A Squirrel’s Tail Tells a Tale – Our Mississippi Home

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by Mark W. LaSalle, Ph.D., Our Mississippi Home

For me, watching squirrels is a form of cheap entertainment. Their actions range from scurrying about as fast as they can, to lounging about on a limb, taking a nap. They can also vocalize using more than one type of call, some that are hard to ignore. Of course, as with most animals, these visual and auditory signals are meant to communicate, if we know the language.

A squirrel’s tail is its most useful form of visual communication and has been studied for several species, including our common Eastern Gray Squirrels. Their tails are, after all, prominent parts of their anatomy, so this is no surprise. Of the two main types of movements, tail flagging is the most dramatic, involving long, arching sweeps of the tail, often rapidly and vigorously. These movements are a response to a…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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