Tree squirrels are amazing acrobats. They fearlessly climb out onto the tips of branches to reach seeds or take fearless leaps between limbs. They chase each other up, down, and all around the trunk of trees with speed and agility. Their lives seem to involve a great amount of risk or chance.
Not to worry, squirrels have the body mechanics and dexterity to live a life in the trees. To hold on to the tree, they have sharp, curved claws that help them grip the bark. To climb and leap between branches, they have powerful muscles in their hind legs. They are noticeably bulging in the photo as it supports its body facing down the tree. This brings me to what inspired me to write this post. To be able to descend head first down a tree, a squirrel’s back ankles can rotate a full 180 degrees! In the photo, you can see them swiveled back as it hangs on the tree.
It is safe to say that they are at home up in the trees and have a great ability in navigating their world. They have immense knowledge of the forest in how the branches grow and weave together. They must create intricate mental maps of the canopy which is a complex maze of roads leading to food, safety, and shelter. Squirrels are such fascinating creatures to wonder about and observe.
Nature is an inexhaustible source of wonder. I look forward to seeing you out there.
Brookshire, Bethany. “Do the Twist, The Science behind Death-Defying Acrobatics of the Average Squirrel.” Sierra, no. Spring, 2023, pp. 54–55.