What Do Squirrels Sound Like And Why They Do It

Have you ever wondered “what do squirrels sound like?” I was sitting on my back porch the other day and I saw some grey squirrels eating and making some weird noises while they were eating. I’ve done my research on the types of sounds they make and what they mean.

What Do Squirrels Sound Like?

There are several different types of squirrel noises, such as squirrels in the attics, walls which consist of scratching noises. However, out in the wild, the most common types of squirrel sounds include chattering, whistling, buzzing, stomping their feet when there is danger nearby, and moans which are reserved for mating calls.

Let’s Look At Some Squirrel Types

With over 200 different species of squirrel, each one has their own ways of communicating with each other. They communicate with several vocalizations and their tail position. Squirrel sounds will vary depending on the type of squirrel and what they are trying to communicate.

Why Do Squirrels Make Noise?

As I mentioned above, they communicate with their tails and their chatter. Sometimes it can sound like they are scolding us or the dog, most of them are used as alarm signals to warn off a predator and let other squirrels know about the danger.

Just like you and I talk to communicate our needs, wants and desire. Squirrels use noises to communicate and have conversations with each other.

Young squirrels will make a muffled sort of call when they are asking their mother for food.

Males will use a similar call when they are looking for a mate, he’s trying to communicate he’s NOT dangerous just looking for love.

The signals and sounds will vary among the different species of squirrels.

What Sound Does A Squirrel Make?

Let’s take a look at some common sounds that a squirrel makes out in the wild. It’s pretty amazing when you start understanding these cute bushy-tailed critters.

While you may NOT still be able to speak squirrel, you’ll at least be able to understand what they are saying in your backyard.

Kuk – It’s a sharp bark that is issued in a series: kuk kuk kuk! (danger call)

Quaa – This is kind of sounds like a screeching cat. Means that the predator is still nearby, but it’s now in the process of moving away.

Quaa Moan – Sounds like a chirp that is followed by a meow. This call lets other squirrels know that they can’t see the predator anymore. Their main predators are aerial predators, such as hawks and terrestrial predators which consist of domesticated cats.

Muk-muk – Kind of sounds like a sneeze; phfft, phfft. It’s sometimes referred to as a buzz and is only 20 decibels. Nesting squirrels use this sound to communicate they are hungry.

However, the male squirrels also use this sound during the mating season. They make the muk-muk sound when they are chasing a female, it’s their way of saying I am interested in you, but I don’t pose a threat.

Now let’s take a look at what some of the types of squirrels look like in the wild.

Fox Squirrel Sounds

Fox Squirrels can be seen chirping and whistling in trees or in their dens. They are extremely boisterous during the day. Watch this video to hear a barking fox squirrel sound.


 
If you didn’t know that these critters don’t carry rabies, you might think that they could hurt you.

Grey Squirrel Sounds

Grey squirrels have several different ranges of vocalizations which includes squeaking, bark-like grunts. Their vocal and tail signals have different meanings, depending on how they are being used.


 
In the video above, it sounds like they are really enjoying the food they are eating. However, these rodents are smart and are always aware of their surroundings. The sounds they make are hilarious and adorable, and if you feed them at a feeder, you know what I’m talking about.

Grey squirrels also make a whining sound, which kind of sounds like they are crying. Some people call it a scream, but this gray squirrel noise is a high-pitched that humans can’t hear it.

Flying Squirrel Sounds

Flying squirrels communicate with each other by emitting a high-pitched sound. The sound of the pitch and the length will vary depending on the moods and needs. These pitches are too high in frequency and cannot be heard by humans.


 
This is a pet flying squirrel that is making chirping noises. If you’re keeping a squirrel as a pet, they will still make the sound squirrels make in the wild. After all, they are still wild animals.

Red Squirrel Sounds

Red squirrels make all kinds of noises as well, the calls they make will depend on what they are trying to communicate. A mother red squirrel will give off an alarming call followed by a barking call if her nest is discovered by a predator.

Watch the video below to see the red squirrel trying to scare predators away from her babies.


 
Red squirrels are very territorial. When their territory has encroached, they become very vocal by making a ruckus of chatterings and trills.

Ground Squirrel Sounds

Ground squirrels have some of the most varied sounds in the rodent family. Unlike tree squirrels, this species will emit sounds even when there is NO danger present. They rarely make the same consistent call.

When they are alarmed, they will let out a sharp, metallic-sounding chirp. The chirps are repeated in quick succession as they leap for their burrows. Once they reach their burrow, they will continue making low clicking sounds, until the danger disappears.


 
They will usually stand on their hind legs when they are sounding off their warning calls.

Bottom Line

If you’ve ever wondered “do squirrels make noise and why” you can see that they do. A squirrel making noises is just a way of them communicating with each other.

The sounds of a squirrel will vary depending on what they are trying to communicate. If you hear the squirrel bark sound in your backyard, you’ll understand that they are probably NOT barking at you.

References and Further Reading

The Washington Post – Learn to Speak Squirrel In Four Easy Lessons

Mercury News – Why Is That Squirrel Squawking At Me? Deciphering The Chatter

Wired – Squirrel Alarm Calls Are Surprisingly Complex

eHow – How to Recognize The Ground Squirrel Sounds

 

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