Squirrels are renowned for their agility. They can jump in the blink of an eye to a tree top and from one branch to another, but how high can squirrels jump?
The squirrels can jump up to seven feet from the ground and onto a tree. They can even jump from the house to the bird feeders. However, their descending distance exceeds their ascending height.
They can jump down from a height of 9 feet. In this article, we will look at the different sizes to which a squirrel can jump and from what height can they survive a fall and not get hurt from the impact.
How High Can Squirrels Jump Vertically?
The highest distance that a squirrel can jump is about 4 feet. This is the distance that has been calculated for the eastern gray squirrel. However, there have been reports of squirrels jumping up to seven feet. This varies from squirrel to squirrel and largely depends on the size of the squirrel making the jump.
How are squirrels able to jump up so high? Well, the answer is quite simple. The squirrels are sprightly and quickly defy the force of gravity that weighs them down. You often see that a squirrel does not need a running start to make such high jumps.
Squirrels have many anatomical adaptations that allow their bodies to jump up on the tree.
They do so for the following reasons:
- To get to the food source
- To reach their nesting areas in the trees
- To escape predators
- How High Can Squirrels Jump From The Ground
So far, we have read that squirrels can jump up to several feet from the ground. They mainly do this to reach the nearest branch of the tree directly. A squirrel’s body has many adaptations that facilitate it to cover long distances vertically.
They have strong hind legs, which are longer than their front ones. This gives them a powerful force to propel themselves forward.
They can only produce this force because their bodies are very light and small. Squirrels have a sensitive nature, and they are eager to get to their desired destination.
Squirrels have a double-jointed hind leg through which they can reverse the direction of their paw. This gives them the remarkable ability to run up and down the length of a tree trunk.
How Far Can Squirrels Jump Horizontally?
The maximum speed for a running squirrel has been recorded to be 12 miles per hour. As per this speed, the eastern gray squirrel can jump and cover a distance of about 9 feet which is 2.7 meters to be exact.
However, the squirrel needs a little running start to make this jump. The best fact about squirrels is that these agile creatures can have a grip on many different surfaces.
They possess sharp claws. Though they may seem very little, they facilitate the squirrel a lot while it is busy making its jumps. This also helps the squirrel land properly right after it has jumped horizontally from the previous surface to the next one.
Think about it: the squirrels jump from one branch to another very quickly and have to do this several times a day. These very claws help them cling to the woody groves on the surface of the tree.
How Far Can Squirrels Jump From Tree To Tree?
A squirrel’s average distance from tree to tree is about 5 to 7 feet. This is their limit, and they cannot achieve more than this distance. Although if you start considering many strides, the squirrels will have covered a lot of distance in no time.
It may seem like they are running, but they take considerable leaps to cover a long distance in a concise time frame. The average weight of an adult squirrel is 500g. Their size varies with their species.
For instance, the African Pygmy Squirrel has a length of about 5 inches, while the Indian Giant Squirrel is about 3 feet long from nose to tail!
A squirrel is ten times smaller than a human being, which gives them the ability to carry its small weight much better than most organisms.
How High Can Flying Squirrels Jump?
Flying squirrels have distinct characteristics that set them apart from the rest. The flying squirrels do not need to jump as they can fly! The flying squirrels can glide through the air by using the thin membrane that stretches between their front and hind limbs.
These squirrels have a bushy tail that maintains their balance, much like the birds that fly through the air. This gives them all the stability they need for their flight. The longest reported distance has been 90 meters or 300 feet.
The northern flying squirrel is known for traveling long distances. With the help of their wings, they can parachute for 150 feet, about 46 meters from one tree to another.
The flying squirrels use their wings for the same purpose the other squirrels use their feet. They fly to escape predators at night, look for food and return to their resting areas when the sun rises.
How High Can Gray Squirrels Jump?
The gray squirrels can cover a distance of up to 9 feet. Do you know what is interesting about this? This measurement is the height of a 7-year-old child on average.
They can jump at least 4 feet from the ground, the typical distance for any squirrel. We have read that squirrels love jumping from one place to another. Can this jumping possibly be a problem for us?
Yes, this can be a problem in many ways. For instance, squirrels are attracted to the bird feeders in the yard or garden. Often, in their attempt to land on a bird feeder, they end up making a mess out of it.
What you can do is guard your bird feeders or make sure that they are not directly under the tree. You can also do a few calculations to put your bird feeders at a safe distance and out of the reach of squirrels.
How High Can Squirrels Jump For Bird Feeders?
This brings us to the question, how high can the squirrels jump to reach bird feeders? You will be surprised that a squirrel can jump up to 5 feet to get a bird feeder. This is more than their average jump distance.
But why do squirrels need to reach bird feeders? This is because squirrels love to look for tiny seeds on the ground. The debris from feeders attracts them and makes a squirrel leap toward them.
Usually, the bird feeders are placed at a height accessible to birds only. But the squirrels ensure they sneak up on them and invade these feeders to obtain their seeds.
So, what can you do about it? Perhaps the best strategy is to keep the feeders clean; this way, the squirrels are deterred away. This also helps you eliminate uninvited guests,’ i.e., raccoons or rats.
Can A Squirrel Survive A Fall From Any Height?
Squirrels are famous for jumping from a great height, but that does not mean that a squirrel will be able to survive a fall from any height. It depends on the height and the surface on which the character lands.
Usually, when they jump from a height of 100 feet on the concrete floor, they can survive the impact. However, if the height exceeds the threshold of 100 feet, say about 200 feet, then this is too much for the squirrel to survive the fall.
In this case, the squirrel will probably fall to death. You must wonder how squirrels can survive a fall from 100 feet.
Here’s the answer:
The squirrels have cartilage present between their ankles. It is much similar to that of humans. Upon landing, this cartilage prevents the bones from breaking.
Hence, the squirrels can survive the fall to even hard surfaces.
How Far Can A Squirrel Fall Without Being Hurt?
Can you imagine jumping from a seven feet building or a tree and surviving the fall? No, right? It might kill you, and even if you stay, you will have broken bones in your body to carry for the rest of your life. But the squirrels can!
Squirrels are excellent jumpers. The squirrels use their tails as parachutes to ensure a safe landing. This way, they increase the forces of drag acting on their tiny bodies. It helps them survive the impact.
If the height is around 80 to 100 feet, the squirrels can get back up without hurting themselves. The squirrels tense up their bodies and land in such a position that their legs are tightly closed.
That is one of the many reasons why squirrels do not get themselves hurt. Sometimes, however, the fall may be sudden and the squirrel is not able to get itself together. In this case, the squirrel might die due to the crashing impact.
Wrapping It Up
Squirrels are agile creatures always looking for seeds, nuts, fruits, and berries. They love exploring and jumping from one tree top to another. They also jump up and down from the trees. This way, they facilitate their access to food sources.
Nature has equipped the squirrels with the proper adaptation to jump up to several feet without hurting themselves. Similarly, the squirrels can land on their feet from 100 feet and still get back up as if nothing happened.
You must follow the guidelines to protect your bird feeders from squirrel jumps. Otherwise, the squirrels can displace a bird feeder from its location and wreak havoc in your garden.
Lim, S.J., Kim, K.Y., Kim, E.K. et al. Distribution and habitat use of the endangered Siberian flying squirrel Pteromys volans (Rodentia: Sciuridae). j ecology environ 45, 17 (2021)