Being near the bottom of the food chain would make you think that squirrels are an easy target. But, ask any squirrel hunter and you will soon realize that killing a squirrel is no easy task! It takes infinite patience and many hours of waiting to bag a squirrel. It also requires that the hunter enter the woods as unnoticed as possible because they will never get a shot at a squirrel that has observed them coming into the woods!
The only ones they will ever have a chance at are ones moving from other areas as they forage for food, and then, only if they stay unobserved by these wary animals. This survival habit of squirrels is what makes them such a difficult animal to kill. And, if you observe and adopt the techniques squirrels use to stay alive, you too can make yourself very difficult to kill!
The first technique squirrels use is their ability to be aware of what is going on around them and to take note of changes in their environment. Squirrels have a distinct advantage over humans in that they have a 180 degree visual field. This is because of where their eyes are located on their head. With just the slightest turn of their head, they can observe what is going on behind them.
If you have ever taken self-defense or military training you would recognize this technique as “situational awareness” or being aware of what is going on around you. In this day and age, being distracted and unaware of what is going on around you can literally get you killed. I cringe when I walk or drive down a street and see young girls and boys walking with their noses buried in their phones either texting or reading their social media totally unaware of what is going on around them, not realizing that they are prime targets for abduction or other evil schemes.
The same for adults who are texting or talking on their phones while driving. They are many more times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than someone who is situationally aware. A squirrel constantly scans it's environment looking for things that don't fit or are out of the ordinary. If a squirrel sees a hunter sitting on a log fidgeting with his phone or swatting at a mosquito, it will silently start flicking it's tail, ( a technique called flagging,) which catches the attention of every other squirrel in the area that something is not right. That hunter is going to go home empty-handed!
When you are out in public, especially when you are with a bunch of other people, you are in a prime location for a disaster. This is when you should be in a heightened state of situational awareness, which requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline, because you are usually doing something where everyone is having fun. Too much alcohol can also decrease your ability to be aware of what is going on around you! You should be looking for, and listening for things that don't fit. Like, if someone walks in with a mask on and carrying a gun, you need to be aware and take immediate action!
This brings up the second technique that squirrels utilize that gives them the survival edge. They always place themselves where the have the best view of what is going on. If I go out to my backyard to feed some of my friendly squirrels and give a squirrel a piece of food, they will always take the food and move to a location where they have a better view of what is going on. Often it is 5 or 6 feet up a tree and then they hang upside down by their back feet and will eat the food while constantly keeping watch for danger.
When you enter a public place, it's a good practice to position yourself in a location where you can see what is going on and be able to see who is entering the building. An ideal location would be far away from the main entrance, but very close to an emergency exit! Making yourself aware of where emergency exits are located can literally save your life! That's why airlines have their attendants review emergency procedures and locations of exits before you take off.
The last technique you can learn from a squirrel is how to escape when danger is imminent. There are two evasive techniques squirrels use when danger is present. The first is a straight run technique. If a squirrel senses danger they will make a bee-line run for a tree and get the tree between them and the perceived danger. The other technique they use when the danger is seen and bearing down on them. This can be seen when a squirrel is in a street and a car is bearing down on them. They will do a zigzag maneuver. When a predator is close and about to attack the zigzag maneuver makes them very difficult to catch.
The application here is that if you observe early something bad about to happen, make a bee-line for an exit that is opposite to where the danger is located. If the danger is immanent, ( like someone shooting the place up,) and you make a break for the exit, don't run in a straight line, that makes you an easy target. Stay low to make yourself a smaller target and zigzag which makes you a more difficult target to hit.
From what I have read about the recent mass shootings where the perpetrators wore body armor I'm amazed that they were not seen by people sooner! I mean someone wearing body armor and carrying a high powered rifle had to stand out like a sore thumb! Were people so distracted that they didn't realize what was going down until these deranged individuals opened fire?
Obviously, there are people out there that do not value human life, that are seeking to take out as many as they can. Unfortunately, even when police respond in record time, there can still be many wounded and killed. People need to stop being so distracted that they lose their situational awareness! Take a lesson from the squirrels, become aware of what is going on around you wherever you are! It just might save your life!