How Fast Can A Squirrel Run? ALL You Need To Know (2023)

How Fast Can A Squirrel Run

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

Last Updated on June 14, 2023 by israel olaniran

Squirrels are fascinating creatures known for their nimble movements and acrobatic abilities. Have you ever wondered how fast can a squirrel run? In this article, we will explore the speed capabilities of squirrels, factors that influence their speed, and some interesting facts about their agility.

Squirrels belong to the rodent family and are found in various parts of the world. These small mammals have a slender body, bushy tail, and sharp claws that allow them to climb trees with ease. While their speed may not rival that of cheetahs or other fast land animals, squirrels possess remarkable agility and quickness.

Read: do squirrels eat bird eggs?

How Fast Can A Squirrel Run?

Squirrels can run at an average speed of 12 to 20 miles per hour (19 to 32 kilometers per hour). This allows them to swiftly navigate their environment, escape from predators, and efficiently forage for food. While not as fast as some other animals, their nimble movements and quick bursts of speed make them adept at surviving in their habitats.

Squirrel Anatomy

To understand the speed of squirrels, it’s essential to delve into their anatomy. Squirrels have long and strong hind limbs, specially adapted for running and jumping. Their muscular thighs provide the necessary power for quick bursts of speed, while their long tail helps maintain balance during agile maneuvers.

How Fast Can A Squirrel Run
How Fast Can A Squirrel Run Image by Andreas Hoja from Pixabay

Squirrel Species and Speed

There are various species of squirrels, and their speed can vary slightly between each type. However, most squirrels are known for their ability to reach impressive speeds when necessary. On average, squirrels can run between 12 to 20 miles per hour (19 to 32 kilometers per hour). This speed allows them to quickly escape from predators or navigate their environment efficiently.

Read: Can squirrels swim?

Factors Affecting Squirrel Speed

Several factors influence the speed at which squirrels can run. One significant factor is the size and species of the squirrel. Smaller squirrel species tend to be faster compared to larger ones. Additionally, the terrain and environmental conditions can impact their speed, as squirrels are more agile on familiar grounds.


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Maximum Speed of Squirrels

While the average speed of squirrels is around 12 to 20 miles per hour, certain squirrel species can achieve even higher speeds. For example, the Fox Squirrel has been recorded running at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour). These bursts of speed are remarkable for such small creatures.

Read: how fast can a lion run?

Squirrels and Predators

Speed plays a vital role in a squirrel’s ability to evade predators. Squirrels have a keen sense of awareness and can quickly detect danger. When chased by predators such as dogs or birds of prey, squirrels rely on their agility and speed to outmaneuver them. They employ zigzag patterns and sudden changes in direction to confuse their pursuers.

Read: How fast can a bear run?

Squirrels as Agile Climbers

Apart from running speed, squirrels are exceptional climbers. Their sharp claws and strong limbs enable them to scale trees effortlessly. Squirrels can rapidly ascend and descend trees, showcasing their impressive climbing skills. Their agility helps them access food sources, build nests, and escape from threats.

Squirrels and Obstacles

Squirrels encounter various obstacles in their natural habitats, such as fallen branches or fences. Their speed and agility allow them to overcome these hurdles with relative ease. They can leap over obstacles, navigate narrow branches, and make intricate jumps, showcasing their adaptability and resourcefulness.

Squirrels and Foraging

Squirrels spend a significant amount of time foraging for food. Their speed comes into play during these foraging activities. When searching for nuts or seeds, squirrels can cover considerable distances in a short period due to their quick movements. Their agility enables them to locate and collect food efficiently.

Squirrel Speed vs. Human Speed

In comparison to humans, squirrels are incredibly fast. While humans can run at an average speed of around 8 to 10 miles per hour, squirrels easily outpace us. Their small size, lightweight bodies, and specialized anatomy give them a significant advantage in terms of speed and agility.

Squirrel Speed in Urban Environments

Squirrels have also adapted to urban environments, where they coexist with humans. Despite the presence of buildings and roads, squirrels continue to exhibit their speed and agility. They navigate through urban landscapes, dodging cars and other obstacles, demonstrating their ability to adapt to new surroundings.

Squirrel Speed in Different Terrains

Squirrel speed can vary depending on the terrain they inhabit. In open fields or grassy areas, squirrels can achieve faster speeds due to fewer obstacles. However, in dense forests or wooded areas, their speed may be slightly reduced as they navigate through intricate branches and vegetation.

The Adaptability of Squirrels

Squirrels are highly adaptable creatures, capable of adjusting their speed and behavior based on their surroundings. They can quickly switch between running, climbing, and leaping, utilizing their agility as needed. This adaptability allows them to thrive in various environments, from urban parks to remote forests.

Fun Facts About Squirrel Speed

  • Squirrels can cover up to five times their body length in a single leap, thanks to their incredible speed and strong hind limbs.
  • The fastest squirrel species, the Southern Flying Squirrel, can glide through the air at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour).
  • Squirrels have been observed using their speed to engage in playful chases with each other, displaying their agility and social interactions.
How fast can a squirrel run?

Final Thoughts On How Fast Can A Squirrel Run?

Squirrels may not be the fastest animals on Earth, but their speed and agility are undoubtedly impressive. With their slender bodies, long tails, and nimble movements, squirrels can reach speeds of 12 to 20 miles per hour on average. Their ability to adapt to different environments, evade predators, and forage efficiently showcases their remarkable capabilities.


How do squirrels achieve such high speeds?

Squirrels have specially adapted anatomy, including strong hind limbs and a long tail, which contribute to their speed and agility.

Can squirrels outrun humans?

Yes, squirrels are much faster than humans due to their lightweight bodies and specialized running abilities.

What is the fastest species of squirrel?

The Southern Flying Squirrel is the fastest species of squirrel, capable of gliding through the air at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

Do squirrels use their speed for anything other than escaping predators?

Squirrels utilize their speed for foraging, navigating obstacles, and engaging in playful chases with other squirrels.

How do squirrels adapt to different terrains?

Squirrels adjust their speed and behavior based on the terrain, utilizing their agility to navigate through obstacles and vegetation.

Can a squirrel run faster than a human?

Yes, squirrels are faster than humans. They have adapted to be agile and quick, allowing them to outpace humans in terms of speed.

Which is faster, a rabbit or a squirrel?

Generally, rabbits are faster than squirrels. Rabbits are known for their incredible speed and can reach higher speeds compared to squirrels.

Is a squirrel fast?

Yes, squirrels are considered fast animals. They can run at an average speed of 12 to 20 miles per hour (19 to 32 kilometers per hour).

What’s the fastest squirrel in the world?

The Southern Flying Squirrel is considered the fastest species of squirrel. It can glide through the air at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour).

How fast can a human run?

The fastest recorded speed of a human is 27.8 miles per hour (44.7 kilometers per hour), achieved by sprinter Usain Bolt.

Are squirrels faster than dogs?

Generally, dogs are faster than squirrels. Dogs have been selectively bred for speed, and certain dog breeds are known for their impressive running capabilities.

How fast is Usain Bolt?

Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, is widely regarded as the fastest human in recorded history. His fastest recorded speed is 27.8 miles per hour (44.7 kilometers per hour).

Are squirrels faster than humans?

Yes, squirrels are faster than humans. They possess quickness and agility that allow them to surpass human running speeds.

What is the fastest squirrel?

The Southern Flying Squirrel is considered the fastest species of squirrel, with the ability to glide through the air at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour).

How fast can a cheetah run?

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals. They can reach speeds of up to 60 to 70 miles per hour (97 to 113 kilometers per hour) in short bursts.

Remember, squirrels may not reach the same speeds as rabbits, dogs, or cheetahs, but they possess their own impressive agility and quickness within their ecological niche.


  • 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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