At least not in the same way we use the human word to describe someone who is acting unpredictable. Which is one of my favorite (?) pet peeves: using our names for Animals in a derogatory manner. Maybe it’s their fast movements that appear abrupt to us at times is why we created the word. As with most things in Nature, the truth about squirrels’ smarts are way down on the list we think of first.
My very own recent squirrel encounter was over a dispute about the bird feeder on my back porch. And who exactly the “birdseed” was supposed to feed. An assertive guy, this squirrel would stand on his hind legs to get to the prized ingredient – sunflower seeds. Which kept away the birds whom I adore and attracted what looked to be a large (hopefully domestic) rat. Eeeks! The whole video is on my Instagram feed in case you’re curious – @lizanneflynn.
We tend not to have a very high opinion of squirrels and I once lived next door to a man who would shoot them and nail their tails to his garage wall. Pretty gruesome stuff. Needless to say, he considered them pests and wanted their kind wiped from at the very least his yard. Other responses to squirrels depend upon which being you’re asking, of course. Some dogs might say “ooooh, there’s nothing better than a good squirrel chase!” And cats might chime in with – “yum – lunch!” Our species collective opinion can range from delight to disgust and yet as with most Animals on the planet we’re subject to our own experience with them which has nothing to do with them at all!
A recent study by a psychologist at the UC at Berkeley researched how squirrels on campus handle their food source – namely nuts – and whether that was affected by their environment, the time of year etc. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uc-berkeley-squirrels-20170326-story.html
Not surprisingly, squirrels are proving to be about the kind and type of nut, whether it needed to be eaten immediately or could be cached for further use. The researcher also found that squirrels whose nut stashes were pilfered may have shorter term memories than those who successfully guard their cache from season to season. This is all from the vantage point of scientific observation, of course, and what is being seen about Squirrel’s actions and which is not a complete picture.
Reaching out to Squirrel telepathically here’s what comes through: “Not all nuts are created equal. In order to feed ourselves throughout a long winter we depend upon our ability to sense both the availability in a given area of hard and soft nuts. When we hold the food source its energy comes through and tells us everything we need to know. In this way we are one together and we are always grateful for whatever Earth has to offer us.” Very smart, indeed. Would that humans were more squirrely in our relationship with Earth, her bounty like Squirrel. We’ve got a lot to learn and not much time left.