Can A Squirrel Swim? ALL You Need To Know 2023

Can A Squirrel Swim?

This Article Was Written By Israel Olaniran Reviewed By Dr Jenna Fred.

Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by israel olaniran

Hi guys, if you are reading this then you want to know the answer to the question can a squirrel swim? In this blog post, I’d be letting you know if a squirrel can swim or not. So, let’s dive right into it! Many people wonder whether squirrels have the ability to swim. It’s a fascinating question that has intrigued both scientists and nature enthusiasts alike.

Read: how long do squirrels live?

Can A Squirrel Swim?

YES, squirrels can swim, but they’d rather not. Squirrels are not very good at swimming, but when they need to, they can swim. The species of Squirrels also play a significant role in deciding the way they swim. Although squirrels are not the best at swimming, you may find them near the lakes and across ponds quite often.

While swimming, they use the dog paddle technique to swim from one place to another. You can find them swimming in ponds, streams, lakes, and even in flooded areas temporarily. You would love to note that most squirrels have a difficult time swimming underwater gives them the utmost inconvenience, for instance, the flying squirrel.

Can A Squirrel Swim?
Can A Squirrel Swim? Photo by Shane Young on Unsplash

You’ll love to note these few things about squirrels swimming: Not all squirrels can make it across the water. They tire easily. They cannot breathe underwater.

Squirrels may swim when migrating. Throughout history, people have reported seeing mass groups of squirrels swimming across lakes and rivers. These migrations often happen after a surplus of food. Squirrels need to breathe air as we do. They “hold” their breath (which animals can’t really do) for as long as a minute before resurfacing to breathe again.

The animal can quickly become exhausted, and if it does not find an adequate space to rest, it can drown. Many squirrel species, such as red, grey, and fox, use their tales to steer through the water as their four paws paddle. However, flying squirrels struggle in the water because of the webbing that enables them to glide long distances.

READ: How fast can a squirrel run?


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Typically, a squirrel will avoid the water. The animal prefers the land and can navigate it quickly and easily with precision. A squirrel is slow and vulnerable in the water, but it is its vulnerability that can motivate it to take a swim.

Squirrels work tirelessly through the warmer seasons to find and store food for the winter months. In the animal’s search for food, it is constantly on the lookout for larger predators.

Read: Do squirrels eat bed eggs?

Unfortunately, in its efforts to fend off hunger and survive, it can sometimes accidentally fall into pools or other bodies of water. In most instances, the squirrel will be fine and can find its way out. However, pools present a more significant challenge than natural bodies of water.

Pools are manufactured with smooth sides and often no place for the animal to grip and escape or rest. If the squirrel cannot find a place to rest or escape, it will eventually drown. This is where a problem comes in for homeowners or other well-meaning people.

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The anatomy of squirrels and how it relates to swimming

There are a few factors to consider when it comes to squirrels’ physical ability to swim. Let’s start with squirrel anatomy. Squirrels have long, thin bodies and short legs, making them appear to be poor swimmers at first glance. They do, however, have some physical adaptations that may help them in the water.

Some squirrels, for example, have partially webbed feet, which may provide them with extra propulsion when swimming. Squirrels also have relatively dense fur that can help keep them warm in cold water.

squirrels do have some physical adaptations that could potentially help them swim if they needed to, but they might not be as naturally skilled at it as some other animals. It’s worth noting, however, that not all squirrel species are the same, and some might be more adapted for swimming than others.

Can a squirrel swim and drown?

Squirrels despite being intelligent animals focus on their swimming skills since they are not really good at swimming. However, some cases could always cause accidental drowning.

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How fast can squirrels swim?

Their top non-voluntary swimming speed is 11 mi/hr (18 km/hr). This is understandable as we have already established that they do not like swimming.

READ: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Celery?

Can domestic squirrels be trained to swim?

Domestic squirrels, like any other animal, can be taught to swim with the right motivation and training techniques. Some squirrel owners have successfully trained their pets to swim for recreation or exercise.

It is important to remember that not all squirrels are interested in swimming, and some are even afraid of water. It is critical to be patient and take the training process slowly, gradually introducing the squirrel to the water and encouraging good behavior with positive reinforcement.

How to respond to a squirrel in the water.

You should not attempt to pick up the squirrel by hand to remove it from the water. Remember, a squirrel is a wild animal; despite how cute it looks, it can bite and defend itself when frightened or threatened. If possible, you want to avoid any close contact with the animal. If it is an emergency, and the animal is drowning, or in danger of drowning in your pool, you can use a pool skimmer or net with a long pole handle.

Scoop the animal gently out of the water. It may try running up the handle towards you. Do not be alarmed. Remain calm. The animal does not want to touch or attack you. It only wants the quickest path to dry land. Most likely, it will leap off the handle as soon as it clears the pool.

Can A Squirrel Swim? video

Final Thoughts On Can A Squirrel Swim?

YES, squirrels can swim, but they’d rather not. Squirrels are not very good at swimming, but when they need to, they can swim. The species of Squirrels also play a significant role in deciding the way they swim. Although squirrels are not the best at swimming, you may find them near the lakes and across ponds quite often.

This post was written by Tochuckwu for Animals District

Can red squirrels swim?

Yes, red squirrels, like other squirrel species, can swim if needed. They may use swimming as a means to escape from predators or to reach food sources on the other side of bodies of water. However, it’s not a common behavior for them, as they prefer to stay on land and in trees.

Can baby squirrels swim?

Baby squirrels, like adult squirrels, have the ability to swim if necessary. However, they may not be as skilled at swimming as adult squirrels, so it’s best to keep them away from water to ensure their safety.

Can squirrels fly?

squirrels cannot fly like birds. However, flying squirrels have a gliding ability that allows them to move between trees over short distances.

Can squirrels be pets?

In some places, it may be legal to keep certain species of squirrels as pets with the appropriate permits and licenses. However, in many regions, it is illegal to keep native wildlife, including squirrels, as pets due to conservation concerns and the need for specialized care.

Squirrels swimming?

Squirrels are capable of swimming and may do so if they need to cross bodies of water or escape from predators. However, swimming is not a preferred method of movement for squirrels.

Can squirrels die from falling?

Yes, squirrels can die from falls, especially from significant heights. While they are skilled climbers, accidents can happen, and falls from great heights can result in severe injuries or fatalities.

Can squirrels drown?

Yes, squirrels can drown if they find themselves in deep water and are unable to reach the surface to breathe. While squirrels can swim, they are not built for prolonged underwater activity.

Can squirrels cross a river?

Squirrels are agile climbers and can often cross rivers or bodies of water by leaping from one tree to another. In some cases, they may also swim short distances to reach their destination.

Can squirrels breathe underwater?

No, squirrels cannot breathe underwater. Like most mammals, squirrels are not adapted to breathe underwater and need to come to the surface to breathe if they find themselves submerged.

Do squirrels like to be in water?

Generally, squirrels do not prefer to be in water. While some species of squirrels can swim when necessary, they are not naturally drawn to water and typically avoid it when possible.


  • israel olaniran

    Israel Olaniran is an accomplished animal content writer with five years of expertise in creating engaging and educational material about cats, dogs, and other animals. When he's not writing, he dedicates his time to caring for his beloved four-year-old rescue puppy. Israel's work has been featured in renowned publications like "Pethouse," and he actively collaborates with local animal shelters and rescue organizations to raise awareness about their important work. His vast knowledge in animal care and ownership, as well as his up-to-date understanding of various breeds, making him a trusted source for global readers seeking reliable pet content.

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