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Can Squirrels Swim? (Should you Get It OUT of the Water?)

As a nature lover and experienced observer of squirrels, I can confidently say that yes, squirrels can swim. In fact, they have an impressive range of aquatic abilities that put them well above their land-based relatives. In this blog post, I’ll discuss five reasons why they may take the plunge and just how adept they are at swimming!

Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents found in a variety of habitats across the world. They can live in trees, on the ground, and even in urban areas. Although squirrels are not known for their swimming skills, they can indeed swim.

  • They use either a doggy-paddle or breaststroke technique.
  • Squirrels can hold their breath underwater for up to half a minute.
  • Their fur traps air when they go in water.

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Can Squirrels Swim?

When it comes to swimming, squirrels have mixed feelings about it. While some species of squirrels are better swimmers than others, all of them can swim if needed. However, most prefer to stay away from water and take shelter in the safety of trees or burrows. Even if they do venture into the water, they use a doggy-paddle or breaststroke technique which is slow and tiring.

Squirrels can also hold their breath underwater for up to half a minute which helps them navigate waterways more efficiently. Additionally, the fur of these animals traps air whether they are in water or on land which makes them better swimmers than their land-dwelling counterparts.

What to Do If a Squirrel is Found in the Water?

If you find a squirrel in the water, it may be disoriented or injured. The best thing to do is to call a wildlife rescue center right away and wait until help arrives. In the meantime, keep a safe distance from the animal and don’t disturb it further. You may want to try gently nudging the animal towards shallow waters where they can easily get out and make their way back home. Remember – never attempt to pick up any wild animals, as they could be dangerous.

How to Help a Swimming Squirrel

To help a swimming squirrel, it is important to remember that the animal is likely scared and may not trust humans. It’s best to approach slowly and remain calm. Never attempt to grab or pick up a squirrel; instead, extend a branch, towel, or other form of assistance. If possible, put the object close enough for the squirrel to climb onto and out of the water. Be patient and give the squirrel time to reach safety on its own before moving away.

Can Squirrels Drown?

Yes, squirrels can drown if they are not careful. They usually swim when migrating or for rest but should be aware of strong currents and deep water that could lead to tragedy. To prevent drowning, look out for signs of swimming difficulty such as struggling, flailing or lack of energy. Be sure to take precautionary measures and remove any potential risks when spotting a swimming squirrel.

Do Squirrels Like Water?

Though aquatic activities may not be their forte, water is absolutely vital for the wellbeing of squirrels. They need it for necessity like drinking and grooming—necessities that are necessary for their overall sustenance and health. So while water might not always be the most exciting thing on their agenda, it is definitely an indispensable part of maintaining their health and vitality.

Plus, aside from swimming for leisure, there’s really no purpose for them to be near bodies of water — except when migration is involved — so it’s safe to say that swimming simply isn’t part of their natural routine.

Motivations for Swimming

A Well-Rounded Exercise Routine

While the decision to swim mostly depends on the circumstance at hand, one motivation to get into the pool could be getting a well-rounded exercise routine. Although they would prefer spending most of their time scurrying up trees, having an occasional dip in the pool may help keep their small bodies fit and agile.

  • Swimming is not only a great way to reduce stress but also builds stamina and strengthens muscles — benefits that tree-climbing just can’t provide.
  • And being able to swim allows them access new locations otherwise inaccessible by traditional routes like climbing trees or running across lands.

Tips for Preventing Accidents

Whenever possible, avoid putting your squirrel in any type of situation where it may need to swim including pools or lakes without proper supervision. Regardless of their aquatic abilities, these creatures are still vulnerable when surrounded by large bodies of water with hidden dangers such as sharp rocks or deep depressions.

  • Therefore precautions should always be taken such as keeping your pet properly restraints when outside and avoiding any body-of-water areas altogether unless supervised.
  • If you come across any unfamiliar riverbanks when going on walks with your pet, make sure to stick around longer and assess the area before letting your furry companion roam free.

What Other Animals Can Squirrels Interact With in the Water?

Squirrels can share their aquatic exploits with a variety of other animals. These include birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. In some cases, they may even encounter larger mammals such as beavers or river otters. They may also come across other squirrels swimming and can join in the fun. No matter who they’re with, it’s important to remember that squirrels are excellent swimmers and shouldn’t be afraid of getting in the water.


How long can a squirrel stay in the water while swimming?

Squirrels have the ability to swim for quite awhile, depending on their energy level. They typically use their tails to help steer while in the water and can stay afloat by floating. Generally, they are able to swim for up to 30 seconds to 5 minutes, however this depends on their individual agility and strength.

How long can a squirrel stay afloat in water?

Squirrels have the ability to remain afloat in water for quite some time. Generally, these agile rodents can tread water for up to 30 seconds to 5 minutes. This can depend on the squirrel, however, and its ability to use its tail as an effective paddle. For example, younger squirrels may possess less swimming experience and thus may not be able to stay above water as long.

Can squirrels swim well?

Squirrels are quite capable swimmers; they have many tricks in their arsenal to help them stay afloat. They use their tails like a rudder to give themselves directional control, and can also remain afloat using their strong hind legs and furry coat. In short, squirrels are strong swimmers – though not as strong as some other animals.

Can squirrels swim or traverse across bodies of water?

Squirrels are surprisingly capable swimmers and may use their tail to propel them in the water. They can cross bodies of water if they need to, but oftentimes they will opt to find a land route instead.

Do squirrels have the ability to stay above water when submerged?

Yes, squirrels can float in water. They use their tails to steer and remain afloat until they find a way to reach the shore. If a human attempts to drown a squirrel, they must do so quickly – within 30 seconds up to 5 minutes.

How long can a squirrel stay submerged in water without breathing?

It is difficult to measure the exact length of time a squirrel can hold its breath underwater, but general estimations vary from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Squirrels are skilled swimmers, using their tails as a rudder to guide them through the water. If they find themselves submerged in liquid, they will typically remain afloat until somebody helps them out. This indicates that they have enough energy and buoyancy to stay underwater for an extended period.


We’ve seen that squirrels may not be the best swimmers, but they can manage to stay afloat and traverse a small body of water if necessary. That’s why it’s important to know that when it comes to swimming, can squirrels swim? The answer is yes!

Squirrels have adapted over time to make better use of their environment and developed the ability to swim by using their fur as an air pocket and strong front legs. Even though they don’t have the same grace of other aquatic creatures, they can certainly plunge into the waters if needed. So next time you find yourself wondering whether or not your furry friends are able to take a dip, remember that can squirrels swim? Yes, they can.

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