Yes, squirrels can swim, but only for short distances. They do this to avoid predators, find a new home, or find food. Because of their aquatic abilities, squirrels sometimes end up in flooded areas during rainstorms or hurricanes. If a squirrel falls into water, it will attempt to climb out as quickly as possible. Instead, they prefer to stay on the ground or in trees where they can see better.
Squirrels’ Swimming Ability
How Fast Squirrels Can Swim
Squirrels can swim fast, but not as fast as some other animals. Regarding distances traveled, squirrels are comparably small compared to larger mammals like humans and whales. They use their tail to propel them through the water and can reach speeds up to 32 km/h.
How Squirrels Swim
Squirrels use their tails to stay afloat and steer. When swimming, they usually take quick little jumps. They can swim for short distances but are not good swimmers.
They Can Swim on Their Back
Squirrels can swim on their back – an excellent way to get around. This is one of the most efficient ways for them to move. Swimming helps them evade predators, and when a squirrel encounters danger, it quickly turns its head to the side and swims away in that direction. They use their tails for balance and propulsion while swimming.
Why a Squirrel Swims
To Escape From a Predator
If a squirrel gets into trouble and finds itself unable to escape predators or adverse weather conditions, it might resort to swimming. These rodents might even swim long distances when they’re in great distress.
If a squirrel is stranded in water, it will swim until it reaches land or finds a boat or person to take it out.
Squirrels can swim with excellent efficiency and agility and use their tails not only for balance but also to propel themselves through the water.
To Find a New Home
Squirrels also swim through the water when looking for a new place to nest. While most will make it safe and reach their destination, some may not be so lucky and end up dying.
To Find Food
Squirrels can also find food in the water – fruit, nuts, seeds, etcetera. Swimming is beneficial when looking for food or during mating season – when squirrels want to avoid being seen by predators. Squirrels may be small, but they are undoubtedly agile. They also have a good sense of smell, which helps them find food even under challenging circumstances.
In addition, squirrels require water for survival – they get most of their hydration from eating nuts, seeds, and fruit, but they also need plenty of water to drink and stay hydrated. In severe cases, dehydration can lead to death. If there is no access to a reliable water source, squirrels may go days without drinking water.
How Squirrels Swim by Type
Flying Squirrels Swim a Doggy Paddle Stroke
Flying squirrels are adorable mammals that can swim using a doggy paddle stroke. This animal can stay, thanks to its webbed feet and tail being afloat.
North American Grey Squirrels
North American Grey Squirrels most commonly swim in ponds, streams, and lakes. Grey squirrels use the water to gain speed and then quickly launch themselves out of the water onto land. They use their tails as paddles to swim.
If you live near a pond or stream where grey squirrels swim, be aware that they may enter your home if they have an opportunity through cracks in walls or doorways. To avoid any potential conflict, keep your home closed and locked at all times.
Can Squirrels Drown?
Squirrels are among the most commonly seen animals in gardens and parks, but many people don’t realize they can drown. Squirrel drowning is rare, but it can happen if you don’t take precautions. For example, squirrels will attempt to find a body of water where they can swim and drown.
If you see a squirrel in the water and it cannot escape, do not hesitate to help. Instead, reach down, grab the squirrel by the back of the neck, and slowly bring it to safety.
If you see a squirrel drowning and cannot help, please report it to a wildlife expert so that they can take appropriate action. To survive in water, squirrels have an instinctual swim stroke that helps them stay afloat.
Why Squirrels Drown in Pools
These furry mammals are not good swimmers and can quickly drown in pools. Squirrels can drown even in pools, mainly due to their inability to hold their breath for long periods. Pool owners should keep squirrels away from the pool by using barriers or installing floating devices that scare them off.
In addition, squirrels do not have a good enough waterproof coat to swim in pools and can wade into the water and then lose their balance, drowning quickly.
If you’re concerned about squirrels in your yard, don’t worry – most homeowners ignore these animals. But if you see one, don’t be afraid to try and get close. They are usually quite friendly and will not attack unless they feel threatened. However, if you find a squirrel in your pool, watch over it so it will not drown.