Squirrels are well-known because of their swimming ability. Each species uses different swimming methods depending on their body shape and comfortability.
Why Does a Squirrel Swim on its Back? Squirrels mostly swim on their back to keep their heads above the water, use their tails as a rudder and protect them from predators. In addition, they do this to keep their nuts dry and propel their body.
You can see the squirrels near the ponds and lakes because of their swimming ability in the water. The risk of drowning in water is rare because of their swimming method and intellectual skills.
Why does my squirrel swim on its back?
Squirrels are acrobatic creatures and highly adaptable animals. The high adaptability and unique behavior of these mammals make their swimming easy in water.
Keep the head above the water
Squirrel usually swims on its back and keep their head, chest, and front paws above the water. In addition, they keep their body in the arched position so the front body cannot come in contact with water.
These are furry animals; water can enter their fur and make them wet. The wet furs irritate them and cause issues in their temperature maintenance.
In addition, an arched position also provides them buoyancy to maintain their speed and stability inside the water. Moreover, they keep their heads above the water for breathing. These animals also need oxygen like humans for their survival.
These also keep their heads above the water for visual awareness. As a result, they can see their surroundings and prevent themselves from the predator’s attack.
The arched position is best for swimming because it provides more stability and better balance during movement. They can maintain their body position in the water by keeping their balance.
Furthermore, they can also navigate easily in different directions using their visual cues.
Use the tail as a rudder
Squirrels use their tail as rudders to maintain balance. Squirrels usually swim on its back to maintain their balance and speed in the water.
These are not natural swimmers; they have to adapt their bodies according to different conditions for better control and stability.
Tail as the rudders provide them stability and easy navigation. In addition, it also prevents them from drowning when water levels are high in ponds and lakes.
They can move in different directions by maintaining the balance with their tails. Tail as the rudder allows them to move in a straight direction and reduce unnecessary movement.
In addition, rudders are also helpful for them and act as steering when they navigate in different directions.
Protection from predators
Squirrels protect themselves from predators while swimming on their backs. It provides them with a better view of their surroundings, and they can see their predators if they are present in nearby locations.
These can get a better side view when they keep their front body above the water’s surface. Some of their predators also live near ponds and lakes and attack them when they identify their presence.
Back floating provides them more visual clearance for their prevention. In addition, predators do not identify them when they keep their heads above the floor.
They can also protect themselves from the sudden attacks of predators living beneath water surfaces.
Keep seeds and nuts dry
Many people think squirrels move on their backs to keep their nuts dry while moving in the water. Instead, they only cross the ponds to collect food and protect themselves from predator attacks.
Nuts and seeds are their favorite food, and they can move anywhere for them. So they keep the nuts in their front paws and mouth and transfer them to safe places for their preservation.
Back floating is necessary so their nuts remain dry when they are crossing the lakes. In addition, they keep their front body in an arched direction so water cannot ruin their nuts and other food sources.
Propel their body
Squirrels move on their back to reduce energy expenditure during swimming. The hind legs of these animals act as paddles and provide better propulsion.
They move their hind legs in different directions for forward movement. It provides efficient propulsion, and they can move forward with minimal energy consumption.
Hind legs also provide better propulsion because the upper body of these animals is above the water’s surface.
As a result, they kick their legs up and down in an alternative manner, which creates the propulsive force for their forward movement in lakes.
In addition, paddling motion through the hind legs also allows them to maintain their streamlined movement.
Squirrels need a lot of energy because of their food-foraging behavior, climbing, and jumping. They conserve their energy during swimming by maintaining their body direction.
These animals swim on the back and keep their head, chest, and paws above the water levels to reduce the air drags. It reduces the surface area for drag, and they need less energy to move forward.
The dragging force increases when the surface area increases, and they do not keep their front body above the water levels. Therefore, drag forces directly affect the energy levels in their body.
These animals save energy by minimizing surface drag while swimming in water. Sometimes, you see dead squirrels in your pool because they get exhausted and die.
What type of squirrels can swim on their back?
Different species of squirrels are present worldwide, depending on their evolution and genetics. Moreover, these have different behaviors and lifestyles depending on their species.
Their species do not swim on the back to cross the pond or water lake. Some of them use their tail as rudders and swim on the back to move fast.
North American red squirrels swim on the back to navigate quickly in their water. In addition, fox squirrels and gray squirrels keep their head and chest above the water’s surface when they swim.
How do squirrels swim on their back?
Squirrels maintain their body posture while floating on their back. They keep their head, front paws, and chest above the water surface to keep them dry.
They maintain their body position in a slightly arched manner to keep the upper body portion above the water levels. The arched body position also helps them to maintain buoyancy in lakes and ponds.
They use the hind legs as the paddle, allowing forward movement. In addition, the up and down movement of the hind legs enables them to move forward quickly.
In addition, these animals use their tails as rudders to maintain stability and move in different directions. Swimming on the back is a fast and efficient method of crossing the lakes and ponds.
In addition, animals can also conserve their body energy by moving through this method.
Why do squirrels swim in water?
Squirrels are good swimmers but do not prefer to enter the water. Therefore, they can only enter the lakes and ponds in emergencies and as a part of their defensive mechanism.
They can cross the ponds and lakes to find food. They use scents and grunting sounds to communicate with other colony members.
They move through ponds if their colony members give them enough information about food sources’ presence.
They only swim according to their needs and defensive mechanism. These are foraging animals and enter the water to expand their foraging opportunities.
Vegetative plants, debris, and fallen fruits float on the water. These food sources attract them, and they go there to collect food and save them for later use.
Fox and dogs are the natural predators of these animals, and they do not get inside the water. Squirrels enter the water when they see any of these predators in their surroundings to save their life and decrease danger risk.