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Home » Blog » Can Squirrels Swim? An In-depth Exploration of Their Aquatic Abilities 

Can Squirrels Swim? An In-depth Exploration of Their Aquatic Abilities 


Introduction to Squirrel Swimming Capabilities

Squirrels are often seen as agile climbers and gatherers, adept at navigating the trees and urban landscapes to forage for food. However, a lesser-known aspect of their behavior is their ability to swim. This article delves into the squirrels' swimming capabilities, examining the anatomical adaptations that facilitate this skill, the behavioral reasons behind their ventures into water, and the ecological and conservation implications of their swimming abilities.

Squirrels are not anatomically specialized for swimming like ducks or fish. They lack webbed feet or streamlined bodies; however, their strong, muscular hind legs are effective for paddling through the water, so yes, if you were asking if can squirrels swim, the answer is affirmative. Their bushy tails serve multiple purposes: maintaining balance on land and acting as rudders in water. The texture of their fur offers a degree of water resistance, which helps in keeping them buoyant, enabling them to swim with their heads above water for better breathing.

Behavioral Traits: When and Why Do Squirrels Swim?

Swimming is usually a foraging or survival tactic for squirrels. They venture into water bodies primarily when searching for food—like nuts and seeds—or escaping from predators. Species like the gray squirrel are observed more frequently in water, indicating an adaptive behavior in environments where water bodies are prevalent. This shows squirrels' keen ability to weigh risks and benefits in their environment. 

Ecological Impact and Conservation Opportunities

The swimming squirrels actions also contribute significantly to ecological dynamics. By crossing streams and rivers, they aid in the dispersal of plant seeds, promoting forest regeneration and biodiversity. This aspect of squirrel behavior is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems and offers insights for conservation strategies, particularly in designing urban spaces that accommodate the natural habits of local wildlife.

Challenges and Risks in Aquatic Environments

Despite their capabilities, swimming poses several risks for squirrels, including predation and the physical toll of swimming, which is much greater than that of running or climbing. The energy expended in swimming and the risk of hypothermia, especially in colder waters, are significant challenges that squirrels must navigate.

The Role of Professional Wildlife Management

As urban areas expand and intersect more frequently with natural habitats, managing wildlife interactions becomes crucial. In cases where squirrels, due to their adaptive behaviors, become too close for comfort, or when they pose a risk to themselves or residents, professional intervention may become necessary.

Critter Stop is a highly recommended professional humane wildlife removal company, known for its effective, ethical, and customer-oriented service approach. With outstanding reviews and a commitment to high-quality work, Critter Stop specializes in squirrel removal services. For homeowners experiencing issues with squirrels, whether it's concerns about disease, property damage, or general safety, contacting Critter Stop ensures a humane and effective resolution. Contact us at (214) 234-2616 to learn more about our squirrel removal services and we will be happy to help. 


While swimming squirrels are a fascinating study of nature's adaptability, their presence in urban settings can sometimes lead to conflicts that require professional handling. Understanding these remarkable animals helps us appreciate the complexity of our ecosystems and highlights the importance of responsible wildlife management.

For anyone facing challenges with squirrels, reaching out to Critter Stop can provide peace of mind, knowing that the situation will be handled professionally and ethically.

Frequently Asked Questions

can flying squirrels swim?

Yes, flying squirrels can swim, although swimming is not a common activity for them. Flying squirrels are better known for their gliding capabilities, which allow them to move between trees and across distances in the air. However, like other squirrel species, they possess the ability to swim when necessary.

Flying squirrels use a similar swimming technique to other squirrels, paddling with their legs while using their tail to steer. Their swimming ability is generally utilized in situations of necessity, such as escaping predators or reaching food sources across small bodies of water. Nonetheless, because they are primarily arboreal and adapted to life in the trees, encounters with water are less frequent compared to ground-dwelling squirrels.

can squirrels swim in water?

Yes, squirrels can indeed swim in water. While it's not their most noted skill, squirrels are quite capable swimmers when the need arises. They typically enter water for reasons such as searching for food, escaping predators, or sometimes to travel between areas when necessary.

Physiologically, squirrels swim by paddling with their hind legs and using their tails for balance and steering. Their fur offers some buoyancy, which helps them keep their heads above water. However, swimming is generally seen as a last resort for these animals. Squirrels are more comfortable on land and in trees, and their swimming excursions are usually brief and purpose-driven.

Can squirrels breathe underwater?

No, squirrels cannot breathe underwater. Like most mammals, squirrels need to breathe air to survive and do not have the ability to extract oxygen from water. When they swim, squirrels keep their heads above the water's surface to breathe. If a squirrel were submerged, it would not be able to breathe and could potentially drown if unable to reach the surface quickly. Therefore, while squirrels can swim to navigate across water or escape predators, they always need to maintain access to air.

Can squirrels survive in water?

Squirrels can survive in water for short periods if they need to swim, but they are not aquatic animals and cannot survive in water indefinitely. Their ability to swim is meant for brief and necessary crossings, such as escaping predators or reaching food sources across small bodies of water.

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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