Many people consider squirrels innocent due to their small body size, but it is essential to control their increasing population; otherwise, they can take over the world.
Can Squirrels Take Over The World? Squirrels can take over the world due to their high adaptability, high reproduction rate, hundreds of species, and less fear of humans. However, a few things stop them from doing so, like resource competition, predators, human activities, lack of coordination and cognitive abilities, and susceptibility to diseases.
It is difficult to imagine how the world would look if squirrels took over globally because these are considered nuisance pests for homeowners.
They can destroy lawns and cause damage to properties by chewing the plants and wires. They can also attack pet food and reach bird feeders by climbing the poles and trees.
How can squirrels take over the world?
It seems foolish to think of squirrels taking over the world because they are small furry animals ranging in size between 10 to 20 inches.
However, a few of their characteristics support them if they make collective efforts to rule over other creatures sharing this planet.
They can survive under different environmental conditions by changing their behavior to ensure survival.
You can see them living on trees in forests, and a few wild species build their dens in open fields. They also build nests in high treetops and dense woodlands to avoid the ground predators.
They can also build underground nests by burrowing deeper into the soil in parks and pastures. In addition, they can also live above the ground in urban areas or suburban areas.
Moreover, they can easily survive in a new habitat if their old habitat does not provide enough food resources and water reserves to fulfill their needs.
Flying and tree squirrels usually prefer to live in trees, and ground squirrels choose grassy habitats to spend their lifespan.
They are aggressive animals, and a few species have a territorial nature and do not tolerate any kind of interference in their nests or territories.
Red squirrels are highly territorial and aggressive species that can get humans into trouble if their population increases in an uncontrollable manner.
The aggressive species can bite you if they feel a threat from humans, so many of these animals can cause painful bites to show their aggression.
Their increased population can defeat other creatures using their biting skills and causing injuries to humans and other living organisms collectively.
Less fear of humans
They have lost the fear of humans and keep running around humans, or even they can get closer to get food from a picnic basket next to you.
You can see them rushing towards food on the beach without any fear of attacks from humans. They can quickly hide by climbing the trees or blending with the environment to camouflage.
Moreover, some people offer food to squirrels and develop a friendly relationship, which leads to the loss of fear of humans among these furry animals.
This food availability allows their population to grow rapidly, which can pose a threat to humans in the future if they plan to rule over the world.
High rate of reproduction
They have a high reproduction rate because females can produce two liters in one year and have two breeding periods annually.
She produces her first litter from March to April, and each litter contains 3 to 5 babies on average, while its size can increase to 8 or 9 babies if the conditions are favorable for them.
In the same way, the females produce a second litter in July and August that also contains 2 to 9 babies, but commonly 3 to 5 babies are in one litter.
It means they can produce almost 6 to 10 babies in one year, which is a higher rate of increasing population than humans and other mammals.
So, their reproductive abilities make them powerful creatures on the planet that can take over globally if they think and plan to do so.
Hundreds of species
Almost 150 to 200 species of squirrels are commonly distributed throughout the world in varying habitats. Almost every continent contains squirrels except Antarctica and Australia.
It is not possible to correctly estimate their population worldwide, but there are tens of millions of squirrels, according to a rough estimation.
Due to differences in appearance and behavioral characteristics, they are classified into three broad categories, including tree, ground, and flying squirrels.
In addition, you can see hundreds of species, like grey, red, fox, Japanese, Mexican grey, giant, and variegated squirrels, that fall into these three broad categories.
Many other species of these furry animals also exist in nature that can take over this planet and humans if their population gets twice or three times the human population.
What stops squirrels from taking over the world?
Squirrels cannot take over the world for some reasons instead of their high reproductive rate and adaptability to survive in challenging conditions.
Competition for resources
They have to compete for resources like other organisms on this planet due to limited supplies of food and space. Many other omnivorous creatures eat plant and animal-based food like them.
You can see them competing with living organisms from the same or different species, looking for the same resources because access to food is essential for survival.
The grey squirrel usually fights with red ones or even woodpeckers for food resources. In the same way, they have to compete for space as many other organisms live on trees and ground.
So, it is one of the major obstacles stopping them from dominating the world. They can only take over the world when there is no competition and they get abundant food for energy.
Presence of natural predators
There is a risk to squirrel’s survival from natural predators, like foxes, snakes, cats, coyotes, and raccoons, that can easily capture and kill these small rodents.
In addition, some birds, like falcons, owls, hawks, etc., can also attack these animals and decrease their population size. Urban species usually have more threats from pet dogs, cats, and humans.
Their population is at risk of birds and animal predators, which keep their population under control. These predators restrict them from invading the world by killing a few of them for food.
Lack of cognitive abilities
They are considered intelligent for their quick decisions to leave the spot whenever they detect a threat and show some ability to solve problems.
They have wonderful memories and can remember faces or other visuals for almost 2 years. Moreover, they can detect scents and sounds and use their abilities for communication.
However, they lack the cognitive abilities to do complex tasks like coordinating to take control of the whole world. They cannot think creatively and rely on their basic senses or past experiences.
They need to think creatively for a global takeover, but they do not have master minds to plan a strategy and coordinate all their fellows to work on a common goal.
Susceptibility to disease
They have lesser immunity against these pathogenic microorganisms. They can get sick and die when microbes attack their bodies.
One of the common viruses attacking these small rodents is the pox virus, which seems fatal to red squirrels. Other species, like grey squirrels, can only get moderate infections after infection.
So, they are not completely immune to diseases, and their population gets highly affected after a disease outbreak due to a lack of resistance.
Impact of human activities
Humans are considered to be predators of squirrels as they destroy their habitats. They build traps or use poison to get rid of these animals from gardens if they cause damage to plants and property.
A few people shoot these innocent-looking creatures for hunting purposes or fun, while others use them for their soft fur or food.
Accordingly, such activities affect the overall size of their population and stop them from invading globally.