Družabnejše veverice imajo večjo verjetnost preživetja in razmnoževanja. Foto: Gunnsteinn Jonsson/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
Družabnejše veverice imajo večjo verjetnost preživetja in razmnoževanja. Foto: Gunnsteinn Jonsson/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Some squirrels are braver than others

You may know that our personality traits, such as sociability, liveliness, or courage, influence the choice of profession, friends, and hobbies.

Interestingly, animals also have a personality.

Her research has only begun to develop recently, as it is very demanding. In addition, scientists tend to monitor animals as a community and rarely focus on individual specimens.

Different organisms have a personality: fish, birds, rodents, spiders, lizards. More and more research shows that most animals probably have one, even though we thought it was just a characteristic of humans.

A study was recently published where scientists monitored the behaviour of squirrels living in Colorado, USA for three years.

In doing so, they studied four traits: courage, aggression, liveliness, and sociability.

The squirrels were placed in a box with holes and monitored for their behaviour in the new environment. They also did a test with a mirror to find out how the squirrel responds to its reflection.

They tested courage by approaching one in nature and watching when it would escape. They also observed the behaviour in a trap – they caught one for a short time, observed it and then released it.

Tests have shown that braver squirrels move over larger territories and faster. Thus, they found that courage and activity are related.

Moreover, more social squirrels are said to be more likely to survive and reproduce, although the squirrels studied have in principle been considered a less social species.

»Consideration of personality can be especially important in protecting species, as it can help us predict the response of animals to new living conditions, such as habitat change or destruction,« says Dr. Jaclyn Aliperti, Head of Research.

Points To Consider

  1. Is personality important in making friends?
  2. Do you know any other animal with a personality?
  3. To which group of animals do we classify squirrels?


The original version of this article was published on November 22nd.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


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