Sep 06 2009

The loudest animal in the Maine woods

Published by at 7:35 am under Mammals

Red Squirrel (photo by Chuck Tague)

September isn't the best time of year to hear wildlife.  The birds have stopped singing and a lot of animals are quiet as they prepare for winter.

Not this guy, though.  He's as loud as can be when he's worried and my presence in his woods worries him.

I'm out on a peaceful hike.  There's no noise in the woods.  I'm looking at the ground, watching my step over roots and rocks when, Yikes!   A red squirrel shouts right above me and I nearly jump out of my skin.  As soon as he's startled me, he subsides into a long, scolding chatter.   He flicks his tail and stamps his feet.  He is mad!

Red squirrels are highly territorial - even aggressive.  They scold other red squirrels just as much as they scold me.  I've even heard one scold a goshawk - a dangerous feat if there ever was one!  I'm not sure what advantage it gives these guys to be noisy around danger, but maybe they just have so much attitude that they don't know how to shut it off.

This red squirrel sure "got" me.  He had my heart pounding until I figured out what he was.  There might be a louder animal in Maine at another time of year but for an all-around noisy, brash animal you can't beat this tyke.  I give him the Loudest Animal award.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “The loudest animal in the Maine woods”

  1. Kristenon 06 Sep 2009 at 5:28 pm

    When I was growing up in IL, we had only red squirrels. (Now they have some black and gray ones in the area.) I was used to the noise, throwing of hickory nut shells and other such antics. When I first moved here I was startled at how relatively mild mannered all the gray squirrels in Pittsburgh were in comparison. I’ve now been here long enough that when I go home the red squirrels can make me jump when they start in!

  2. Lorraineon 11 Sep 2009 at 12:57 pm

    All our squirrels here in western PA are gray squirrels. They empty our large bird feeder in about an hour. We are Lowes best customers buying bird seed in 40 pound sacks several times a month. However, we have one gray squirrel who has a red tail. It is actually red. Wonder what happened?

  3. g clarkon 14 Oct 2013 at 4:21 pm

    did you know that there are red squirrels in homewood cemetery? actually quite a bunch
    and they are very aggressive!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 14 Oct 2013 at 4:49 pm

    g. clark, I didn’t know they were so close by. I’ll have to check them out some day soon.

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