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Culture Shock

Squirrels vs. Rats

Sometimes a debate arises in the field of sports that can take the world by storm. Your answer to these types of quandaries defines who you are as a person and can foreshadow your future triumphs or downfalls. This is that type of deliberation.

On Twitter, @DragonflyJonez and @LaJethroJenkins brought up the question of which animal is more athletic, a rat or a squirrel. The social media site and the world immediately split into two camps. There is only one correct answer to this question and through the course of this article, I will definitively prove to you why #TeamSquirrel is the ultimate winner.

Let’s start with speed, which is the rat’s claim to fame. Rats are known for their speedy demeanor, which has been emphasized by cartoons, such as “Tom and Jerry”. Jerry the rat’s speed is ultimately hyperbolized in this cartoon and is false propaganda to create a fictional stereotype. Rats are fast, don’t get me wrong, but their top speed is 8 mph. A squirrel, on the other hand, can get up to 15 mph, almost twice as fast.

Along with speed is the element of quickness, which may be more important than how fast someone can run. For example, Steve Nash was never the fastest guy on the court, but his quickness and ability to cut on a dime and move directions in different ways made him a more dynamic player. Squirrels win in this category as well.
The following is a personal anecdote but integral to back up my point. Sitting in the passenger seat while my mom was driving me to middle school one day, a squirrel cut in front of the car just inches in front of the wheel. The front of the squirrel was clearly in front of the tire but the rear legs seemed like they would be cut off. In a split second, the squirrel picked its hind legs off of the ground and ran on his front two. He survived and lived to tell the tail (pun definitely intended). This is Russell Westbrook or Odell Beckham Jr. level freakish athleticism, which a rat would never have the ability to match.

You know what? Perhaps the best way to describe my squirrel argument is to give these rodents their professional sports comparison. In NBA terms, a rat is Kyle Lowry or Gordon Hayward. Rats are bulldogs, which run on strength and a will to survive. They are definitely strong, as evidenced by Pizza Rat.

I would not want to fight a rat, but their total athleticism is definitely suspect. A squirrel on the other hand is Russell Westbrook or Vince Carter. There’s inexplicable athleticism involved and an ability to do things that seem otherworldly. Squirrels climb trees, hop without the slightest of care and scamper across lawns in the blink of an eye. Their one possible downfall is their inability to make quick decisions.

As evidenced by squirrels at Indiana University, squirrels are slow thinkers. They sometimes linger around longer than they should. They could be great all the time, but sometimes their mental fortitude holds them back. As stated before, Westbrook is the quintessential squirrel comparison. He has the same athletic moments of brilliance, but still sometimes makes questionable decisions. Ultimately, however, it doesn’t matter because he’s always a step quicker than you and that makes all of the difference.

Finally, let’s get into the final archetypal category for athletes, their ability to trash-talk. Squirrels are assholes, first and foremost. They run in front of your cars to make a point, to show that they can. Their hubris can get in the way but it’s surely incredible. For example, outside of the IMU, I once saw a squirrel steal a girl’s entire bag of chips. Not just one chip. Not just two chips. But, a whole bag of chips. That squirrel didn’t need all of those chips. He just did it because he wanted to, to rub it in her face. Squirrels aren’t scared of you. They’ll walk up to you, stare you dead in the eyes and stroll away, proving their point that they’re better than you. Rats live in holes. They’re terrified of you. A rat would never speak ill of you for one second because it would fear the repercussions. People who snitch are named after rats for a reason, they’re ultimately scared of you and need to hide behind others.

This debate has two sides, those who side with rats and those who are correct. Squirrels win in speed, quickness, agility, brashness and trash talking. It’s not really a contest. A rat can try its hardest, but in any athleticism competition against a squirrel, all it can say is, “Oh, rats!”


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