FunNature & AnimalSquirrels have as many personalities as humans

Squirrels have as many personalities as humans

Squirrels have personalities as varied as humans, according to a new study published in the journal Animal Behavior. This is the first research to document personality in habitually asocial species, which generally avoid social interaction.

The researchers conducted four personality tests on the golden-mantled squirrel ( Callospermophilus lateralis ), a species native to western North America. Data collected over three years showed that individual squirrels “consistently differed” on four main traits: activity, sociability, fearlessness, and aggressiveness. Although they also showed less sociable personality types, such as shyness.

“Taking personality into account in wildlife management can be especially important when predicting wildlife responses to new conditions, such as habitat change or destruction due to human activity,” says Jaclyn Aliperti of the University of California at Davis and labor leader.


How important can this finding be?

In the face of survival it can be crucial. The most daring and aggressive squirrels can find more food or defend a larger territory, but their risky behavior can also make them vulnerable to accidents or being captured by predators, for example.

According to experts, being more sociable could save their lives. It could influence a squirrel’s ability to survive and reproduce. All of this leads to the importance of taking an animal’s personality into account when conserving wildlife.


Referencia: Jaclyn R. Aliperti, Brittany E. Davis, Nann A. Fangue, Anne E. Todgham, Dirk H. Van Vuren, Bridging animal personality with space use and resource use in a free-ranging population of an asocial ground squirrel, Animal Behaviour, 2021, ISSN 0003-3472, DOI:

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