What’s Going On With All The Dead Squirrels?

What’s Going On With All The Dead Squirrels?image preview

If you live in New England, you may have seen an increase in squirrel activity, including the number of them dead on the roadways. It seems you can’t travel 100 feet without having a squirrel dart out in front of you as they make their way across the road; some don’t make it. We’ve gotten countless messages on our Facebook page and comments on our website from people asking, “what’s going on with all the dead squirrels?” wondering if it has anything to do with the harsh winter we’re predicting.

While folklore tells us that squirrels gathering nuts early is one of the 20 signs of a hard winter, there appears to be a bit more going on.

Here’s what we found out.

What’s Going On With All The Dead Squirrels?

According to a Maine state wildlife biologist, we had a “mast” year for acorns and other nuts last fall (meaning more than usual), which has led to a population explosion of squirrels (who have an average of 3-6  young in a litter). So there are more squirrels this year gathering nuts from the back-to-normal food supply. Unfortunately, they’re displaying erratic behavior and taking more risks (which we assume is where folklore comes in about the harsh winter ahead—they’re getting ready), resulting in increased road deaths.

A New Hampshire state wildlife biologist confirmed that they, too, are seeing a large number of squirrel roadkill in their state. In fact, one motorist reported counting 390 dead squirrels in a 50-mile drive to the Massachusetts border. Unfortunately, this flurry of squirrel activity is going to continue right through the fall.

How To Avoid Hitting Them?

Experts say don’t swerve. Squirrels dart about to confuse predators as a survival mechanism. So because they see automobiles as predators, your best bet is to drive in a straight line.

What about where you live? Have you been seeing a lot of squirrel activity and roadkill? Tell us in the comments below.

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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A.Maida
A.Maida
3 months ago

every 3 feet I see a freshly dead squirrel along I-87
from exits 15, South many miles to Bronx Pkwy.
every weekend I see the old dead ones and newly dead.
very sad.

Miranda Carpenter
Miranda Carpenter
3 months ago

Hundreds of dead squirrels from Danbury, CT to Rye, NY and back. From I-84 West, I-684 South, 287-East, I-95 South and back. Very heartbreaking. I have never hit one because I stop for them and I don’t care how angry the people behind me get. People drive erratically, these squirrels don’t have to be struck by cars.

Dana
Dana
3 months ago

I live in Hoboken, NJ and we are seeing dead squirrels everywhere. They haven’t been hit by cars. Some have just curled up and died sleeping next to telephone poles. Another three were right in front of our parking garage. One young squirrel laid down and died in front of a street advertising sign. That one had blood coming from it’s ears mouth and. Nose. Another older one was found days later like it just laid down and went to sleep and died. Another may have been hit by a car or also laid down and went to sleep and died, then got ran over. I’m worried about them. We saved one and don’t know where to take it.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 months ago
Reply to  Dana

Dana, call your animal control officer. It’s best not to deal with wildlife on your own, especially rodents.

jsj
jsj
3 months ago

Rye Brook in Westchester County, along the Hutchinson River parkway onto & down the ramp to 287 North (about 3-4 miles)- counted 140 dead. I could see more in the distance if I kept going south on the Hutch. crazy & sad. but we could all drive a little slower.

Patricia
Patricia
3 months ago

Bangor Maine area here .I have to brake check for what I like to call suicidal squirrels on my entire trek to work .

Severin Cornelius
Severin Cornelius
3 months ago

Definitely. Squirrels had free reign when we were in quarantine. Now they have to adjust to more commuters.

Severin Cornelius
Severin Cornelius
3 months ago

Definitely. Dead squirrels all over the place. I figured since humans have been in quarantine, squirrels had a lot more freedom. Now that people are moving again, squirrels have to adjust.

Joann craig
Joann craig
3 months ago

New York has a lot of squirrels and yes dead ones also A lot of them. And not much food for them. No acorns.

Joan MacHill
Joan MacHill
3 months ago

They eat pumpkin so beware when you set yours outside this year ! If there are that many of them your porches will be visited when those delicious morsels are placed out as decorations even if you don’t carve them those squirrels know they are tasty treats!

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 months ago
Reply to  Joan MacHill

Joan, we have a great tip you might like to keep them out. Check it out here.

Paul
Paul
3 months ago

Sadly, I can confirm that northern New Jersey has dead squirrels on almost every roadside. And sincere concern has driven me to seek out some sort of explanation. Thank you! Some areas have 10 or more built up in a small section of highway. It really makes you think about the frailty and value of life. Love those tree climbin’, nut buryin’, chip-chatterin’ furry little critters.

Melinda Torres
Melinda Torres
3 months ago

I’m in New Jersey and have been seeing an abnormal amount of dead squirrels on the road. I googled it to see if something was up and came across this page. So it’s pretty much all over the eastern side of the country it seems.

Nora
Nora
3 months ago

Tons of squirrels, dead and alive!! North Jersey

Kevin Armstrong
Kevin Armstrong
3 months ago

We have been seeing them a lot on the New York State thruway. Especially down in the Tarrytown are.

Coco Murray
Coco Murray
3 months ago

Yes I have been seeing more dead squirrels on the Sprain and Taconic in Yonkers New York!

Jill
Jill
3 months ago

Montville, NJ seems to have more squirrels than live people ‍♀️

Giandalone Anne
Giandalone Anne
3 months ago

Could the increase in road kill be that the squirrels had the run of the road during the Covid lockdown?

Paul
Paul
3 months ago

I thought this as well. And, I think this article helps explain the situation too.

Nikki
Nikki
3 months ago

All down the parkway in nj so strange

Debby blyler
Debby blyler
3 months ago

There were so many squirrels in my neighborhood this year, they ate all the tomatoes in my garden; first time in 45 years this has happened.

Duncan
Duncan
3 months ago
Reply to  Debby blyler

Same here. Tomato terrors!

Steven Justo
Steven Justo
3 months ago

Yes! Hi my name is Steven Justo. I live in North Jersey. I too have noticed an increase in squirrel road kills. About a one week ago, I was doing my morning run when a squirrel happened to notice/hear I was coming. It too darted into the street but it was the worse timing. Why you ask? Because a vehicle was approaching at a fast speed on a 25 and got caught underneath the car. I knew that squirrel was a goner. When I looked back, all I can see was the squirrel got hit bad. It just flew up after the car ran it over, rolled and just laid lifeless in the middle of the road. I was devastated to even witness it firsthand. It might not be a human being but it’s a living thing I actually really love. I too love squirrels and seeing this saddens me thinking about what happened. If I knew how to communicate with each and every squirrel in the world, I would tell them, “Stay away from the roads & moving vehicles!”

k
k
3 months ago

omg my husband and I live in NJ and we were just talking about this

Sandra Patterrson
Sandra Patterrson
3 months ago

We live on a small lake in northern NJ. There have been at least six sightings of squirrels swimming across the lake. Have never seen this phenomenon in the 50+ years we have been here.

Marcella
Marcella
3 months ago

I live in NJ and I have seen so many dead squirrels on our roadways as well. I wondered what was wrong. I saw 8 dead squirrels in one spot. It’s disturbing.

Kimberly
Kimberly
3 months ago

I just said the squirrels were acting strangely and I felt they were darting infrastructure of the car for no explained reason..now I know. I had never seen this weird behavior happen before and try not to hit them but I am in North Jersey and it is happening NOW

Carrie Williams
Carrie Williams
3 months ago
Reply to  Kimberly

Oh my gosh!!! I swear…just said this to my daughter. The squirrels have been crazy….in and out of the streets, saw one dead at the park…and ran over on the roads….

Aissa P
Aissa P
3 months ago

I noticed this in Connecticut an increase in squirrel roadkills as well. I myself had to slow down for several squirrels in the past two weeks to avoid hitting them! It’s actually crazy! I also noticed new squirrels that never lived in my backyard, we now have a gorgeous black one that was never there in the 8 years I’ve been here.

Louise
Louise
3 months ago

So we have dead rats on the sidewalk, and just last week a smaller what seemed to be Vulture eating another rat, neighbour saw a rat in her garden also !! assuming they are coming up from city as all the restaurants are closed

Tracy Marshall
Tracy Marshall
3 months ago

Yes. In Suburban New York there are sometimes several in the same locations and on Thruways and Parkways. Just discussing with my neighbor

Babette
Babette
3 months ago

Rt 208 north and south in fair lawn nj

Gene B.
Gene B.
3 months ago
Reply to  Babette

We counted 30 in one two mile stretch on 208 North.

Bill Murray
Bill Murray
3 months ago

bumper crop…hmm, excuse the pun

Bill Murray
Bill Murray
3 months ago

Interesting article. And, yes, have observed the road kill here in NJ as well; and have heard it commented upon. And good advice re avoidance (or not). Cringed to have hit a chipmunk the other day and possibly a squirrel as well. Not sure how an abundance of acorns one year increases their fertility the next, unless a primal signal to her fecundity that food will be abundant. And, of course, then there’s enough to nourish the broods. Please CAPITALIZE proper nouns. The seasons should be capitalized Spring / Summer / Fall / Winter. As should the word ‘state’ be capitalized as in Maine State, etc. – the name of a particular person, place or thing is known as a proper noun and is capitalized. These usages are fast disappearing from many texts. Thank-you.

Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Murray

Sorry to break it to you, Bill, it neither seasons nor the word “state” in that context should be capitalized, according to AP style. That is the widely accepted standard in the journalistic and publishing world. Those rules have been standard with AP for more than 20 years, and possibly much longer. That’s just how long I’ve been in the business. (Also, don’t hyphenate thank you in that context, if we are being picky.)

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Murray

Hi Bill, thanks for your comments. It’s very sad when we have collisions with wildlife. As for punctuation, we use the Chicago Manual style: seasons are never capitalized. But we appreciate you taking the time to write.

Kim
Kim
3 months ago

Northern Bergen county New Jersey… .an insane amount of dead squirrels. At one off ramp we counted over 75 dead grey squirrels. I thought is was a result of inexperienced young squirrels having grown up during the quarentine and not having much fear of roads and cars.

Steven Justo
Steven Justo
3 months ago
Reply to  Kim

Kim, I think your on to something. That just might be the reason. In the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all quarantined, they were probably feeling more comfortable not seeing or hearing people/vehicles. Now that things are getting somewhat back to normal, they are confused.

Dee
Dee
3 months ago

I was surprised to see the article because I thought I was seeing things. I live in Westchester County in NY and I have noticed more than the usual amount of dead squirrels on the road.

Joe M
Joe M
3 months ago

I was driving on the highway this past week, I counted as many a 100 dead squirrels in a 3 mile ride. Northern New Jersey Route 208.

Nicole Rende
Nicole Rende
3 months ago

I had this exact question
I have observed a definite increase in squirrel roadkill in my area (Putnam & westchester county NY)

Laurie Zak
Laurie Zak
3 months ago

Yes, I have seen an increase of squirrels . I am figuring that the Covid quarantine in spring allowed for more animals to roam more freely and survival of offspring to increase.
I counted 95 animals (squirrels, rabbit, deer, raccoons and unrecognizable animals ) in a 25 milestretch ) !

Robert Silvestri
Robert Silvestri
3 months ago

Yes!!! I’m in Rockland county in New York State. It’s so heartbreaking to see the amount of dead squirrels. Some sections of the NYS Thruway has clusters of 8-10 dead in one spot . So sad

Donna
Donna
3 months ago

There are tons of dead squirrels in Westchester county NY. Normally you would see them on side roads, these are on the highway!

V
V
3 months ago

There are so many dead squirrels on the roads in NJ, I was shocked at one point there must have been atleast 30 in just one narrow bend. Very sad.

Scott Raymond
Scott Raymond
3 months ago

Yes…. dead squirrels all over the road… live ones playing friggen frogger everywhere.

Toni
Toni
3 months ago

I live in Westchester and the squirrels have been so aggressive, they scratched through my screen door, came into my kitchen, and ate my banana bread! Have been entering my garage, going through my garbage, jumping into car windows. They ate all the tomatoes in my garden before they ripened. I feel sorry that they’re getting run over, but I’m done with them!

Theresa woodin
Theresa woodin
3 months ago

Yes counted 38 in a row on rt 208 yesterday NJ.. and 14 deer within a 2 mile space.. Botswana had 300 elephants die!! What is happening??

SCOTT
SCOTT
3 months ago

I work in Morris County in NJ, and have seen about 30 dead squirrels in a half mile stretch of road I travel.

Dave Lombardi
Dave Lombardi
3 months ago

We’ve seen them swimming in lakes in Morris County, NJ!

Richard J Dwiatek
Richard J Dwiatek
3 months ago

Morris County NJ… I mentioned to my family that I am seeing dead squirrels everywhere. I asked them if they noticed the same thing…NO… at least now I understand the reason. I slow down..
..I don’t swerve. I don’t slow down if cars are behind me on my butt…

Shalice Trusty
Shalice Trusty
3 months ago

Yes! I’ve seen so many it’s alarming. I’m wondering if it’s more like 5G or covid.

Elise
Elise
3 months ago

I live in North Bergen, NJ, and in the past two weeks have seen so many running on the roads or dead .

MARK CHOMICH
MARK CHOMICH
3 months ago

I LIVE IN NEW YORK AND I WAS JUST TALK8NG ABOUT THIS LAST NIGHT, THE EXIT RAMP FRIM THE MERIT PKWY TO 287 HAS WELL OVER 50 DEAD SQUIRLS AND ALL ALONG THE REST OF THE ROADS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY

Jessika
Jessika
3 months ago

I’m also a resident of Westchester county New York. I have my business in Yonkers and I live in port Chester. I had a conversation with my mom the other day where I told her there were so many more dead animals in the road this year. Most are squirrels but I’ve also seen a lot more dead deer, groundhogs, raccoons, possum, cats and I’ve also seen a coyote on the side of the road. I’ve never seen this many dead animals, they’re everywhere. It’s crazy. And yes, squirrels are all over and darting in and out of the road like crazy.

Tommy K
Tommy K
3 months ago
Reply to  Jessika

Same!! I live in white plains and noticed it so much I actually thought to myself what the hell is going on. And like you said, not just squirrels but all sorts of different animals as well.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 months ago
Reply to  Tommy K

Hey readers: thanks for all your comments. This is so unusual—the squirrel activity is very high this year again. Thanks for filling us in on what’s going on!

Robert Guarino
Robert Guarino
3 months ago

I live in Fishkill New York and yes I’ve seen a number of dead squirrels on the Taconic Parkway

Iris
Iris
3 months ago

I have been saying this for the past 3 weeks. That’s something unusual was going on because I have never seen this many dead squirrels at once. I’m a truck driver and driver between NY, NJ, CT, MA

D. Donato
D. Donato
3 months ago

There have been an aberrant number of dead squirrels seen in Westchester County in the towns of Purchase, West Harrison and White Plains.