals such as dogs to catch squirrels making the situation even more complex.
Snakes and other reptiles
Because of the shape of their bodies, snakes often find it easy t catch their prey. They can coil themselves into hole where these animals often hide. In addition to that, they are capable of climbing trees, going through thick bushes, and hunting these animals almost everywhere. One of the tactics used by snakes to get their prey is to spray them with poison and let them die as they try to flee. After they become completely unconscious, the snake will swallow them whole. Therefore, the likelihood of a snake eating a squirrel also depends on the size of the snake. They also are speedy predators, especially when they are hungry. If an area has a lot of snakes, it will not be common to see squirrels moving around. Apart from snakes, other reptiles such as alligators feed on these rodents too.
Fish and other water predators
Squirrels hardly get into water unless they have to. They may get to a river or stream to take water, but they never go beyond the shores. However, this does not mean that they are safe from predators that live in water. If the by any chance find themselves in deeper areas, fish will attack them and eat them. Some large fish start eating them when still alive while smaller ones may have to wait until the animal drowns and dies before eating. When drinking along the shores, alligators and crocodiles also attack these animals. This is one of the places where these animals are caught most especially in the jungles because no matter what happens, they have to take water in order to survive. It is surprising how there are still so many squirrels roaming around despite the dangers that they are exposed to every day.
Foxes, coyotes, and other four legged predators
Four legged predators live with the foxes in the bushes and therefore, they know how to find them whenever they need them. These are the types of predators that will chase these small mammals around until they catch them. However, some are often lucky to escape by either confusing the enemy, or entering their holes before they are caught. Apart from those that live in the bushes, domestic dogs will also hunt down these creatures whenever they set their eyes on them. This is the reason most people who do not want squirrels to enter their homes will prefer to have dogs around. These predators are largely carnivorous and therefore, they will eat the squirrel at the point when they catch it. It makes life even more complicated for the tiny mammals because when they are being chased around, they never know what awaits them in the direction that they run.
From the information above, it is quite fair to say that squirrels are some of the most unlucky animals in the food chain. With so many animals looking to feed on them, they have to adapt to the situation in order to avoid being extinct. There are various ways through which they keep their predators away.