Why Do Squirrels Put Their Paw On Their Chest?

When I was a little kid, we used to feed the neighborhood squirrels all the time. (Short story: My mother used to get raw peanuts, since roasted, salted ones might make the squirrels sick, she reasoned.) Anyways, the squirrels would come up to me, and pause. Clearly they were begging.

But there’s one other weird thing they used to do. They would put their paw on their chest, too–like they were entreating me for mercy, like a human would!

Was I just imagining things? Or do squirrels put their paw on their chest, like a human would, to beg?

(Quick side note: You know, about ten years ago, I did a thread here about whether animals have a sense of humor. And I think the general consensus was they do. So don’t be too quick to dismiss the possibility either;).)

I await your replies:).

Scared - not begging.

They’re striking the Napoleon pose.

I’ve seen them do this, when they’re just hanging out in my garden, chilling out, no predators around.
I googled it, the first hit is this thread, the second
He’s been told it’s their relaxed position, so…

The American ones are pledging allegiance (patriotic little buggers). The French ones are surrendering.

They’re showing you where to aim.

Bird feeders. Sorry.

Shout out to the homeboys.

I’ve had squirrels come up to me in parks (in Florida, in particular) and when I didn’t have anything for them to eat (not that I would feed them), would run up my jeans–like something out of “Willard”; two or three at a time–and jacket and try to crawl out on my arm, cuz that’s where the food is, natch. Meanwhile, I’m thinking


Redd Foxx impersonators.

Just in case you’re not joking,

“Small rodents (such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and chipmunks, ) and lagomorphs (such as rabbits and hares) are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States.”

Bats can have rabies though. Are they not small rodents?

Bats are not rodents. They are classified as ‘chiroptera’, a separate category.

Nope, wasn’t joking, but that’s good to know, thanks.

When I was a tot, my mother and the neighbor lady were accosted by a squirrel and they called the police who came out and shot the squirrel (I saw none of this). Cop said rabid (grain-of-salt time). :dubious:

Dramatic paws

Because they don’t have paw-kets.

True, but they’re all the more important category of “mammal,” and AFAIK all mammals can get rabies.

What the hell? Did it snatch their purses?

Mom’s right about salted peanuts. Squirrel kidneys are not designed to deal with any more salt than they get in their normal, wild diet, which is nearly none. But they love it and will gorge on salty food, very much to their detriment. When we get an infestation Wife mixes peanut butter and salt to the consistency of Play Doh, adds Cheetos* to make it extra tempting, then hangs it from their favorite tree. In their latest orgy of death they got so enthusiastic they knocked the bowl out of its holder, then got on the ground to lick it clean. Then they died, and crows cleaned up the mess.

The best part of this is that the other vertebrates likely to taste it are children and birds and they find it too salty. You only poison your intended victims.

    • She’s on dialysis, so why did she buy a bucket of cheese balls when all she needed was a few? And what happened to the rest of them? All I can see is an empty container. :dubious:

No, it flashed them. :slight_smile:

“Attacked” would have been melodramatic. What I was told: neighbor lady was hanging up laundry, my mom was talking to her, this squirrel comes running down a tree right up to them and starts “acting weird.” That’s all the info I got and I would have thought it funny, if the cop hadn’t come to scrag the fur ball. :eek:

When a human begs they have their hands together.
When a dog stands on it’s hind legs they often have their front legs bent and paws hanging forward.
It was pointed out to me by Squink in another thread how squirrels have super flexible ankles, so it’s much easier for them to turn their paws inward to rest on their chests.

I notice if I assume the unnatural position of bending over to look at something on the ground I want to bend my arms, often putting them on my thighs. I don’t think keeping them stretched out would be comfortable for as long.

It’s been over 24 hours. The tension is palpable.,

because they’ve stopped to think “did I leave the gas on? Oh, of course not, I’m a fucking squirrel!”