It’s easy to dismiss animals as unthinking creatures. Without the ability to use language, they seem to some like mindless beasts, automatically moving through the process of survival and reproduction like organic robots.
Of course, we know this isn’t the case with all animals, especially ones that have captured the public’s love like chimpanzees, dogs and cats. These animals show evidence in their behaviour of loyalty, imagination, and yes, grief. Elephants are even thought to cry when they lose a friend.
Which makes this video all the more moving. There’s no way to tell what is motivating this determined squirrel to protect the dead body of its mate from hungry crows, but it certainly looks like the irrational actions of a grieving partner.
Cast as the villains in this video, crows have also demonstrated extremely sophisticated logic capability. They are able to solve complex spatial problems, and even capable of “play” behaviour, such as this video of a crow sliding down a roof on a makeshift sled. But in this case, they are looking for an easy meal, and the surviving squirrel is having none of it.
What’s your opinion? Is this squirrel acting out of grief, or is there some other reason it is risking its life to guard its lifeless mate in the middle of a road? We’d love to hear your thoughts!