Can Squirrels Swim Underwater Naturally?

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Squirrels are agile animals that can deal with new situations or changes quickly and successfully. They have no trouble climbing a tree or a fence. Even while squirrels are capable of numerous astonishing feats, their swimming ability rarely receives attention. So the question is Can Squirrels Swim Underwater?

Squirrels can swim underwater, although they are not great swimmers. Red squirrels can swim with a doggy paddle stroke while steering with their tails. Because their gliding webbing causes them trouble in the water, flying squirrels are much weaker swimmers.

Although Squirrels are not good swimmers, squirrels can often be seen swimming across lakes and other big bodies of water. To learn more interesting details about Squirrels swimming underwater, continue reading the article below.

Do Squirrels Know How To Swim?

Yes, Squirrels can swim in times of need, but they are not particularly skilled at it. In deciding the way of their swim, the species of Squirrels play an important part.

Flying squirrels might not be very adept swimmers, but red squirrels can swim by using their tails as a rudder. While swimming underwater, their gliding webbing typically presents them with significant challenges.

They can’t effectively drive the water away due to their flaps. They attempt to avoid this condition as much as they can because it causes them a lot of problems underwater.

Squirrels are not the best swimmers, although we frequently see them around lakes and across pongs. They use the dog paddle technique when swimming to get from one place to another.

But these agile animals may be entertaining to watch when they’re submerged.

How Long Can Squirrels Swim?

Although squirrels can swim for extended periods underwater, their gliding webbing and other rudder traits may provide them with a variety of challenges.

They can swim for a very long period because they even migrate using water. However, they eventually become worn out and require a place to rest.

People have experienced seeing large groups of squirrels swimming across rivers and lakes throughout history. Squirrels reproduce more frequently when there are lots of acorns available.

The following year, too many squirrels move away in search of new homes due to an overpopulation of them in the neighborhood. Occasionally, they would have to cross a body of water when migrating.

A red squirrel was once caught on camera attempting to swim 300 kilometers across a lake, but it gave up after that. Because they are not good swimmers but can swim when needed.

Therefore, you can understand that they can swim but they cannot stay underwater for very long.

Can Squirrels Drown?

Animal intelligence exists in squirrels. They concentrate on improving their swimming abilities because they are not very good at it when they swim underwater. However, sometimes, certain scenarios might result in accidental drowning amidst squirrels.

In recent years, there have been numerous cases of humans purposely drowning squirrels to conduct experiments or get rid of them. It is said that submerging them in water will result in their demise within 30 seconds to 5 minutes, approximately.

Since squirrels might find swimming pools particularly difficult for themselves, they might also drown in them. They prefer dry soil over water because the chance of drowning there is higher.

Additionally, it has been stated that squirrels may face a significant risk of drowning in choppy water.

How Fast Can Squirrels Swim?

Although they are not great swimmers, squirrels can move very quickly. Numerous squirrels have been observed swimming two kilometers at a time. However, how they swim and whether it is convenient for them can also affect how quickly they move.

However, if an animal is after them or they need to move rapidly to a new location, their speed may increase. This is because they want to survive and don’t want to get caught by predator.

To save themselves from a predator, they use their fast-moving skill to run quickly from them.

But their major problem is that they have trouble swimming properly for extended periods while using their gliding webbing. They may swim inconveniently slowly because of this. So this may be the reason for the hurdle to them.

Can Squirrels Swim On Their Back?

Squirrels are well recognized for being able to swim on their backs despite being land mammals. Like a dog, they are capable of paddling in the water, and some species even use their tails as paddles.

Although squirrels can swim, their technique is not as efficient as a dog’s, and if they are not given enough rest, they can easily become tired and even drown.

Squirrels swim on their backs as a defense mechanism against larger predators. They may have to cross water during their migration to reach their new home. They can swim on their backs, but swimming can lead them to quickly become exhausted.

Another necessary skill for survival in the environment is the capacity to swim on their backs. For their survival, they must swim on their back.

They need to avoid getting savored by larger predators to survive on this planet. That’s why they mostly prefer to swim on their back.

How Long Can a Squirrel Live Without Water?

Like every other animal on the planet, squirrels also need water to survive.  Although they don’t need as much as humans do, squirrels may need some water.

A squirrel without access to water risks dying if its dehydration level rises above 10%. This level of dehydration may take 2-3 days in adult squirrels and 1-2 days in young squirrels.

Although squirrels stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water in the summer. They can typically last 5 to 8 days without food, however, they require water daily to drink.

Squirrels do not, however, need water when they hibernate during the winter. It may therefore go without food or water for up to 8 months when hibernating.

For these creatures, swimming and bathing are quite different things. Due to their preference for dry land, squirrels frequently dislike the concept of swimming.

They may therefore go for a long period without it until they need to swim for a crucial cause. The causes could include things like migration, looking for food, safety concerns, and more.

Do Squirrels Like Water?

Squirrels may not be completely enamored with water, even though they use it for drinking, bathing, and swimming. Given all the evidence, it is reasonable to assume that they may not enjoy the water.

The majority of squirrels struggle to swim underwater, which causes them the worst discomfort. Flying Squirrel is an example.

Moreover, squirrels do not simply appear near water for no reason. When necessary, they prefer to swim rather than dive underwater. They could unintentionally drown when fleeing from predators or searching for food.

They may even swim across at times when they go from one place to another. Thus, they only use water in the most desperate situations.

Squirrels may frequently need to move in search of a new home. When they are in need, you might find them swimming for a longer time at that moment. But only the famous water-skiing Squirrel appears to be having fun in water bodies. 

 Do Squirrels Take Baths?

Yes, Squirrels take baths. But Instead of bathing in water to clean their fur and keep parasites at bay, squirrels prefer to take a dust bath. Squirrels roll in the ground, twisting and turning as they scrub their coats of dirt, hair, and extra oils.

Squirrels have extraordinarily dense coats that, if washed with water, might take a very long time to dry.

They will roll in the sand and dry earth until their fur is coated in fine dust when they come across an area with such conditions. However, bathing water is not always accessible.

Additionally, a lot of creatures avoid the water when it’s outside their natural habitat. Dust offers a good replacement.

As the squirrel bathes, the extra oils are absorbed by dust or sand and can be shaken from the coat. It is possible to employ freshly released oils to moisturize the skin and coat by removing old oil and loose hair.


To summarize, Squirrels can swim, however, they generally avoid swimming unless there is a particular circumstance. Squirrels won’t swim unless they have a compelling reason to, whether it’s to defend themselves, get food, or migrate. Due to their preference for dry land, squirrels often dislike the concept of swimming.

As a result, they can go for a long period without it before they need to swim for an important purpose. Whereas, the majority of the squirrels, specifically the red, fox, and gray squirrels, swim using a doggy paddle stroke while using their tail as a rudder. For squirrels, using the dog paddle requires energy, thus they don’t swim unless necessary.

Although the answer is yes, a squirrel can swim across a river or lake, it is not preferable.  A squirrel will look for a different way to go across the lake. Additionally, a squirrel who is exhausted is more likely to fall into the water than to rest.


Ryan A. Long, Timothy J. Martin, Brian M. Barnes, Body Temperature and Activity Patterns in Free-Living Arctic Ground SquirrelsJournal of Mammalogy, Volume 86, Issue 2, 15 April 2005

JENTINK, F. Squirrels Crossing Water. Nature 23, 388 (1881)