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What Squirrels Can Teach Us About Being Human

Updated on April 18, 2017
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With a Ph.D. in psychology and a passion for animals, FlourishAnyway knows animals can teach us more about living healthy, fulfilling lives.

Advice from Your Favorite Rodent Friend: He's Here to Help

Feeling a little squirrely lately?  Going a little nuts?  These charming backyard critters have lessons to teach us about how to live our best lives.
Feeling a little squirrely lately? Going a little nuts? These charming backyard critters have lessons to teach us about how to live our best lives. | Source

If You Can't Beat Them, Then Join Them

Squirrels are tree huggers, aerial acrobats, and infamous hoarders. They are also the proverbial uninvited guests to the dinner party.

When it comes to squirrels, you're either with them or against them. It seems that there's no middle ground where they are concerned.

You've either relented—like me—and started buying them peanuts, or placed them in a stew for dinner. (Say it ain't so.)

Regardless of how you feel about these bushy-tailed rodents, there are lessons they can teach us on how to lead our best lives.

Embrace the struggle.  Squirrels are as adaptable as they are cute.
Embrace the struggle. Squirrels are as adaptable as they are cute. | Source

Lesson 1: Adapt to Change

There are 285 species of squirrels worldwide, and they live in habitats ranging from South America's tropical rain forests to Africa's semiarid deserts to areas much more temperate, such as Europe and North America.1

Squirrels are remarkably adaptable. They can be found in city parks and rural settings alike as well as in trees, on the ground, and perhaps even in your attic or crawl space. (Uh oh.)

So how adaptable are you?

If you don't have a cell phone yet, still rely chiefly on paper maps and the phone book, and your hairstyle is the same as you had in high school, then maybe it's time to get squirrelly.

"Times change and you have to adapt."

— Jerry Cantrell, American guitarist

Phone Books: Remember These?

Try a little adaptation if you rely mostly on paper maps and phone books.
Try a little adaptation if you rely mostly on paper maps and phone books. | Source

Lesson 2: Early to Bed, Early to Rise ...

Squirrels have perfected the art of rising early, and maybe we should take heed. These bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rodents differ from most of their nocturnal cousins in that they become most productive several hours after sunrise.

During the summer, they take a siesta in the afternoon, only to resume their activities approximately two hours prior to sunset.

During winter, squirrels finish their activities before the middle of the day, retiring to the nest early. Squirrels rarely leave the nest after nightfall.

This Guy Has Life Figured Out

Squirrels are adaptable and live in many areas: trees, city parks, the ground.
Squirrels are adaptable and live in many areas: trees, city parks, the ground. | Source

Not a Morning Person? Tips for Becoming More Productive

Let's face it: not everyone is an early riser like squirrels. If you are a night owl, here are some tips for becoming more productive on the job.

  • The night before, make a "to do" list of what you need to accomplish.
  • Get enough good quality sleep.
  • Practice a relaxing morning ritual.
  • Exercise. It releases endorphins, the body's natural "feel good" drug.
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast.
  • Try to avoid early morning meetings.
  • Schedule your most important work for when you are your most productive.

Benefits of Being an Early Riser

Humans who are early risers tend to experience the following benefits, compared with their night-owl counterparts. They tend to

  • be generally healthier2
  • feel happier, more alert, and awake
  • report greater life satisfaction
  • have a lower body mass index, eat less fast food, lose weight more easily3
  • enjoy better quality sleep and
  • have higher grades in school.4

Although early risers tend to be less creative, intelligent and extroverted than night owls—you can't win them all -- the 9-to-5 schedule of the corporate world favors their natural body rhythms.

As a result, early risers don't experience the "social jet lag" that night-owls do—the feeling of being constantly out of sync with social expectations of when someone "should" be sleeping.

So whada-ya say? Time to reset that internal clock of yours?

"Num, Num, Num ..."

Squirrel teeth never stop growing, so they sharpen them on whatever is available. Dried corn on the cob is a favorite treat.
Squirrel teeth never stop growing, so they sharpen them on whatever is available. Dried corn on the cob is a favorite treat. | Source

Reader Opinion Poll

Squirrels: Do you ...

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Lesson 3: Take Time to Chew Things Over

Squirrels have 20-22 teeth, and they never stop growing. In fact, their teeth grow as much as 1/16 of an inch (0.16 cm) daily.5

To prevent their teeth from growing into their skulls, squirrels must continually chew on tree branches and nut hulls. Because the quality of their lives depend on it, squirrels dedicate the time they need to the process of chewing. For them, it's an art as well as a necessity.

The pesky critters are deliberative and steady in their gnawing habits, and they will chew on nearly anything—roof shingles, garden hoses, bird feeders, you name it.

But before you curse the little munchers, listen up. Squirrel methodology provides a lesson when considering how we humans process information and make decisions.

Squirrels must continually chew on tree branches, nuts hulls and other objects to wear down their teeth because they never stop growing.
Squirrels must continually chew on tree branches, nuts hulls and other objects to wear down their teeth because they never stop growing. | Source

Are You an Information Gulper or Chewer?

Do you gulp down information and spit out your decisions, or do you chew on it?

In the book Decisive: How To Make Better Choices In Life and Work, psychologists Chip Heath and Dan Heath describe common decision-making errors as well as solutions for counteracting these errors.

Take time to chew on information.  Be more like a squirrel.
Take time to chew on information. Be more like a squirrel. | Source

Chew, Don't Gulp, Your Information: How to Make Better Choices

Common Decision Making Error
Solution
Forcing an either/or decision when it is not necessary
Widen your options
Seeking data that only supports your viewpoint (confirmation bias)
Reality test your assumptions
Removing emotion from the decision making process
Achieve distance before deciding
Being overconfident in your decision making, thus limiting your ability to consider alternatives
Prepare to be wrong

Squirrels Find Tulip Bulbs Yummy

Squirrels often find tulip, daffodil, and other flower bulbs irresistible.  Everyone has to eat.
Squirrels often find tulip, daffodil, and other flower bulbs irresistible. Everyone has to eat. | Source

Key Take Away On Making Better Decisions

Great decision making all comes down to behaving more like a squirrel:

  • chew on information
  • churn ideas over
  • try different options out.

Don't just chew on nuts and trees, the tried and true answer. Get experimental by gnawing on the deck, a garden statue, or a plastic flower pot. Go a little nuts. You might discover something fantastic, like next spring's daffodil bulbs the home owners have just planted.

Also chatter with others about what they think. (Two minds are better than one. A squirrel brain is, after all, the size of a walnut.)

And, of course, remember that if things go badly, you might wind up in someone's stew.

Get Squirrelly: Chew on Your Decisions a Little More

Got a decision to make?  Chew on it.  Generate some options.  Talk to friends. We're so worried about being decisive that we commit common decision making errors.
Got a decision to make? Chew on it. Generate some options. Talk to friends. We're so worried about being decisive that we commit common decision making errors. | Source

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

— Plato, Greek philosopher, mathematician

Lesson 4: Play Cements Your Relationships

Squirrels often scamper around and give chase to one another, up and down trees, jumping from limb to limb, and rolling about. But what do all their antics mean?

It's all about relationships, and the intent of their chasing depends on the age and sex of the squirrels involved.6 For example, young squirrels often "play fight" to develop coordination, strength and to simply have fun.

Older squirrels spiral down a tree trunk after one another. They engage in chasing to maintain dominance hierarchies, sometimes settling territorial disputes this way. Males will also chase females as part of a mating ritual.

Wanna play?
Wanna play? | Source

Play Like You Mean It

For humans, play is an integral part of our development. Research demonstrates that play promotes belonging, social awareness, cooperation, fairness, and altruism.7

Children who grow up without sufficient exposure to play opportunities may experience abnormal neurological development and difficulties in restraining violent tendencies.8 Adults who are all work and no play are often rigid, humorless, and overly vulnerable to stress.

Play gives us a chance to try new ideas, thus sparking both creativity and innovation. It fosters learning and innovative problem solving.

Play is not simply the opposite of work. It is how we connect with others and enrich our lives.

So there—if you needed reasons to play, now you have them. Goofing off never sounded so good!

Psst. Hey, You! What's Your Back up Plan?

Thanks to resourceful planning, this squirrel has built a main nest and one or more back-up nests.  He has planned for emergencies.  Do you have a Plan B?
Thanks to resourceful planning, this squirrel has built a main nest and one or more back-up nests. He has planned for emergencies. Do you have a Plan B? | Source

Lesson 5: Always Have a Back up Plan

If you needed to move out of your home today, would you have another place to go? Squirrels do, thanks to their resourceful planning.

Squirrels often have multiple dwellings, building dens in tree cavities as well as leaf nests high in hardwood trees.9 They sometimes also take emergency shelter in ground holes.

Their leaf nests, called "dreys," are typically 20 feet or more off the ground and are positioned on a strong limb. Constructed of interwoven twigs, leaves, vines, and moss, the structures are sturdier than they appear while also having a soft lining of grass to cradle baby squirrels.

These cute baby squirrels look cozy but do they have an escape hatch?
These cute baby squirrels look cozy but do they have an escape hatch? | Source

Escape Hatches and Back up Plans: Be Ready in a Pinch

Squirrel nests also have one clever design feature: a hidden escape hatch covered with leaves. Escape hatches are extremely useful things to have in life. Remember that.

Whether it's a souring relationship, financial problems, a job that has left you burned out or one where there's a bully, escape hatches help you cope with life's emergencies.

Take a lesson from squirrels. They often build second and even third homes near food sources and relocate to their back-up dwellings when they need to escape the threat of predators, fleas, or to be closer to food.

Perhaps we humans should think more like squirrels and have back-up plans for life emergencies we could face. Think about how you can build back-up plans and escape hatches into your life. How prepared are you? What steps do you need to take?

Work It, Baby, Work It! Swish That Tail

There are 285 species of squirrels worldwide, and they come in a variety of colors:  grey, tawny brown, black, and reddish.  Squirrels are active, alert, and inquisitive.
There are 285 species of squirrels worldwide, and they come in a variety of colors: grey, tawny brown, black, and reddish. Squirrels are active, alert, and inquisitive. | Source

Lesson 6: Accentuate Your Best Features

Squirrels are the cleanest members of the rodent family. Have you ever seen squirrels grooming their thick, bushy tails? It's their best feature, and they need to keep them gorgeous. Those tails are also very useful, however.

Reader Poll:

What is YOUR best feature?

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Cold Weather? Bring It!

This squirrel uses his versatile, bushy tail to shield himself from inclement weather.
This squirrel uses his versatile, bushy tail to shield himself from inclement weather. | Source

A squirrel's tail is often the length of the rest of their bodies, and it serves three important functions.10

  1. It provides them important protection from the elements. For examples, squirrels use their tails as umbrellas to shelter them from inclement weather, and they wrap their tails around them to stay warm. (The word "squirrel" originates from two Greek words, skia, meaning "shadow," and oura, meaning "tail.")
  2. Squirrels also use their tails to as communication devices to warn away predators (called "tail flagging") or to signal to other squirrels. For example, three quick flicks of the tail alert other squirrels to nearby danger.
  3. Finally, their tails serve several important functions with respect to movement: as a counterbalance while they rest on branches, as a rudder when they jump between limbs, and as a parachute to slow their fall.

No Shame in This Squirrel's Game

If you have great assets, flaunt them.
If you have great assets, flaunt them. | Source

Flaunt Your Assets: Ain't No Shame in Your Game

So do you know what your best feature is? Accentuating it can boost your self-confidence.

In the workplace, people who ooze confidence are often promoted over those who are equally talented but less confident.11 Research suggests that confidence is interesting to others, and we tend to provide confident people the higher social status they seek.

So figure out what your greatest asset is and flaunt it. Go ahead. Swish that squirrely tail of yours. Ain't no shame in that game as long as you can back it up.

"Aww, Nuts! I Didn't Save Enough for My Future!"

Don't be this guy.  He failed to save enough for his future.
Don't be this guy. He failed to save enough for his future. | Source

Lesson 7: Save for the Future

Squirrels know they will face bleak periods when food is scarce—particularly in early spring. It is not uncommon for squirrels to die of starvation before their first birthday. The smart squirrel, however, saves mightily for his future.

He breaks the nutshell with his teeth and cleans it by licking or rubbing it on his face. This activity applies his scent to the nut, marking it as "MINE." This helps him to find his buried treasure months later, even under a foot of snow.

The smart squirrel saves for his future.
The smart squirrel saves for his future. | Source

Reader Poll

Are you saving enough for your own retirement?

See results

Are You Squirreling Away Enough for Retirement?

We humans should learn a lesson from our forest friends by squirreling away enough for our own retirement.

With longer life spans, rising health care costs, and a greater responsibility for individuals to provide our own retirement security, it is important for each of us to save, save, save.

For years, the retirement savings target was $1 million per person. However, now the average worker needs 11 times his or her final annual salary (beyond Social Security payments) to retire at 65.12 Want to retire at 62? That will be 13.5 times your final annual salary.

Squirrel away your savings and protect those nuts. (You do remember where you buried them, don't you?) Practice frugal living. Kick junior out of the nest (or at least make him pay rent). You don't want to be a working squirrel forever, do you?

Squirrels: What's Not to Love?

Okay, so they take more than their fair share from your bird feeder, take up residence in your attic, and chew up your flower bulbs before they can even bloom.  But they sure are CUTE!
Okay, so they take more than their fair share from your bird feeder, take up residence in your attic, and chew up your flower bulbs before they can even bloom. But they sure are CUTE! | Source

Lesson 8: Not Everybody Is Gonna Love You

Squirrels know they're not perfect. They understand that they have their shortcomings.

Sure, they've been known to take more than their fair share at the bird feeders. But don't tell me you've never taken second helpings—or even thirds—at Thanksgiving dinner.

They would also admit that finding the spring daffodil bulbs you just planted is like winning the jackpot. Bulbs are their favorite menu items. If you were hungry and found a bunch of steak and lobster, wouldn't you dig right in? (Yep, thought so.)

Squirrels even acknowledge setting up shop in your attic uninvited. However, before you complain, just consider this: would you want to live outside if you could live rent-free in the comfort of someone else's home? By leaving access points open, didn't you really just hand them the key?

Squirrels are a lowly rodent to some people, but to admirers they are high flying acrobats, fuzzy tailed philosophers, scampering tree huggers, and resourceful survivors. They are also awfully cute.

Squirrels have learned that not everybody is gonna love you, so you have to love yourself. Seek out the yards of those who welcome your company. Learn to appreciate your flaws as an integral part of you, then get on with the business of living.

Get What's Coming to You

Squirrels can go to great lengths to get what's coming to them.  You have to admire their tenacity and acrobatics.  Don't be a hater.
Squirrels can go to great lengths to get what's coming to them. You have to admire their tenacity and acrobatics. Don't be a hater. | Source

Notes

1Wikipedia. "Squirrel." Last modified August 7, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel.

2Hough, Andrew. "Why the 'early bird' is happier and healthier in life." Telegraph.co.uk. Last modified June 13, 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9327244/Why-the-early-bird-is-happier-and-healthier-in-life.html.

3NY Daily News. "Early risers may be thinner, happier, less likely to be depressed, stressed and overweight." Last modified September 21, 2011. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/early-risers-thinner-happier-depressed-stressed-overweight-article-1.956389.

4Williams, Ray. "Early Risers are Happier, Healthier and More Productive Than Night Owls." Psychology Today. Last modified August 20, 2012. http://www.psychologytoday.com.

Oh, Come On! Give a Guy a Break!

Everyone has to eat.  Go ahead and help that squirrel out. It is not uncommon for squirrels to die of starvation before their first birthday.  This guy looks plenty safe.
Everyone has to eat. Go ahead and help that squirrel out. It is not uncommon for squirrels to die of starvation before their first birthday. This guy looks plenty safe. | Source

5Squirrel Refuge. "Malocclusion." Accessed September 12, 2013. http://squirrelrefuge.org.

6Melina, Remy. "Why Do Squirrels Chase Each Other? | LiveScience." LiveScience.com. Last modified August 2, 2010. http://www.livescience.com/32740-why-do-squirrels-chase-each-other-.html.

7National Institute For Play. "Pattern of Play." Last modified 2014. http://www.nifplay.org/science/pattern-play/.

Squirrels: Full of Life Lessons

Squirrels have many life lessons to teach humans -- if we pay attention.
Squirrels have many life lessons to teach humans -- if we pay attention. | Source

9Whitebread, David, Marisol Basilio, Martina Kuvalja, and Mohini Verma. "The Importance of Play: Taking play seriously." Last modified April, 2012. http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf.

10Shomo, Art. "West Virginia Wildlife Magazine." West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Accessed September 13, 2013. http://www.wvdnr.gov/wildlife/magazine/archive/04winter/clumps_of_leaves.shtm.

11H, Dan. "The News For Squirrels: The Amazing Spectacular Squirrel Tail." The News For Squirrels. Last modified May 6, 2012. http://newsforsquirrels.blogspot.com/2012/05/amazing-spectacular-squirrel-tail.html.

12Ziegler, Maseena. "The Kim Kardashian Effect - Why Being Overly Confident Pays Off." Forbes. Last modified August 14, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/crossingborders/2012/08/14/the-kim-kardashian-effect-why-being-overly-confident-pays-off/.

13Kadlec, Dan. "Retirement Savings: 11 Times Final Pay is the New Target." TIME. Last modified July 17, 2012. http://business.time.com/2012/07/17/retirement-savings-11-times-final-pay-is-the-new-target/.

14Nature Gift Store Company. "What Do Squirrels Eat?" Accessed September 15, 2013. http://www.about-squirrels.com/what-do-squirrels-eat.html.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      srinivas subudhi - Thank you so much for your warm enthusiasm. I feed birds but we all know that squirrels like to help themselves, and I sure don't discourage it. I even buy them peanuts and toss them a bag at a time to them. They are such beautiful, clever critters. I'm so glad you enjoy them as well.

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      srinivas subudhi 11 months ago

      Very nice article. Feel like reading again and again. Other readers please share your thoughts and feelings for Squirrel.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      swalia - Thanks so much for the visit and the share. I love squirrels and feed them along with my birds. Everybody's gotta eat.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 20 months ago

      Nature has so much to teach us. I loved this hub of yours and all those cute pictures you have included. Sharing it on twitter!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      aesta - They indeed are smart little critters. Not sure I'd want to share a cottage with them but they're super entertaining to have as neighbors. Thanks for reading!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 20 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have lots of them in the cottage and we have arrived at an accommodation with these very wise creatures.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Glenn - Thank you for such a lovely comment! Squirrels are some of my favorite animals to watch and to feed. I don't mind buying big bags of birdfood and sharing with the squirrels because they are so fun to watch. Right now I'm in South Dakota visiting and the prairie dogs are pretty cute too! Have a marvelous week!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I loved your tongue-in-cheek method of writing about how we can learn from squirrels. But as I got deeper into your hub I realized how true it really is and your analogies were great.

      Something that really stood out is your point about how we can learn more about others through play rather than conversation. Although I do learn how intelligent someone is while having discussions, I find out more about someone by observing how they react when I use humor. So I see your point. And I see how squirrels play around the garden all the time, chasing each other.

      I guess squirrels are never stressed out because of the way they handle their lives.

      By the way, I like how you put effort into noting references throughout your article. And the pictures you used were absolutely cute!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jeannie - I admire their feistiness and don't even try to shoo them away from my birdfeeder. Everyone has to eat.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Squirrels are just so cute! I think there is much to be learned from the squirrel, but there are so many haters that won't bother to listen. I think it depends on where you live and how aggressive the neighborhood squirrels are... if they eat your garden, you are probably a hater. That is a general rule I've learned. I happen to love them and their resilience should be admired. You can't keep a good squirrel down!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      crazybeanrider - Sorry to hear about your bite. They are cute little guys with long teeth that never stop growing, munch, munch!

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 3 years ago from Washington MI

      What a delightful and entertaining hub. I loved the photo's too. I am afraid though I am not much of a lover of squirrels. They terrify me. I was bit several years ago and had to have rabies shots, to be on the safe side because at that time there were rabies warnings out on critters. But I love watching them from a distance. I just love this hub though!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Skye - What a delightful reaction. Thank you for stopping by.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 3 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      flourish. My oh my. I have learned a great deal. There are so many squirrels in my surroundings. Literally as well. I am like a squirrel in a cage if I do not seek God first thing each day. I prefer seeking God. Done the cage thing many times. Love your hub. Absolutely adorable and much knowledge sister. It is very clever. The pictures are awesome. I really enjoyed the read. I relate. Many blessings on your journey. Stay blessed flourish. So nice to meet up with you. Keep em coming girl. My Love Skye.

      Look at this so many have shared. Awesome. Your hard work has paid. Many are blessed. Me included.

      Shared and voted girl.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      oceansnsunsets - What a nice compliment! Thank you so much. The squirrels are great fun to watch and feed.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Flourish, this is hilarious and too cute! I love it! I can learn a lot from our fellow critters, the squirrels, according to your hub! It made me smile, and also reminded me to relax a little more too. Early to bed, early to rise is for sure one I can learn from. What a true joy to come across this hub, I am so glad I did! Have a great day.

    • michaelrbasso profile image

      Michael R Basso, PhD, MBA, 3 years ago from USA Greater NYC area

      This hub is incredibly well organized, informative and delivered in a delightfully interesting way! Many Kudos to you! May you Flourish!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Michael - What an incredible way to think of these creatures! I'll certainly carry that analogy with me. Thanks for stopping by.

    • michaelrbasso profile image

      Michael R Basso, PhD, MBA, 3 years ago from USA Greater NYC area

      Very well done ! I often things of squirrels as the ultra yoga masters of nature - they are strong, fit, flexible, agile, can tolerate the most extreme weather as risk takers, and they even know how to save as "rational maximizers."

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      word55 - Glad you enjoyed this! Squirrels are terrific creatures; much maligned by some but I love the little buggers.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks FlourishAnyway, great hub. I think every animal has survival instincts but in the way you've observed the squirrel, their way of life is over the top. Thanks for such a great hub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Tolovaj - You are right! I'm also a big fan of squirrels. Some people who feed birds go to great lengths to try to ward off certain types of birds and the squirrels, but we feed anyone who comes to the feeder. Everyone needs to eat. Squirrels are cute, playful little critters and so fun to watch. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 3 years ago

      Squirrels are also very eco-friendly animals. They save so much food in so many places, huge percent of nuts stays under the surface and they actually help to renew or even expand forests.

      I know they can be annoying too, but just a mere look at these pretty creatures gives you a smile on the face, right?

      Thanks for this lovely article and all the comparisons!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Suzanne - Squirrels are pretty awesome characters. Not a bad animal to be like, if you ask me! (Hey, I'm a little nutty, too, but I like it that way.) Have a great day.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I am much more like a squirrel than I realised! I used to think my totem was a guinea pig, but I fit all of these characteristics and wonder why some people don't love me when I gulp my food, hide savings and chatter away. Voted awesome!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      electronician - Squirrels are nutty little creatures, and as wise as their teeth are long. Glad you enjoyed their advice, and thank you for reading and voting!

    • electronician profile image

      Dean Walsh 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      This is brilliant - who knew we had so much to learn from squirrels? I love these learning from animals hubs of yours. Voted awesome and thumbs up :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      sprickita - Thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed this!

    • sprickita profile image

      sprickita 3 years ago from Reno

      loved this read ty!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Crafty - That's cute! Those squirrels are definitely busy this time of year. I just love watching them. Gotta gather those nuts while they are still on the ground. They have taken to drinking from my bird bath, and it's cute to watch. Have a great weekend.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Back for a second visit here. Yesterday I was walking up the path to the school with the kids. There is another mom with her daughter that gets to the path the same time as us every day. They were walking ahead of us. She turns to me and says, "it's awfully squirrelly around here." LOL There were squirrels everywhere. They say nuts can predict a cold winter. We have had nuts covering the sidewalks and roads here. The squirrels are storing up their goodies for winter. The other day there was one drinking water from Wilbur's water bowl outside. It was hanging on the edge and drinking from it. I didn't have time to get a picture.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      $hasta - Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. Squirrels are some of my favorite animals -- cute, pesky and savvy!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      This was a fun article - I enjoyed looking at the cute squirrel photographs as I learned some valuable life lessons from them! Voted up and shared.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ChristinS - When I had tree branches that were too close to my house I also had squirrels who could ascend the roof and chew on things they shouldn't ($). I became fearful they were in my attic or soon would be, so I had the branches cleared within 10 feel of my house. The arborist told me that if squirrels are on the roof, it's just a matter of time before they're in my attic (especially for the winter). It's very sad about them drowning in the swimming pool. Short little arms make poor swimmers, I guess. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      What an excellent hub :). I am both annoyed by and charmed by squirrels in real life. They are highly destructive, they have a bad habit of drowning in swimming pools (twice this year :( ) and they do indeed chew roof shingles - sigh. Aside from all that though, they really are interesting creatures and they do have a lot of wisdom, as do most animals, to share with humans.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Glad you enjoyed this and I hope the squirrels in your yard bring you special joy. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      What a unique perspective on squirrels and on life. I learned so much reading this, which is a good thing, because we have a few squirrels in our yard. Voted up.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jackie - Thanks for stopping by and reading. Squirrels are some of my favorite critters. Love those little rascals.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      So cute and great tips! ^

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      mariewj - Thanks for reading and commenting. They are indeed fun to watch. I hope you get a chance to see them in the nature preserve where they are safer.

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      mariewj 3 years ago

      I love squirrels - beautiful creatures. We used to get them in the backyard but that was many years ago and as the roads outside have got busier, the squirrels have moved further away. A shame but they will be a lot safer over in the local nature reserve than they were here. I miss being able to watch them from my window though!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Carolyn - Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Squirrels are freakin cute and so fun to watch. We can learn from animals if we just pay more attention! I appreciate the comment, vote, and share. Have a great day.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Stuart Mac - Thank you for reading and for weighing in on the squirrel situation in Scotland. It looks like grey squirrels have adapted there all too well.

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      Stuart Mac 3 years ago

      Unfortunately, here in the UK the North American grey squirrel (Sciurius carolinensis) is a non-native invasive species which is threatening the existence of our native red squirrel (Sciurius vulgaris).

      Not only does the grey squirrel out-compete the red for food, it also carries and spreads squirrelpox virus, which is harmless to grey squirrels but deadly to reds.

      Thanks to the Victorians for introducing greys here in the 19th century, our native red squirrel is now almost extinct in England and only found in isolated pockets here in Scotland. The latest information regarding the spread of squirrelpox virus has recorded the disease just a few miles south of Scotland's central belt. If it is able to cross the central belt, then the future of Scotland's red squirrel is very grim indeed.

      If we wish to save our native red squirrels here in the UK, then there is only one effective measure, a widespread and co-ordinated grey squirrel cull.

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      Carolyn Emerick 3 years ago

      I loved this! So many of your hubs are so inspirational! I loved your lessons learned from cats piece, but I might have loved this even more! First of all, I just love Squirrels, they are so freakin cute. And that you would use them as inspiration for positivity in life is really wonderful. I think there was a time when humans learned from nature and animals, and today we are very removed from it. I really enjoy that you are observing, thinking, and extrapolating real life advice from a humble little animal like the squirrel. love it! shared on one of my pages and upvoted :-)

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Peggy - Thank you for reading, voting and sharing. I love the little nutty buddies, and learning about them only makes me love them more. Glad you enjoy them too.

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      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a terrific article about squirrels, their habits and how we can learn from them. Very clever! We have loads of them around here! Up votes and pinning.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      justthemessenger - Thanks for reading and commenting. Squirrels can be unwelcome dinner guests but at least they don't hold our manners against us. Everyone has to eat!

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      James C Moore 3 years ago from The Great Midwest

      Excellent article! Informative without being boring and practical advice that I can use in my every day life. I put out the bird feeder in the morning and those pesky squirrels get to it long before the birds. Lesson 8 confirms something I've always believed. I have always had the feeling that they know that they're not welcome to the bird feeder and that we don't put it out there for them. For all that, I am still glad they are around.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Rebecca - Thank you! They are cute how they squirrel away nuts for later. It is definitely a comparison for people on retirement savings! Thanks for reading.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Rajan - Thank you so much for the compliments. They are endearing little critters. They definitely eat more than their fair share at the bird feeder, but everyone's just trying to survive. Have a lovely day, friend.

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      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a really cute way to present these life lessons. Ireally like the one about saving for the future.

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Wonderful hub and great lessons to be learnt from this small animal. Interesting how you relate the activities of squirrels to lessons that we can learn from them. Great job.

      Voted up, useful. Shared.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      fivesenses - Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing. They are delightful creatures and have their own wisdom.

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      Leena 3 years ago from new delhi

      Made me see squirrels in a completely new light...great read,shared.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      DDE - Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you liked this and equally glad you enjoy those furry little rascals. Squirrels are delightfully filled with so many lessons to share.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Brilliantly presented hub the photos are lovely, we have squirrels close by sometimes in our yard they climb the Cyprus trees and also our walnuts are ready to be picked so that is their favorite treat great lessons from squirrels

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      bac2basics - Thanks for reading and commenting. Squirrels are delightful creatures -- graceful, mischievous, and cute as could be. I hope you get the chance to play some more, even in small quantities. It will definitely lighten the stress.

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      Anne 3 years ago from Spain

      Hi Flourish.

      This hub caught my eye as I love squirrels and you are so spot on with your life lessons gleaned from the way they conduct theirs. Voted up on everything and sharing too.

      I have red squirrels where I live and love to watch their antics, never would have thought to associate the way they live their lives as a guide for the way I live mine though, this is brilliant and one thing that really struck a chord with me is making time to play, I don´t and therefore do suffer badly from stress.

      As you obviously love nature you may like my hub titled "The hairy the furry and the downright scary- Part 2-Gordon´s return and other tales about the wildlife in Spain." It features a squirrel baby I rescued but please be warned that you will need the Kleenex handy when you get to ki ki´s story, although the rest will hopefully give you a giggle ;)

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Eddy - Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy you enjoyed reading it. Squirrels are adorable. I bet your little Sammy gives you lots of entertainment as well as advice!

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      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Thank you so very much for this wonderful hub; voted up and shared without a doubt. We are fortunate to have a little Sammy squirrel visiting our bird table regularly. Loved this one and I agree in that there is so much to learn about life from our surrounding nature. I vote up and share onto my FB page A Brand New Dawn.

      Eddy.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      agusfanani - Glad you enjoy the little darlings. They can be pesky but they're just trying to survive like everyone else. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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      agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

      Amazing observation on squirrels behavior. Squirrels give great lessons and teach us to be wise in living side by side with other creatures.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Cat On A Soapbox - Thank you for the compliments. The squirrels were all a chatter and I just listened!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      epbooks - The little furry critters do work so hard, don't they? Hope he went back down and got his breakfast, and I hope those dogs of yours let you sleep!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Crystal - Thanks for the compliment! Makes me feel awesome. I appreciate the read.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Shan - Thanks for reading and commenting. I, too, am guilty of night owl activities. Seeing how I am answering you at 12:30 a.m., it doesn't look like that'll be changing much. Sometimes I try harder than at other times!

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      Shannon 3 years ago from Texas

      This is adorable! I love lessons one and four, but I'll pass on my night owl ways - or I might have missed this treat of yours, you see.

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      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      I don't know how you came up with this idea, but this is one of the best hubs I have read. Excellent job. Voted up and lots more and sharing!

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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This was very clever! I recall watching a squirrel pick 2 waffles in a bag, out of a garbage pail, carry them both up to the top of a telephone pole...and then drop them. I felt so bad for the poor little guy. I like these analogies. Interesting facts. I stay up late AND I'm an early riser, but not by choice. My dogs get me up at the crack of dawn! Great job here!

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      Catherine Tally 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      Love it all- great advice and humor, interesting facts about squirrel behavior, and awesome pictures! What a delightful hub :) Thank you!

      Cat

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Nell - I am with you on the night owl thing but I try to do better every now and again. I bet it was a cute sight to see those squirrels messing with that mattress. I bet they thought they hit pay dirt. Thank you for reading and sharing your story. Have a great evening.

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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      This is so clever and brilliant too, and those photos! lol! I never knew a squirrel had an escape hatch so there you go! Great idea to match us with the squirrels and how we should do things. I am a late riser, and stay up till the early hours, I hate mornings I always feel ill if I get up too early, so I cannot be a squirrel! lol! clever little things though. I had a mattress on my balcony to be dumped a couple of years ago, and one day I looked out to see two squirrels pulling out with their teeth the colored innards to make their nest! it was the funniest thing i have ever seen and so darn sweet!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Bill - I'm so glad the squirrels and I could make your day with this. They are great little teachers, albeit a little greedy at the birdfeeder buffet. Many thanks on the encouragement, loyal reading, and sharing. I appreciate your support.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Sunshine625 - I'm so glad you enjoy them as much as I do. Yes, they can get noisy, and just think some of their sounds are inaudible to humans. Those little chatterboxes have a lot to say! Thank you for reading and commenting.

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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi FA. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this hub. A wonderful analogy on life and how we can learn valuable life lessons from the most unlikely of sources. I welcome the squirrels to my yard, as well as the chipmunks, rabbits and other backyard friends.

      You made my day, thank you. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc......

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      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Who would have thought there was so much to learn about squirrels! I have so many squirrels who visit daily. They are cute lil critters, but could also be very loud too with all their chittering. Great article, fun polls! :)

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Heidi, Thanks for reading! I almost put in the list another one, "Look both ways before crossing the street." However, it seems that many squirrels unfortunately don't learn that themselves. I read that they try to zig zag to escape predators, and when they see a car, zig sagging is one strategy that sure doesn't work. Poor little dears.

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      How fun! We've got some pretty ingenious squirrels around us. And they're smart enough and fast enough to elude our dogs. Sure, they get into a lot of mischief, but they're just doing what any animal does, find ways to survive. They do need to watch for speeding cars, though. Their DNA is probably being rewritten for that. Loved the hub and the photos!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Ken Wu - Thank you for reading and commenting, and I am glad you agree. Let's conspire to put your neighbor in a stew, huh?

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Dreamhowl - Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate your reading and voting. Squirrels are awesome little critters.

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      KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Splendid! Love this thorough researched piece. Well, you are totally right that we should learn from this small creature. I've always love them and I really hate it when someone cage them up, 'm talking about my neighbor.

      God bless,

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      PegCole17 - Thank you for visiting. Squirrels are so cute they'd draw anyone in. I hope you enjoy watching them scamper about among the trees as much as I do. They do have much to teach, the little boogers. I can sometimes go through a 40 pound bag of super premium bird food in about a week and a half thanks to my squirrel friends. But everyone has to eat!

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      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      This is great, and offers some wonderful advice about life. Who knew I'd learn it from squirrels? Voted up!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Crafty - Thanks for the kudos. As nutty as they are, I just love the little critters. There is a squirrel nest within sight of my upstairs window and we love watching all their activity.

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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed every written word on this page! Lots of laughs and truth. Thank you for another awesome Hub!

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      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This one drew me in with its cute pictures and unusual analogy. I had to read it. Very enjoyable and insightful.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Martin - Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Squirrels may have small brains, but they are very clever indeed and have a lot to teach!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - Thanks so much for reading and for your encouragement. Squirrels can be pesky but none of us are perfect. I love the little critters. We have a "come one, come all" policy -- just not inside the house.

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, my goodness, what an incredibly delightful and insightful write here to read on this early Sunday morning! Yes, we can certainly learn much from the squirrels to say the least.

      I am going to have to share this information with my neighbor who does have a problem with squirrels getting into her attic. hehehe

      I just love all of the interesting facts and imagery you have included in this piece. Just wonderful!

      Voted up and across and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

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      Martin Kloess 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this very interesting article. I have been more than lucky/blessed.