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Der Teufel ist ein Eichhörnchen

I just learned this German phrase. Seems to be a southwestern regionalism, it was completely unknown to me.

Der Teufel ist ein Eichhörnchen.

The devil is a squirrel.

Well... sure... squirrel. Devil.

It seems to have different meanings.

  1. Another statement is qualified as absurd, a logical fallacy.
  2. Evil can lure in the seemingly harmless. The European squirrel is red (and endangered by the grey squirrel recently), the colour and appearance may have a part in this.
  3. It can even mean the opposite: Something that seems to be a threat is in reality harmless.

April 18, 2015



it is meant to be taken literally; the devil really is a squirrel. the problem is, which one?


I'am as a Swabian use it in the second way. Squirrels are moving very fast and can change direction very quickly. So, even if all looks like to develop quite well be aware that it may be the other way round in the next moment.


I am from the northwest and use this phrase with the second meaning.


May I ask how far north you are?


what omg no squirrels are so precious stop :[


And to think I though he was a Panda!


I have always been reasonably suspicious of squirrels.....


Anyways, thanks for posting! I can't wait to use this in a conversation! :D


Thanks. :)

If you want more, here's some in a recent episode from SamWaltonMan!

  • 2090

I read this as Einhörnchen first and was confused. I actually was just told about this metaphor the other day, although I was given the explanation that it has to do with how squirrels are everywhere always and dart around so quickly.


There is also the Germain related phrase: "Der Teufel steckt im Detail." And i think it's just a variation of it and the best english translation would be: "The devil's in detail."

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