So, listen — some people love squirrels, and some people hate them. Personally, I love them — they’re fuzzy, and they stay out of my way. And based on some recent studies, it seems like male squirrels serve the same function around female squirrels as they do with humans — they stay away.
As it turns out, male squirrels really don’t add anything to squirrel relationships. A study performed by Northern Arizona University revealed that when it came to separating out “housework” in the squirrel family, the males pretty much sat around and let the women do all the work. Their punishment? Well, their lazy attitude is part of the reason why they’re way more likely to be eaten by predators.
The 50 tagged Alaskan squirrels helped researchers realize that generally, the males are a bit more exposed. While they’re above ground more often than females (who are underground helping care for their young) they don’t get much work done while they’re up there. In fact, even though the women who were studied spent approximately three to six hours less time above ground, they still got more work done and foraged for way more food while they were up there. The ladies? Multi-tasking all stars. The guys? Who knows.
Even worse, this study has been ongoing for about two years, so it’s not like one deadbeat squirrel helped ruined the reporting for everyone else. This is simply the way it is in the squirrel community.
So, next time you see a squirrel outside, maybe “stop loafing!” is a better phrase to toss out than “get out of the way!” I mean, these male squirrels need all the encouragement they can get.