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Do Squirrels Bury Their Dead? 3 Facts You Should Know

Do squirrels bury their dead? If they don’t, why is it difficult to come across a squirrel’s carcass in the forest or neighborhood? Let’s find out together.

Have you ever come across a dead squirrel? That may make you question if squirrels bury their dead? I mean, if you or your friends have never encountered the carcass of a squirrel, you will wonder why.

How would you ever fail to see a dead squirrel yet they are your backyard neighbors? The question may look obvious, yet many people will not have a correct answer to it. After understanding why, it will make perfect sense.

Once you keep reading this article, you will have all these questions answered. The article is going to explore the right questions regarding this topic so that all is clear. Continue reading, for you will also have more knowledge to share.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. Linda. Read more about our knowledge control process here.

Which Animals Bury Their Dead?

Have you heard of animals burying their dead? Do you know of any specific animal that buries its dead? Most people may not know this, but many animals do proceed to bury their dead.

Three animals have been observed burying their dead. Elephants, chimpanzees, and magpies are three animals that bury their dead. The burying is, however, not as complex as that of humans. But it is still counts as burying. 

These three animals: Elephants, chimpanzees, and magpies have been observed in the wild not to only bury their dead but also mourn over them. This behavior is why scientists believed that humans evolve from them. [source: Real Wild]

The burying happens because the animals named above are intelligent. Most of us tend to assume that human beings are the only intelligent animals in the world. However, when you look at elephants, you may want to change your mind. 

Elephants are so intelligent that they exhibit emotions. If an elephant belonging to a given herd died, the elephants would mourn. That means the elephants will examine the dead body and stay with it for days or even weeks.

Once that is done, the elephants will cover the dead body with leaves and grass. The same is also done by magpies which cover the corpse of a dead body with grass. Don’t be taken by surprise to hear this. It does happen.

Do Squirrels Bury Their Dead?

Now that there are animals that bury their dead, do squirrels also engage in the same practice? Squirrels do bury nuts and vegetables for future use, but they do not bury their dead

Squirrels are known to be intelligent as well as having a good memory. Did you know that squirrels can remember humans? That has been proven through the trust squirrels give someone who has proven to be risk-free before.

Squirrels can trust a person who fed it before because they have an excellent memory. However, this intelligence does not mean they are capable of burying their dead. Why are you not able to see a dead squirrel?

It is rare to come across a dead squirrel. The reason for this is pretty simple; squirrels have many predators. That means that if a squirrel were to die, its body would be eaten within no time.

Hawks, weasels, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and badgers are some of the squirrel’s predators. With such a long list of predators, it would be hard to find a dead squirrel as it would be eaten shortly after death.

do squirrels bury their dead, no it's usually eaten up
It takes no time for a dead squirrel to be eaten up by other animals once it drops dead.

What Do Squirrels Do With Their Dead?

After learning that squirrels never bury their dead, it can be interesting to understand what they do with their dead. What happens when a squirrel dies next to another squirrel? Typically, the squirrel will leave the dead body.

With plenty of predators within the environment, it is a sure bet that the body will not be there for long as it will be eaten. Dead baby squirrels would also get thrown out of the drey.

Anyway, the situation can be different if the circumstances change in the environment. Ground squirrels have been observed to feast on dead squirrel bodies. How and why would such an adorable creature as a squirrel do that?

The answer is no surprise. Squirrels are naturally opportunistic. That means that a squirrel will turn to whatever is available in the environment. Squirrels prefer eating plant-based foods but will not hesitate to eat meat if necessary.

Therefore, you should not be in shock to see a squirrel eating a dead squirrel since that is the only food available to them. That also explains why squirrels are present in rubbish cans trying to salvage what they can.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, squirrels do not bury their dead. Burying the dead is only carried by three groups of animals: elephants, chimpanzees, and magpies. The said animals also display grief when one of them dies.

The burying process is not as complex as that of humans, but it counts. Squirrels, though intelligent animals, do not exhibit such behavior. The behavior of burying is observed perfectly in elephants that have a sensitive nature.

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