The Wild Untamed Squirrel

When there's no moose, bear, or cougar, what's a wildlife photographer to do? I've taken to photographing squirrels. Yes, that's right: the wild untamed squirrel ...

In folklore, squirrels are known as fuzzy mischief-makers. In fact, one story from the Indigenous American Choctaw, tells of a black squirrel who tried to eat the sun causing the very first solar eclipse. It doesn’t get more mischievous than that.

Squirrel Climbing down a Mulberry Tree Stops to Stare to You

Here in the Eastern United States, we have the gray squirrel. Gray squirrels often forget where they’ve buried their stash of nuts and seeds, and as a result, they are forest regenerators helping with biodiversity.

They are also a messenger archetype, in many folklore stories, because squirrels are masterful problem solvers, even if they can’t remember where they buried their food.

Two Squirrels Sitting in a Tree, one has some leaves in its mouth

Here are the other things about squirrels, they seem to love to pose. I realize that a squirrel stopping, staying very still, and staring at me is probably due to the fact that squirrels are prey animals. They are the potential meal for just about any larger creature, so they are innately alert. They assess with their stillness, watching your every move. And, as a photographer, if you’re eager to start some nature photography, let’s say that they will gladly, even curiously, hang around while you adjust your settings, focus and since they’re not usually afraid of humans, they’ll give you ample opportunity to take lots of endearing photos.

Squirrel Staring over the Fence at the Camera

They are playful little rodents, too. I’ve watched one roll and tumble with a stick under my Weeping Mulberry tree, acting just like a puppy with a new toy; when they're not eating the mulberries, that is.

Gray Squirrel eat a ripe mulberry in the grass under a Weeping Mulberry tree

Squirrels are ideal subjects for photographers just starting out, or a photographer who knows they’ll always get something interesting if they wait long enough.

Gray Squirrel perched in a tree looking attentively at something with lots of greenery

Photo credits: Linda Lombardo.

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July 13, 2020

FabioConcetta

The photos of these cute little friends are fantastic!

July 07, 2020

Rbrucew

Very nice story and great photos. They may look cute but can be very obnoxious. A black squirrel stored its nuts in the roof cavity of our house in the Greek mountains, It would sneak in around 2-3 am and make a horrendous noise. After I sealed up the access to the nut store the squirrel made a point of visiting around the same time each morning for a week or so to hurl abuse at us. 

July 05, 2020

Garnan128

Very nice photos. However, when we moved into town we discovered an unbelievable  number of squirrels scampering around our yard. All was well until, they began to steal vegetables from our garden. I do not kill animals for fun. I was raised to eat what you kill. We ate a lot of squirrel meat that summer. One day, a squirrel was seen jumping from one tree to the next along our fence line. My friend knew about my problem with the pesky squirrels so she suggested I get my pellet gun. I assured her the squirrel would not come onto our property. Sure enough, we watched as the fuzzy-tail squirrel continued on his way just on the other side of our fence; ending up in our other neighbors yard.

July 04, 2020

Oranjeur

Just beautiful!

July 01, 2020

TheSlowWalkers

Well written blog and very nice photos to go along with it.

July 01, 2020

Inyrdreams

Love your squirrel  photos! I have black squirrels and enjoy all the photos I've been shooting.. however my love lately are chipmunks! Long live back yard wildlife

June 30, 2020

Mcardleh

Incredibly clever little beings, and it is amazing I love them as much as I do - great picts!

June 30, 2020

Williamwise1

Yes, very nice and clever writing, just like the squirrels! They are cute little things, but I hate to see them completely empty a bird feeding in a matter of minutes. Those seeds cost a lot of money! Great work. William 

June 30, 2020

Dpbyklum

Fun article.  Good photos.  I too like taking pictures of squirrels - you make a good point that you will always get something quirky.  Too many just pass them off as useless rodents.  However, make them mad and you will be endlessly chided.

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