Our Squirrel Removal Expert Answers: Why Do Squirrels Flick Their Tails?

Aggressive squirrel on a tree trunk looking towards camera

Squirrels have bushy tails that are often longer than their bodies. Their tails serve many functions, including helping them to balance as they perform quick maneuvers on tree branches and power lines as well as keeping them warm in the winter when they hunker down in their dens.

Squirrels also use their tails to communicate, particularly when they’re standing still or sitting on their back legs. The squirrel removal expert at Animal Remover answers the question, “Why do squirrels flick their tails?”

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Squirrels Flick Their Tails to Communicate

Squirrels generally don’t make much noise. You might hear them making a chittering noise, or you could hear a grinding noise as they munch on nuts. 

Squirrels flick their tails to communicate with each other. Squirrel removal experts can look at a squirrel’s flicking tail to ascertain how it’s feeling or what it might do next. 

Warning Other Squirrels

Squirrels that rapidly flick their tails may be warning other squirrels of various things. There might be a predator nearby, like a snake, that’s standing still and not moving. A squirrel with a nut in its mouth would flick its tail to warn other squirrels to stay away from its food. No matter the warning, a rapidly moving tail for a squirrel indicates that it’s trying to warn others of its species to stay away. Our squirrel removal expert has seen this many times.

Startled or Alarmed

Squirrels flick their tails when they’re startled or alarmed, whether they’re communicating with another squirrel or not. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, humans, and other creatures can cause a squirrel to go into a panic. Flicking a tail indicates to the predator that the squirrel sees it and will flee if the predator gets closer. This motion also shunts heat from a squirrel’s body to try to fool the heat-sensing capabilities of a snake.

A mother squirrel will flick their tails as a response to an animal or human getting too close to her babies. We’ll see this behavior when we remove squirrels from attics as part of squirrel removal.

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Mating Season

Mating season represents a third time when you might see a squirrel flick its tail. If you see a tail trembling or shivering, a male squirrel is using this technique to try to attract a mate. It’s almost like a dance. You might see a squirrel shiver his tail, then move slowly towards his potential partner, then quiver the tail again before moving a bit closer. Our squirrel removal expert sees this behavior from late February into early May in the tri-state area.    

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Got Squirrels? We’re Squirrel Removal Experts!

Squirrels might invade your home at any time, but particularly in the fall as they look for a warm place to live and raise babies in the spring. They might crawl into your attic or chimney, where they’re protected from the wind and snow. Contact Animal Remover or call 513-324-WILD (9453) for more information. We have two offices, one in Cincinnati and one in Dayton.