Squirrels are animals that live on land and have a high speed of running. It is difficult for them to swim in the water, and they are not good at it.
Are Squirrels Good Swimmers? Squirrels are not good swimmers because their habitat is land, and it is challenging for them to remain in the water for a longer duration. The webbed structure of feet and heavy fur does not allow them to swim. Hot weather, migration in need of food, and fear of attack are the reasons which make them swim in rivers, ponds, and lakes. Grey and twiggy water skiing squirrels like to swim and remain in the water for longer.
In some squirrels, the tail acts as a rudder which aids in moving straight. It keeps moving with the water flow and uses it as a paddle.
Why are squirrels not good swimmers?
The animals or birds that can swim have specific features which help in swimming. They learn it from their parents, or it is by birth.
They move their legs and tail back and forth and swim by keeping their head above the water surface to breathe.
Squirrels can swim but are not good at swimming because they are not amphibians and cannot breathe underwater.
Flying squirrels have webbed feet that act as swimming barriers. These can glide in an aqueous environment but not for more than a few minutes.
Their feet contain a layer between the fingers that hinders them from remaining in the aquatic habitat.
They live in the forests among the trees, where they make nests and burrows to live.
Their body is habitual to dry land, which is why they cannot survive in water for more time.
Moreover, their natural habitat is dry woods, so it is challenging to remain in the aquatic environment for them.
They have heavy fur on their body, which does not help in swimming. In addition, their tail has a furry structure that gets wet as they enter the water.
It becomes heavy, and they cannot drag the weight of the wet tail in the water.
When do squirrels swim?
They do not feel good while swimming, but they have to do this in specific conditions when they cannot utilize any other option to survive.
It is challenging for them to survive in water for a long time, and they become lethargic after some time.
At high temperature
They need to rest in summer when it is hot outside because the body temperature rises, and they do not feel comfortable.
In such cases, they need some water to keep them active and hydrated. Furthermore, they move outside and find some water source to take a bath.
The hairy structure of their body keeps them wet for a long time, preventing the hot weather.
To prevent attack
These do not enjoy swimming unless a predator attacks them. Then, it senses danger around it and jumps into the river to save a life.
Moreover, predators keep chasing them for a long time, but they try to remain on the land. So it is the last option to jump in the water to remain alive.
Seasons have a significant impact on the habitat of animals and birds. This is because they change their habitat according to the changes in the environment.
Squirrels run short of food in winter, making them move from one place to another. Sometimes, there are rivers or ponds along the way, and they have to cross them.
It becomes challenging to move through water, but they need to save their life.
What types of squirrels can swim?
All of them cannot swim in aquatic environments because of their body structure and the habitat in which they live. However, some of them can swim due to severe conditions.
It is a good swimmer because it has a tail and loves to swim for a long time. In addition, it helps them to find different sources of food, and they can prevent themselves from attacks.
Moreover, grey squirrels can swim in rivers and ponds to change their habitat. It is not challenging for them as their long tail helps to move in the water.
They move to the nearby aqueous source, which can be a pool or canal, in case of anxiety. It keeps half body outside the sea and does not become wet completely.
It can cover a distance of 1 to 2 miles in the water, which shows it can survive in water.
Twiggy water skiing squirrels are the ones that enjoy being in the river or ocean. This name was given to the grey squirrels who were trained to float on the piece of foam.
These live in the trees, and to take a bath, they go to the lakes and ponds, which makes them feel good. Moreover, it has a hairy body which helps float over the water surface.
In case of attack, it can fall in the water, but its paddle-type movement aids in swimming.
What types of squirrels are not good swimmers?
Some squirrels know how to swim but cannot do this for a long time, so they fall in the bad swimmers category.
The foot structure in flying squirrels does not help in swimming; they cannot fly on land but glide through the air from one tree to another.
A membrane between the fingers gives a webbed structure and a barrier that does not correctly push the water in a backward direction.
Red squirrels are not good swimmers because they have furry tails, making it challenging to remain above the water surface.
The tail fur gets wet and makes it heavy, which hinders movement. Its furry tail can be a reason for its drowning if they fall accidentally into water.
Do squirrels drown in water?
Mostly squirrels are adaptive to move in rivers as they have paddle-like movement. However, in some cases, it cannot continue swimming as it is a tiring job to keep paddling the feet. This happens if a squirrel loses its tail.
It can move in water continuously for 17 to 20 minutes, but its stamina ends, and it cannot hold itself.
It can drown if the sides of the river or pond are slippery, so it cannot move outside.
Furthermore, the animals or birds that live on land are not adaptive to live in aquatic environments. This is because they need air to breathe, which is not present inside the water.
Squirrels cannot keep themselves inside the water because they cannot breathe in such conditions. The staying time varies in different species, which can be 28 to 31 seconds or 4 to 6 minutes.