SQUIRRELS have personalities, a study found — and can be right nutters or shy and stay in their shells.
Psychologists said the furry-tailed rodents have four traits — boldness, aggressiveness, activity level and sociability.
Experts observed and recorded squirrel responses to four tests.
They were placed in a holed box, presented with their mirror image, approached in the wild to see how long they waited before fleeing, and caught unharmed in a simple trap.
Bolder squirrels moved faster, were more aggressive, active and sociable.
They may find more food or defend a larger territory — but are at more risk from predators or accidents. Dr Jaclyn Aliperti, at the University of California, said the scientific field of animal personality is relatively young but its development is key.
She explained: “Accounting for personality may be important when predicting wildlife responses to new conditions such as changes or destruction of habitat.
“This is a hard science but if it makes you relate to animals more, maybe people will be more interested in conserving them.”
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