I Just Found Out That Some Red Squirrels Are Nepo Babies And I'm Stunned

Even animals can't escape the confines of privilege.

For the past year or so, we’ve all been talking about nepo babies a lot more with many stars refusing to accept the title and Lily Allen even saying it’s akin to being called a ‘Karen’.

If you weren’t familiar, a ‘nepo baby’ is a child that’s had a leg up in life thanks to Nepotism. The Independent said: “Nepo is short for nepotism, which the Collins English Dictionary defines as ‘The unfair use of power in order to get jobs or other benefits for your family or friends.’”

While this conversation is an important reflection on privilege and gives great context as to why some people are more fortunate than others, I feel like we’re giving the red squirrel a pass here.

Yes they’re beautiful and bring so much to the animal kingdom but, also, many of them are nepo babies.

Red squirrels are the nepo babies of the animal kingdom

Now, one thing we know about squirrels is they love nuts and they bury them away for the winter in considerably large batches. These batches are actually called ‘middens’ and they form the core of squirrel territories.

However, according to the experts at SciShow, sometimes females will make more than one of these middens and donate the second one to their offspring. This is only done by around 20% of female squirrels and they tend to be the most experienced.

Environmental conditions can also make mothers more likely to provide these middens. According to a 2015 study, during lean years, mothers were more likely to donate some of their stash and, incredibly, this was because they had the foresight to know that the following year would bring far more abundance.

Researchers believe that mothers provided these middens during harsher times with the knowledge that their young would be able to gather their own resources the following year.

Of course, I am joking when I call red squirrels nepo babies but this habit does give their children a huge boost. It increases their chances of securing their own territory in the vicinity of that midden and this is key to their winter survival. For the mother, this means the family genes will continue to pass down.

As SciShow said: “It really is amazing the difference a small loan of a million acorns makes to a squirrel’s chances in life.”