Squirrels are instantly recognizable for their energetic exuberance and their trademark bushy tails. These tree-dwelling rodents are often the subject of frustration due to their mischievous behaviors. In spite of this, squirrels are often beloved; their sneakier qualities are usually forgiven thanks to their adorable charm and joyful presence.
Like all animals, squirrels have the ability to bring wisdom into our lives, if only we pay enough attention to their guidance. Squirrels remind us of the importance of fun and play. They teach us that growth and personal development is as much a result of the work we put in as it is a result of the laughter that we share.
In this guide, we will study the spiritual wisdom of the squirrel, as well as its role in the mythologies and traditions of a number of different cultures worldwide!
Table of contents
- Squirrel Symbolism and Meaning
- Squirrel Native American Symbolism
- Squirrel Christianity Symbolism
- Squirrel Celtic Symbolism
- Squirrel in Dreams
- Squirrel Encounters and Omens
- Squirrel Mythology and Folklore
- Squirrel Spirit Animal
- Squirrel Totem Animal
- Squirrel Power Animal
- Squirrel Tattoo Meaning
Squirrel Symbolism and Meaning
In some cultures, the squirrel is a sacred animal. It is sometimes connected with various gods, especially those associated with powerful forces of nature. In some cases, the squirrel was the emblem of the thunder god and lived at the top of the “world tree.” (1) By the Middle Ages, however, religious associations with the squirrel had shifted from sacred to sinister. The fiery red color of the red squirrel, as well as its trickster behavior connected this rodent with the devil himself. (2)
Nowadays, the symbolism of the squirrel is usually a bit more mundane than their previous sacred status or devilish reputation. Squirrels are often used to represent preparedness. The ways in which squirrels store food ahead of less plentiful seasons is connected to the importance of saving and investing in the future. Squirrels teach us the value of saving up for a rainy day!
For this reason, squirrels can be connected with prudence, sound financial decision making, security, industriousness, and patience.
Squirrels are also known for their energy and playfulness. They are often seen scurrying up and down the trunks of trees chasing and squabbling with playmates and rivals. For this reason, squirrels can be connected to light-heartedness, fun, friendship, laughter, and mischief. Squirrels are reminders that being productive and prepared is important, but that having fun and letting loose is important too!
All in all, squirrels represent the importance of priorities. When necessary, squirrels prepare for the future and get their work done with energy and vigor. However, these magnificent creatures also know not to take life too seriously. We only get one life. As much as we must make the most of our lives, the squirrel reminds us that we should also savor and enjoy our time whenever we can.
Related: 5 Best Squirrel Feeders That Actually Work (Keep ’em Away from Bird Feeders)
Squirrel Native American Symbolism
As per Native American symbolism, the squirrel represents a storehouse of energy. It is always gathering and building up stores, which means preparing for the future. It also hides its food in different places, a sign the Native cultures connected with craftiness.
Native American cultures have many stories about chipmunks and squirrels. One such story explains how the chipmunk got its trademark stripes down its back. (3) According to this tale, the once plain chipmunk teased a ferocious bear. When the bear clawed the chipmunk, it gained permanent stripes upon its back.
The Choctaws believed the black squirrel to be linked to the solar eclipse. (4) According to Choctaw legend, the black squirrel is a negative omen whose presence brings harm to mankind.
Native American cultures who interacted with flying squirrels noted that these elusive mammals are nocturnal and glide through the trees at night. Because of this, Native American traditions associate the flying squirrel with dreams.
Squirrel Christianity Symbolism
One of the primary lessons that is taught by the squirrel is to work hard and save for the future. There is no mention of the squirrel in the Bible, but Christian teachings do put a lot of emphasis on hard work and industriousness.
For example, in Thessalonians 3:6: “In the Name of Lord Jesus, we command you brothers to keep away from a brother who does not work and sits idle. We were not idle when we were with you. Nor did we eat anyone’s food.” (5)
This passage demonstrates how strongly the Bible recommends a good work ethic.
For people who follow the Christian faith, the squirrel can serve as a source of wisdom and inspiration. The squirrel reminds us to work hard, of course. However, this exuberant mammal also teaches us to find joy and energy in our work. Allow duty to invigorate you and do everything with pride and enthusiasm. Once the work is done, the squirrel reminds us to rejoice in the freedom that we have earned through laughter and play.
Squirrel Celtic Symbolism
In Celtic mythology, the squirrel is associated with the untamed chaos of nature. The rugged beauty of the seasons and the wild might of the elements are embodied by the mischief of this tree-dwelling rodent.
In Celtic Mythology, the squirrel is closely linked to the war Goddess Queen Medb. (6) She is sometimes depicted with a bird and a squirrel on her shoulder, representing messengers of the earth and sky. Medb also uses other animal totems, including the crow, raven, and blackbird. Medb is a deity associated with war, chaos, femininity, and pride. The squirrel’s quick-footedness and incessant chattering make this animal an ideal messenger for Medb.
Medb is the antagonist in the myth of the hero Cuchulainn, who goes on to kill Medb’s pet dog, bird, and squirrel. Medb herself has a narrow escape when one of her serving maids wears her headdress and is killed by Cuchulainn’s sling.
The squirrel can thus be considered as the beloved rodent in the Northern Hemisphere. The Celts also were grateful for this animal since its fur and meat provided them with warmth and food in cold and dark winters.
The habit of hoarding nuts made the squirrels a symbol of avarice in some medieval bestiaries, but other European cultures praised the animal for its thriftiness.
Squirrel in Dreams
In dreams, squirrels can represent playfulness, abundance, fun, greed, mischief, and lightness. Dreaming of a squirrel is a surefire sign that this creature has guidance in store for you. Squirrels in dreams often indicate a need to focus on the task at hand. Additionally, squirrels in dreams may mean that hard times are coming and you must prepare. Fortunately, the squirrel who prepares for the hard times is able to find joy and peace throughout!
A squirrel can also indicate frivolousness. If you are dreaming of squirrels, try to assess whether your priorities make sense. Be sure not to lose sight of what’s really important to you.
Dreaming of watching a squirrel eating can represent domestic joy. Dreaming of capturing a squirrel can mean danger. Simply dreaming of a squirrel chasing other squirrels or jumping up and down a tree may mean that you are burnt out and crave socialization or meaningless fun.
Seeing many squirrels in your dreams indicates that you will soon meet friends and have a fun gathering. It can also indicate successful investments, a time of abundance, and advancement in business.
If you have been working towards a particular goal, or even multiple projects and feel that everything you are doing is futile, then the squirrel dream indicates that you should persist and that you will reap the rewards with time and patience.
Squirrel encounters and omens
Squirrels are common animals which hold a great deal of significance within a number of traditions. When we see squirrels, it is an opportunity to appreciate their virtues and learn from the wisdom that they have to share with us. Squirrel symbolism is tied to energy and balance. Squirrels are uniquely capable of applying their energy to both hard work and care-free fun.
If you see squirrels often, it may be a sign that you need to relax and take life less seriously. Alternatively, it can be a warning against procrastination. Squirrels know that fun must come after the work is done.
A flying squirrel encounter is a sign that you need to improve your trust in others and in yourself. Try taking a leap of faith once in a while. It is the only way to learn how to fly.
When a human crosses a squirrel’s path, they might show their irritation by flicking their tail, stamping a forefoot, or even indulging in chastisement. So, never bother a busy squirrel. Being bitten by a squirrel could indicate an altercation with a partner or a child.
The squirrel’s ability to communicate is linked to expression. If a squirrel chatters at you, it may be a sign that you need to speak up and communicate more.
The black squirrel does not mean good luck. Instead, due to its connection with the solar eclipse in legends, the black squirrel indicates cold dark days ahead.
Squirrel Mythology and Folklore
In Nordic mythology, the squirrel named Ratatoskr is the messenger between two powerful forces of nature. This mischievous creature scurries up and down Yggdrasil, the “world tree,” sowing chaos and inciting conflict between the dragon that lives in its roots and the eagle who lives at the top of its branches. (7)
In Hindu mythology, squirrels play a very important role. They supposedly helped Lord Rama, the Hindu God, cross the ocean between India and present-day Sri Lanka to help bring back Rama’s wife. Rama’s wife was kidnapped by the brutal and terrifying ten-headed demon-king Ravana. Lord Rama then blessed the squirrels by touching them on their backs and that is why squirrels have stripes on their backside.
“Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry will cause snow to gather in a hurry.” This verse is used to predict the weather. It is a common belief that furry and thick-bushy-tailed animals like squirrels and bears can help indicate whether harsh weather is coming. This particular adage asserts that squirrels can sense cold weather before we can, and thus we should copy them when they begin their preparations.
In many American folk stories, you will find a story on “How the squirrel got its stripes.” They tell the story of a stripe-less chipmunk that teased a bear, was chased by it and was clawed down the back of its hide leaving permanent marks. The story ends with the fact that the chipmunks of today still have stripes on their backs as a reminder not to tease other animals.
In Japan, the Ainu tribe believed that the squirrel was the discarded sandal of God Aiona. Malaysians believed that squirrels were produced like butterflies from cocoons.
Squirrel Spirit Animal
If your spirit animal is the squirrel, then you are energetic and prepared for anything. People with the squirrel as their spirit animal are strong-willed but easy-going. They enjoy working hard and laughing often. If your spirit animal is the squirrel then you are probably an exceptional multi-tasker.
People with the squirrel spirit animal may grow too attached to material objects. Because they fear the possibility that they might need them one day, people with this spirit struggle with letting go of things.
Due to their extroverted nature and talent for communication, people with the squirrel as their spirit animal are highly sociable and make friends easily. Fun-loving and unafraid to speak their minds, to the squirrel spirit animal every friend is a best friend.
People with the squirrel spirit animal are excellent at sensing trends and have a particular skill for investing. This is because the squirrel spirit is always looking towards the future.
People with the squirrel spirit animal may struggle with focus. They have a tendency to start new projects before finishing old ones and they tend to struggle with following through on their big ideas.
Squirrel Totem Animal
The squirrel totem animal represents rebirth, renewal, energy, positivity, hard work, duty and balance.
While squirrels consistently guide us towards working hard and being prepared, the squirrel totem specifically guides one’s attitude. The squirrel totem represents positivity. This totem is a reminder that negative thoughts are not useful. Only positive thinking can lighten the burdens upon your back.
This totem reminds us that most of our negative thoughts and behaviors are born from fear. The fear of failure creates laziness and procrastination. The squirrel totem reminds us that the only way out is through. We must confront life head on with an attitude of care-free fearlessness.
While squirrels are associated with abundance, for the squirrel totem animal this is not only monetary abundance. It also means an abundance of good friends, loving relationships, shelter and comfort, and opportunities. It means an abundance of things to be grateful for.
If you are working towards a goal or outcome and have been wondering about the meaning of a squirrel crossing your path, then the squirrel is trying to tell you not to give up. Although your efforts may seem futile, you must persist. Do not procrastinate. Stick to your work and you will soon be rewarded with peace, comfort, and good food.
Squirrel Power Animal
As a power animal, the squirrel represents the finding, collecting, and saving things. The squirrel power animal inspires collectors of all kinds. People with this power animal may feel especially called to fix or restore things that have been broken or forgotten.
People with the squirrel power animal must remember that collecting things doesn’t have to mean material objects. You can collect memories and experiences with as much enthusiasm as any treasure.
People with squirrels as their power animals may like to sleep more during the winters. They love the spring, summer, and early autumn months when they have greater energy to work, play, and be active.
People with squirrels as there power animal are also highly sociable and charismatic. People are drawn to their boundless energy and playful charm. They may make great researchers, news reporters, and media personalities as well.
If a squirrel arises as your power animal, you may be struggling between your desire to work hard and your desire to enjoy your passions. For people with the squirrel guiding them, it is important to find a way to bring passion into your work.
Related: Bee Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)
Squirrel Tattoo Meaning
If you are planning to get a squirrel tattoo, congratulations on choosing such a lovely animal to carry on your skin. Squirrels are smart, playful, and extremely good at camouflaging. They are hardworking, intelligent, and have acute senses which aid in their survival.
There are hundreds of different types of squirrels, but they all teach us the value of hard work mixed with play and having fun. Naturally, different squirrel species also symbolize different things.
For example, a flying squirrel is representative of keeping a focus on one’s dreams and goals. It symbolizes that one should never give up on one’s dream of flying higher and bettering oneself.
On the other hand, a ground squirrel teaches us the value of being prepared, alert, hard-working, and busy all day.
In general, a squirrel represents a focus on the future. It stresses the ability to camouflage itself from predators and to save food/nuts for the cold and dark days ahead.
It teaches humans to be prepared, to collect food, save money, and prepare for the future. At the same time, the meaning of the squirrel tattoo is never letting go of one’s playful and fun nature. Laughter and fond memories are among the most valuable pieces of the human experience.
Discuss your vision with your tattoo artist so you can zero in upon the best squirrel tattoo that suits your personality and is in alignment with your goals and dreams.
Whether you are studying squirrel symbolism because of recurrent dreams or you wish to get a squirrel tattoo, the wisdom of the squirrel is indispensable. The delightful squirrel represents hard work, a focus on the future, playfulness, and unique personality. Squirrels seem to bring mischief with them wherever they go, and in so doing, remind us that a little dose of mayhem does a body good so long as the important work gets done!
Related: 15 Tips on How to Get Rid of Squirrels Fast [Humanely]
10 thoughts on “Squirrel Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”
I live in the uk and have half a dozen visiting grey squirrells . I have put feeders alover my garden and everyday they come for some nuts !
I have a couple of young squirrels at the moment and if i call them they come running to me for nuts ! They are very amusing to watch and if i tap on my window they run over to me instantly and they sit on my windowsill all day ! They come at 8am and leave at 3.30pm everyday !
Garth, thanks for this post. I have a short story if you don’t mind. Yesterday I took my family to the forest for a walk. My 2 yr old needed to relieve himself and I led him to a bush. Next to us were 2 squarel tails. I then looked up and saw one crossing above us in the trees. The tails were fresh without mold and had no blood. I can’t stop wondering what this means. Oh I’m in Cape Town by the way. Greetings!
I would guess that you stumbled on the remains of a bird of prey’s lunch. Red-tailed Hawks sometimes leave tails or feathers behind but they’re otherwise quite neat so that would explain the lack of mess. I can’t imagine that you’d have Red-taileds in Cape Town, but there are still plenty of raptors. Other predators could also be responsible, but my money is on a raptor!
Hope this helps!
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ World Birds
I’ve been seeing one squirrel just one ever so often when I’m least expecting it on my fire escape yes my fire escape I should mention I live on the 5th floor and he always stops long enough for me to see him so it’s not a corner of the eye thing he stops he looks around he looks through my window and he just casually moves on doesn’t beg for food or anything I’m really starting to think that’s an ancestor of mine or my spirit animal because what are the odds that I’m in the kitchen at the right time during the day with good lighting and the kitchen window is open way too many chances if you ask me and I don’t believe in coincidences
We have many, many grayish brown and black squirrels in our five acre backyard that we feed sunflower seed and shelled peanuts everyday on our back deck . If we are late putting out their food each morning, they let us know. Sitting at our dining room table watching through our patio door, we enjoy hours of pleasure throughout the day. They are glad to share with all the birds that also feed along side them. This has become a wonderful hobby of ours and a blessing from God’s little creatures. Your article has been enlightening to my husband and I. The reason I looked it up was because my friend in a neighboring town has white squirrels. They are not albinos. She lives in town on Main Street. We live in Wisconsin. Thank you ever so much. I also read your research on birds.
Visions feature black squirrels and massacres lately.
Red and brown squirrels jump down to our driveway when we pull in.
We have been seeing squirrel bodies wrapped in sweaters and left on the roads.
There are also scratches on our doors and voices outside sometimes that sound like ours.
Our cats are anxious and we are working on moving.
Hello! I saw the post about the black squirrel and just wanted to say I have lots of pictures of the 3 black squirrels I feed! I didn’t realize they were so rare! I’d be happy to share..
Hey Nickole, Yes we’d loved to share some of your pictures, please email them to [email protected]
Thank you, I am researching what Black Squirrels means.
I saw one two days ago and iI am please to know all the good abilities of fun, work and saving for the dark cold days.
I thought it has to be an special and a rare sight. It represents a good one.