Squeaking for mammals

Cheryl Antonucci’s latest report talks about squeaking for squirrels and how it isn’t altogether clear what that means when people like me refer to it. Sorry Cheryl. And sorry to the 99.99% of the world who don’t know what “squeaking” sounds like or how its done in mammalwatching land.

When I say “squeaking” I mean the technique for attracting carnivores, chipmunks or small children to come out of the bushes. Having spent years wandering through forests doing this I have forgotten that it wasn’t something that came naturally. Indeed I remember reading birding reports that talked about phishing and wondering what the hell they were on about.

I guess the squeakers amongst us all have our own techniques and trademark calls. I just purse my lips and suck to make a high pitched sound that is part kissing noise, part air leaking out of a balloon. Sucking on the back of my hand makes a similar sound. Carnivores think this is a rodent in pain and will often approach (sometimes right up to the vehicle – Jackals and foxes especially seem ready to do this). Mustelids will sometimes show themselves and I have had it work on Quolls in Australia too (I heard it can also work for Ghost Bats though not sure if that is true). Many animals will at least stop in their tracks and look back which can help with photos. Its also great for chipmunks. They materialise when they hear the noise, presumably thinking its another chipmunk on their territory.

Hope that helps!


  1. PandaSmith 9 years ago

    Mp3 recording por favor…;-)

  2. John Fox 9 years ago

    A surprisingly timely thread, I was looking for mouse squeakers just yesterday and found this site:


    I was looking because I recently learned that a biologist had live trapped some 30 Least Weasels, over 25 years, at a place 70 miles away from me, here in Virginia. Who’d a thunk it?

    I suspect a “real” squeaker might be more effective than my usual effort, which is quite the same as Jon describes.

  3. cantonucci 9 years ago

    Hmmmmm my request for an instructional video still stands. Maybe Jon and Vladimer could both do one with the same species to see how well both methods work. I think it would be a great way for everyone who has not met you to “see” your personality. On a side note my otter sqeaking did involve the “back of the hand” method – no video required. 🙂

  4. Al Stewart 9 years ago

    I just came across this gem amongst some other internet garbage:

    10. Faamiti (Samoan)
    To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.


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