Wild squirrel shakes hands with man in stunning picture

April 27, 2010 | by | 76 Comments

This is the incredible moment a squirrel apparently shakes hands with a walker – after he coaxed it to take a hazelnut from his hand.

Bushcraft expert Steve England, 35, waited motionless for 15 minutes in Stoke Park, Bristol, as the grey squirrel slowly moved towards him.

He then lay perfectly still as the animal gathered enough courage to reach out and pluck the hazelnut from his forefinger and thumb.

Father-of-three Steve, who works as a RHS horticulturalist and lives in Lockleaze, Bristol, was stunned because wild squirrels are usually highly secretive animals.

He said: ”I had never tried it before but we were going through the woods and I was laid down on a log taking pictures of some fungus when this squirrel came up close.

”So I managed to get a hazelnut out of my pocket and after about 15 minutes it came closer and closer and then grabbed the hazelnut and ran.

”Squirrels are very secretive animals so I wasn’t surprised that it disappeared in a few seconds after taking the nut.  To start with it couldn’t decide if I was a friend or a foe.

”The goal of my life is to encourage more people to enjoy the treasures of the outdoors and Stoke Park really is an incredible place.”

The picture was taken by NHS community health worker Alex Wood, 26, who was among six people on the organised Active Bristol green walk on Sunday.

She said: ”We were on the walk and Steve was taking pictures of some fungus when he spotted a wild squirrel and said ‘watch this’.

”The squirrel took a lot of time to build up enough courage to snatch the nut.  It was an incredible moment.”

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Comments (76)

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  1. Ian says:

    ….obviously in his line of work he has never visited Kew Gardens then…you don't have to wait motionless there for 15 minutes, as soon as I produced nuts, they came straight to me. This is nothing really new…

  2. Ian says:

    ….obviously in his line of work he has never visited Kew Gardens then…you don't have to wait motionless there for 15 minutes, as soon as I produced nuts, they came straight to me. This is nothing really new…

  3. Irene says:

    We used to do this all the time with the red squirrels at Formby national trust reserve in Liverpool. I agree with Ian, its nothing new. Good photo though!

  4. Irene says:

    We used to do this all the time with the red squirrels at Formby national trust reserve in Liverpool. I agree with Ian, its nothing new. Good photo though!

  5. Niomi says:

    A similar thing happened to me on Monday. I was in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and there was a squirrel running about. I went as close as I could, kneeled down and it came closer the more it trusted me. When it came to point it was right in front of me I stood up because I didn't understand why it was being so friendly.It then ran away. I got some really good pictures of it.

  6. Niomi says:

    A similar thing happened to me on Monday. I was in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and there was a squirrel running about. I went as close as I could, kneeled down and it came closer the more it trusted me. When it came to point it was right in front of me I stood up because I didn't understand why it was being so friendly.It then ran away. I got some really good pictures of it.

  7. Ian P says:

    In my local park there's a sqirrell I call Tufty because it's so friendly. Comes up and takes nuts or will put paws on my hand until I give it something.

  8. Ian P says:

    In my local park there's a squirrel I call Tufty because it's so friendly. Comes up and takes nuts or will put paws on my hand until I give it something.

  9. Ian P says:

    In my local park there's a sqirrell I call Tufty because it's so friendly. Comes up and takes nuts or will put paws on my hand until I give it something.

  10. Ian P says:

    In my local park there's a squirrel I call Tufty because it's so friendly. Comes up and takes nuts or will put paws on my hand until I give it something.

  11. anne says:

    just go to st. james's park in London and the squirrels appear very tame. I had one climb my leg and another take a nut out of the palm of my hand. I also had a blue tit land on my hand to take a nut! I think it's great he's got such a fab job.

  12. anne says:

    just go to st. james's park in London and the squirrels appear very tame. I had one climb my leg and another take a nut out of the palm of my hand. I also had a blue tit land on my hand to take a nut! I think it's great he's got such a fab job.

  13. anne says:

    I must admit though – I never got a photo of it!

  14. anne says:

    I must admit though – I never got a photo of it!

  15. r w says:

    nice photo…..did he eat it afterwards?

  16. r w says:

    nice photo…..did he eat it afterwards?

  17. Rich says:

    Conveniently had a hazlenut in pocket… picture taken by NHS community health worker… come on… the clues are in there guys.

  18. Rich says:

    Conveniently had a hazlenut in pocket… picture taken by NHS community health worker… come on… the clues are in there guys.

  19. nicole says:

    awwwwwwww the sweetest!

  20. nicole says:

    awwwwwwww the sweetest!

  21. Jen says:

    Ian – I guess you can't really call the squirrels in Kew Gardens wild then! ;o)

  22. Jen says:

    Ian – I guess you can't really call the squirrels in Kew Gardens wild then! ;o)

  23. Abi says:

    Agreed, I visted the botanic gardens in Edinburgh when I was younger and all the squirrels ate out of your hand! Good piccie though.

  24. Abi says:

    Agreed, I visted the botanic gardens in Edinburgh when I was younger and all the squirrels ate out of your hand! Good piccie though.

  25. sophz says:

    wow i wod luv a squril 2 shake hands wid moi!!!!! u sooo lucky xxxxxx

  26. sophz says:

    wow i wod luv a squril 2 shake hands wid moi!!!!! u sooo lucky xxxxxx

  27. Michelle says:

    Grey Squirrels are amazing creatures to care for as a wildlife rehabber

  28. Michelle says:

    Grey Squirrels are amazing creatures to care for as a wildlife rehabber

  29. Jay says:

    It's a great photo but I actually have a few like this myself taken with me or friends. I have fed many squirrels in parks which you may say are not fully wild as they are used to public but I have also had success with squirrels in local woods. As long as you have food!

  30. Jay says:

    It's a great photo but I actually have a few like this myself taken with me or friends. I have fed many squirrels in parks which you may say are not fully wild as they are used to public but I have also had success with squirrels in local woods. As long as you have food!

  31. Sazjay says:

    In Dunfermline Glen We have wild peacocks that eat from your hand and squirrels that will come right up to you and take peanuts from you even the baby ones will come up and you have to take the shell off for them cos they arent sure what to do. I love the park where I live it's so great, and the creatures so cute.

  32. Sazjay says:

    In Dunfermline Glen We have wild peacocks that eat from your hand and squirrels that will come right up to you and take peanuts from you even the baby ones will come up and you have to take the shell off for them cos they arent sure what to do. I love the park where I live it's so great, and the creatures so cute.

  33. Jack says:

    It's nice to see that even in a heartwarming story, focusing on something other than murders, rape and teenage deaths, the Internet can still go "Yeeeaahhh I do this all the time nothing new"

    Lovely.

  34. Jack says:

    It's nice to see that even in a heartwarming story, focusing on something other than murders, rape and teenage deaths, the Internet can still go "Yeeeaahhh I do this all the time nothing new"

    Lovely.

  35. keith says:

    A grey Squirrel!!!

    Should all be shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. keith says:

    A grey Squirrel!!!

    Should all be shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Laura L says:

    love this pic but like most ppl have said its nothing new. at my brothers house theres a couple of grey squirrels that actually come n knock on the window n wait for you to give them some nuts n then they gladly take it out of your hands :) like i said love the pic tho :)

  38. Laura L says:

    love this pic but like most ppl have said its nothing new. at my brothers house theres a couple of grey squirrels that actually come n knock on the window n wait for you to give them some nuts n then they gladly take it out of your hands :) like i said love the pic tho :)

  39. Alan says:

    Nothing new, had grey squirrels taking nuts and chocolate from me at Centre Parcs years ago

  40. Alan says:

    Nothing new, had grey squirrels taking nuts and chocolate from me at Centre Parcs years ago

  41. Tanzeel says:

    OMG — What a great news, miracle I would say :O

  42. Tanzeel says:

    OMG — What a great news, miracle I would say :O

  43. Shantyman says:

    Oh yes now all of you sad losers have had these experiences. SHAME ON YOUS ALL!!! Taking some1 else's experiences and then completely making up your own silly stories. SHAMELESS! And SICKENING too!!!

  44. Shantyman says:

    Oh yes now all of you sad losers have had these experiences. SHAME ON YOUS ALL!!! Taking some1 else's experiences and then completely making up your own silly stories. SHAMELESS! And SICKENING too!!!

  45. Maggie Lochiel says:

    Keith, your a complete idiot, I hate violence but if there is any shooting to be done then you should go and shoot yourself and do us all a favour. The world would be a better place without the likes of you.

  46. Maggie Lochiel says:

    Keith, your a complete idiot, I hate violence but if there is any shooting to be done then you should go and shoot yourself and do us all a favour. The world would be a better place without the likes of you.

  47. Luke says:

    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs469

    Seriously nothing special. If you've got something they want, they're usually quite happy to come and get it – or in the case of the above linked picture, sit on your lap while they eat it too.

  48. Luke says:

    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs469

    Seriously nothing special. If you've got something they want, they're usually quite happy to come and get it – or in the case of the above linked picture, sit on your lap while they eat it too.

  49. jeff says:

    this really isn't that special, l lived on furzey island for a few years and red squirrels, ducks, pheasants and birds gathered round the cottage to be fed every day. all the animals would let you hand feed them and birds (tits and robins) would sit on you hand to feed. squirrels would come in the cottage and sit on the table to feed, and most days would sit on me in the outbuildings when l had food in my pocket. this was an amazing experience that all the wildlife on the island was not afraid of humans. there are so many stories l could tell you regarding this. hope you found this interesting.

  50. carole says:

    I have a picture taken in Blackheath about 20 odd years ago wit h a squirrel holding onto my hand as it ate a hazelnut,.

  51. carole says:

    I have a picture taken in Blackheath about 20 odd years ago wit h a squirrel holding onto my hand as it ate a hazelnut,.

  52. Honey says:

    I used o live in Birmingham a long time ago, 2 miles from the city centre in a GF flat. I used to have 2 squirrels come everyday to my patio doors to have a chocolate digestive, which I hasten to add they love. They would come the same time everyday and wait till I opened the door then they would happily come over and take the biscuits from my hands. Also in York in the park in the centre of York I have a picture that shows me hand feeding a wild squirrel . They are like any other animal hunger wins over fear I think.

  53. Honey says:

    I used o live in Birmingham a long time ago, 2 miles from the city centre in a GF flat. I used to have 2 squirrels come everyday to my patio doors to have a chocolate digestive, which I hasten to add they love. They would come the same time everyday and wait till I opened the door then they would happily come over and take the biscuits from my hands. Also in York in the park in the centre of York I have a picture that shows me hand feeding a wild squirrel . They are like any other animal hunger wins over fear I think.

  54. kenneth holmes says:

    I had a simular experience with a squirrel ,a fellow golfer said to me, go on give it the nut out of your hand so I did, big mistake

    it grabbed my hand and the nut, my mate laught his head off .

    beware! big scratches can appear.

  55. kenneth holmes says:

    I had a simular experience with a squirrel ,a fellow golfer said to me, go on give it the nut out of your hand so I did, big mistake

    it grabbed my hand and the nut, my mate laught his head off .

    beware! big scratches can appear.

  56. bob upth north. says:

    Fancy having a stuffed squirrel in your bag, when out with your camera, what else would you do with it. lol

  57. bob upth north. says:

    Fancy having a stuffed squirrel in your bag, when out with your camera, what else would you do with it. lol

  58. WillyBlanko says:

    (All the above taken in Victoria Park, Bath.)

  59. WillyBlanko says:

    (All the above taken in Victoria Park, Bath.)

  60. iknowmyfirstnameisni says:

    I've had a squirrel run up my leg too. When I shook it off it chased me down the street. Don't play with squirrels.

  61. iknowmyfirstnameisni says:

    I've had a squirrel run up my leg too. When I shook it off it chased me down the street. Don't play with squirrels.

  62. Dave says:

    They'll rob you In Regents park. i swear one even had a knife!

  63. Dave says:

    They'll rob you In Regents park. i swear one even had a knife!

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