Watch These Frustrated Squirrels Go Nuts! |  Deep Look

There’s no better poker face than that of
the fox squirrel. These animals just do not produce facial expressions. For a squirrel, it’s all about that tail. When a predator is around, the squirrel doesn’t
snarl. Instead, it whips its tail back and forth
to look big and fearsome. Researchers call this s-shaped movement “flagging.”
and it means the squirrel feels really threatened. At the University of California, Berkeley,
animal behaviorist Mikel Maria Delgado wondered what else she could learn from watching squirrels
flag their tails. Could it open a window into squirrels’ emotional
worlds? For instance, do squirrels get frustrated,
like we do? So she lured some of the squirrels that live
on campus down from the trees. She taught them how to open a box to find
a walnut inside. Squirrels love walnuts. That little two-step he’s doing… it kind
of looks like “Woo hoo! I’m about to get a nut!” It’s actually squirrel for “Back off.” “This is my nut.” Once the squirrels learned how to open the
box, Delgado trained them to expect a walnut each time they looked inside. And this is key. Because frustration is usually defined as
not getting what you expected. Then she changed things up. For some squirrels, she replaced the nut with
corn, which squirrels don’t like as much. The squirrels were not amused and the tail
flagging began. Other times, she left the box completely empty:
they flagged their tails even more. Finally, she locked the box. Flag, flag, and flag. The squirrels got aggressive, a hallmark of
frustration. The question is, if squirrels do it, and we
do it, why do we get frustrated? Why is it useful, from an evolutionary point
of view? Here’s one possible answer: the frustrated
squirrels aren’t just blowing off steam. They’re gathering up the energy to brute-force
a new solution — kind of like kicking the vending machine when it eats your dollar. See? They’re trying different ways to open up
the box. Delgado’s hypothesis is that frustration
might actually be beneficial… that pitching a fit might sometimes be just what squirrels
– and people – need to figure things out. If you’ve wondered about the emotional life
of squirrels — and really, who hasn’t? — Then maybe you’ve also asked why banana
slugs are so slimy. Or how Christmas trees have sex. Deep Look has the answers. So subscribe. And let us know what you think in the comments
below. Thanks for watching.

61 thoughts on “Watch These Frustrated Squirrels Go Nuts! | Deep Look

  1. Watching this episode makes me interested. So if the squirrel is wagging it's tail it means frustration. I see.

  2. Plus why do call is a fox squirrel? I mean like squirrels are like sneaky. Squirrels try getting your food.

  3. I found squirrels in UC Berkeley is fatter than others that in the forest. People always feed them!

  4. What does a Dr. Squirrel, bus driver squirrel, toll booth squirrel,detective squirrel, nuclear engineer squirrel, professor squirrel, or a therapist squirrel do in there down time I wonder?

  5. We know this is the new poker face

    But in the inside of our hearts
    We know who is the original poker face


  6. PBS doesn't believe in the First Amendment, which is why it disables the comment sections on most of its YouTube videos. Well, the exception is nonpolitical animal videos. 🤣

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