Water is the basic requirement of all animals, and squirrels also need it to survive in summers and winters. Wild squirrels use unfrozen lakes, streams, and ponds, while captive ones use bird baths and water pumps to keep them hydrated.
Do Squirrels Need Water in Winter? Squirrels need 1 to 2 ounces or 30 to 60 ml of water in winter. They need it for digestion, metabolism, body temperature regulation, and to keep them hydrated. They get water from droplets on leaves, moist soil, fruits and vegetables, lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, bird baths, and snowballs.
Wild squirrels also meet their water requirements by sucking the sap and nectar from the trees. They use their sharp teeth to strip off the tree’s bark and suck the sugary water from there.
Why do squirrels need water in winter?
Water is a major requirement of animals, and they need it in both summer and winter. However, squirrels also adapt their body in cold weather to prevent water loss.
They need it to stay hydrated, which is necessary for their body functioning. The dehydrated animals become weak, less active, and compromised immune systems.
In addition, these are active animals and involve in different activities like climbing and food foraging. Therefore, it is necessary for their proper body functioning.
These animals need 1 to 2 ounces of water daily. The requirements also vary depending on their species, body weight, activity level, and weather conditions.
Metabolism and digestion
It is necessary for various metabolic processes of these animals, including digestion and metabolism.
Squirrels eat various food, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, and water is helpful in their digestion and absorption in the body.
It makes the digestion process efficient by allowing the quick breakdown of food material. It is also helpful during the metabolic process for the absorption of nutrients and their elimination from the body.
Dehydration can cause metabolism issues, affecting the animals’ overall health and eating behavior.
Body temperature regulation
Squirrels are highly adaptable and survive in different environments by regulating their body temperature. Their requirement increases during summers because they keep their bodies cool through sweating and evaporation.
It helps heat dissipation from their body, and they remain cool in hot weather. However, it is also necessary in winter for the thermoregulation process.
Sweating and evaporation are not common in low-temperature conditions. They conserve water in cold weather to keep themselves hydrated, which is also helpful in the thermoregulation process.
How do squirrels get water in winter?
They use different sources in winter to meet their daily water requirements. In addition, squirrels can drink it from muddy water puddles and sewage pipes.
Water droplets on leaves
Wild squirrels use different ways to keep them hydrated in cold weather. Leaves become wet during the rainy season, and these animals suck droplets from the leaves.
In addition, they also use the sap and nectar of different flowers and plants to meet their daily requirements. Moreover, sugary water provides quick energy, and they love sweet food.
Dew drops also come on leaves at night and make them wet. They can easily climb trees and suck these moisture drops from their leaves.
They are highly adaptable to finding water sources to meet their requirements in different weathers. They love soil digging for fun activities and to store their food.
In addition, they also dig the soil in warm weather for their survival and to keep them cool. Underground soil maintains their body temperature and prevents them from dehydration.
They use moist soil to meet their requirements. Moreover, they also dig the moist soil to find underground sources during cold weather.
Fruits and Vegetables
Captive and wild squirrels use fruits and vegetables to keep them hydrated in winter. They eat fruits and vegetables that have high moisture content.
Lakes, ponds, and rivers freeze in winter, so they modify their eating patterns. They eat apples, barriers, oranges, and watermelons to keep them hydrated.
In addition, they also consume high moisture content vegetables, including celery, cucumber, and leafy green vegetables.
Moreover, it is necessary to give them in moderation and as a part of their balanced diet.
Lakes, rivers, and streams
Squirrels have high cognitive ability, and they remain active all day. They can quickly find unfrozen lakes, streams, and ponds to drink water from in winter.
In addition, they can also meet their needs from frozen lakes, streams, and ponds. They chew or lick the iced surface of ponds and lakes.
They mostly use ponds in cold weather for hydration because these remain unfrozen. Ponds remain unfrozen in winter because of thermal stratification, depth, moving water, and insulation.
They also eat insects and floating food debris from there to meet their daily requirements.
Accessing water leakage area
Wild squirrels access the water leakage areas and puddles in their surroundings.
These can also come on the taps in your backyards. In addition, leakages of plumbing pipes are common, and they drink it from there.
These are highly intelligent animals and can quickly access the presence of food sources for their survival.
Bird baths and snow
Bird baths are located in different areas for birds so they can keep their body cool and meet their needs. These are water-filled basins that resemble ponds and lakes.
It is present in gardens for decoration purposes and outdoor sculpture. Many people install heated bird baths in their lawns and local gardens so the water remains unfrozen and birds can meet their daily requirements.
Turning on their heat in cold water is necessary to prevent freezing temperatures. In addition, you can also install them near a sunny spot so they can absorb heat from the sun and maintain the temperature.
I always keep the bird bath clean and refill it regularly to attract birds. In addition, squirrels eat snow in cold weather to keep their body hydrated. They eat and lick the snowballs that are present on the ground.
How long can squirrels go without water?
They need a lot of water during the day because of their high activity levels. Depending on several body conditions and environmental factors, they can only survive for 2 to 4 days without water.
The survival time also depends on the food they take during dehydration. These can survive for over 3 days if they use a diet with high moisture content.
Baby squirrels do not need water because they meet their requirement from their mother’s milk. Moreover, the requirements of nursing, lactating, and pregnant mothers are more.
They need more water for their milk supply to feed their offspring. In addition, survival time and requirements also vary depending on their weight, health status, age, and environmental conditions.
How do you keep squirrels hydrated in winter?
It is necessary to keep the squirrels hydrated in winter because water is essential for digestion, metabolism, and body temperature regulation.
Put the heated dishes and bowls in your yads to prevent them from freezing. In addition, it is also necessary to place them in a safe place, like under trees, so contaminants cannot enter them.
Fill the bowl with fresh and clean water to prevent illnesses. I mostly place shallow water bowls and containers in winter in my yard for these animals.
In addition, I also check them frequently to ensure that they remain unfrozen and clean. You can also use the squirrel feeders and select other products from the market specially designed for them.