Can squirrels swim

Can Squirrels Swim?

Can squirrels swim? Squirrels are cute, furry creatures that are commonly found in forests, parks, and backyards. While they are known for their amazing climbing and jumping abilities, many people wonder whether squirrels can swim. In this article, we will explore this question and provide you with everything you need to know about squirrels and swimming.


Squirrels are fascinating animals that belong to the rodent family. They are known for their bushy tails, big eyes, and sharp claws that help them climb trees and scurry around on the ground. Squirrels are great at adapting to their environment, and they can be found all over the world in a variety of habitats. But can squirrels swim?

Physical Characteristics of Squirrels

Before we answer the question of whether squirrels can swim, let’s take a look at some of the physical characteristics of squirrels. Squirrels are relatively small animals, usually weighing between 0.5 and 1 pound. They have a long bushy tail that is used for balance, communication, and warmth. Squirrels have sharp teeth that never stop growing, so they need to gnaw on things constantly to keep them filed down. They also have sharp claws that allow them to climb trees and grip onto objects.

Can squirrels swim
Can squirrels swim

Can Squirrels Swim?

The short answer is yes, squirrels can swim. However, not all squirrels are great swimmers, and some are better than others. Most squirrels are not aquatic animals, and they prefer to stay on dry land or in trees. However, if they need to cross a body of water to get to food or escape danger, they are capable of swimming.

Squirrels swim using a doggy-paddle-like motion, using their front legs to paddle while their hind legs are held against their body. Their bushy tails help them to stay afloat and steer in the water. While squirrels can swim, they are not built for it like some other animals such as ducks or beavers. Therefore, they can tire quickly and may struggle to swim long distances.

Why Do Squirrels Swim?

Squirrels swim for a variety of reasons. One reason is for survival. Squirrels are prey animals, and they need to escape from predators such as snakes, foxes, and birds of prey. If a squirrel is being chased and needs to cross a body of water to escape, it will swim.

Squirrels also swim to find food. They are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. If a squirrel spots a food source on the other side of a body of water, it may swim across to get it.

Finally, squirrels may swim for fun. Squirrels are known for their playful behavior, and they may enjoy swimming just for the fun of it.

Do All Squirrels Swim?

Not all squirrels are great swimmers, and some are better than others. The ability to swim can vary depending on the species of squirrel and the environment they live in. Tree squirrels, for example, are not as good at swimming as ground squirrels. Flying squirrels are not great swimmers either, as their wings do not work in the water.

Can Squirrels Drown?

Yes, squirrels can drown. While they are capable of swimming, they are not built for it like some other animals. If a squirrel becomes tired or is struggling to swim, it may drown. Additionally, if a squirrel falls into deep water and is unable to climb out or find a way to safety, it may also drown.


In conclusion, squirrels can swim, but not all squirrels are great swimmers. They swim using a doggy-paddle-like motion and use their bushy tails to stay afloat and steer in the water. Squirrels swim for a variety of reasons, including to escape predators, find food, and for fun. However, they are not built for swimming and can tire quickly, which may lead to drowning.

If you ever come across a squirrel in the water, it’s best to leave it alone and let it swim to safety on its own. If you feel like the squirrel is in danger and needs assistance, contact a wildlife rescue organization for help.

In summary, squirrels are fascinating creatures that can adapt to various environments, including swimming. While they may not be the best swimmers, they can certainly hold their own in the water when needed. So next time you see a squirrel near a body of water, you’ll know that it’s capable of swimming if it needs to.

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