Turns out these bushy-tailed cuties aren't strict vegetarians.
A photo of a squirrel clutching a snake in its paws -- reportedly just before devouring it -- is taking the Internet by storm, perhaps because most people can’t fathom America’s favorite acorn-eater is capable of such violence.
“They’re opportunists,” the photographer, William Leggett, told The Huffington Post. “Generally they’ll eat nuts and berries and other things that are easily available, but they’re also known to eat insects, lizards, snakes.”
Leggett snapped the photo in 2009 when he was a ranger at West Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains National Park, though he is now a park guide at Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. The photo was posted to the Guadalupe Mountains Facebook page on July 6.
Leggett said he was sitting inside when he “heard a commotion” and went out to investigate. “When I looked over, the snake and the squirrel were already fighting," he said.
He said the squirrel was a nursing female, so he suspects she became “extra defensive” when she saw the snake -- which Leggett said Guadalupe Mountains ranger Michael Haynie identified as a desert striped whipsnake -- near her babies.
After she won the battle, she was just “taking advantage of a good meal,” Leggett said. He recalled that she consumed most of the snake, even the bones.
This post has been updated with information from the photographer.