How Long Do Squirrels Live? Check Out This Ultimate Guide

How Long Do Squirrels Live? Check Out This Ultimate Guide

I don’t think many people could answer this question without a bit more research! There are so many species of squirrels, there is no way I could cover all of them in one article or even ten articles. However, this article is a good start to take a look into many different types of squirrels and give you a general idea about their life expectancy. So, let’s get down to it and see, How Long Do Squirrels Live and If it was up to me, they would live forever!

Type of Squirrel
Wild
Domesticated
Abert’s Squirrelnot enough data7 years
American Red Squirrel 1-3 years 8-9 years
Chipmunks2-5 years8-10 years
Douglas Squirrel5-6 yearsnot enough data
Eastern Grey Squirrel6-12 years20 years
Eurasian Red Squirrel3-7 years10 years
Flying Squirrels2-3 years5 years
Fox Squirrels8-13 years18 years
Ground Squirrels7-12 yearsnot enough data
Western Grey Squirrel7-8 years15 years
Chart of squirrel lifespan for domesticated and wilds
Squirrels are naturally wild and are not domesticated.
They do not make good pets and should always be released back to nature if at all possible!

How Long do Abert Squirrels Live?

Abert’s squirrel is named after a man who wanted to map the entire United States. Colonel John James Abert was an American naturalist and military officer who headed the Corps of Topographical Engineers, working from 1857-1874. Abert’s squirrel is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus that has been seen throughout Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. It lives primarily among mature ponderosa pine forests. They are identifiable by their tufted ears, gray color, pale underparts with dark spots on the lower back.

  • The Abert Squirrels do not have enough data to estimate the lifespan of living in the wild. However, in captivity (domesticated), one lived to be 7 years old.
how long do squirrels live - albert squirrel
Albert squirrel

How Long do American Red Squirrels Live?

  • The American Red Squirrel lives an estimated 1-3 years in the wild and 8-9 years in captivity (domesticated).
  • The Douglas Squirrel is the cousin to the American Red Squirrel.

The American Red Squirrel is also known as the pine squirrel, chickaree, and Hudson Bay squirrel. This type of squirrel inhabits the northeastern United States and Canada. The species has been known to get confused with its Eurasian counterpart (Eurasian Red Squirrel), but these two animals are, in fact, quite different from one another, and their species do not overlap. Erxleben cataloged the squirrel for the first time in 1771 in Hudson Bay, back when it was still called New Holland-or what we know as modern-day Canada.

How Long do Chipmunks Live?

  • The Chipmunk lives an estimated 2-5 years in the wild and 8-10 years in captivity (domesticated).

The common name originally may have been spelled “chitmunk,” from the native Odawa (Ottawa) word jidmoonh, meaning “red squirrel” (cf. Ojibwe). The earliest form cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is “chipmonk”. Other early forms include chipmuck and chipminck, while in the 1830’s they were referred to as “Chip Squirrels,” probably referring to their signature sound around 1830.

There are many types of chipmunks, but the most common is the Agouti chipmunk. They have reddish-brown fur on their upper body and five dark brown stripes contrasting with light brown stripes along their back, ending in a dark tail. It has lighter fur on the lower part of its body.

It has a tawny stripe that runs from its whiskers to below its ears, and light stripes over its eyes. This particular chipmunk (Agouti) has two fewer teeth than other chipmunks.

Chipmunks have five toes on their back paws and four fingers on the front paws. Young babies also have a fifth digit that is just a stub of thumb, which scientists believe has some purpose for them at birth but they lose it as they get older.

how long do squirrels live - chipmunk
Chipmunk Courtesy of @Sandy_Grant777 on IG

How Long do Douglas Squirrels Live?

  • The Douglas Squirrel lives an estimated 5-6 years in the wild, and there is insufficient data for an estimate on the captive (domesticated) lifespan.
  • The American Red Squirrel is a cousin to the Douglas Squirrel.
Douglas squirrel

The Douglas Squirrel lives in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and on parts of Canada’s coastline; it has a range that extends from northern California to southern British Columbia.

Native Americans called this little creature “Pilllllooeet” after hearing its distinctive alarm call.

The Douglas Squirrel is the cousin to the American Red Squirrel. Sometimes they are known as the chickaree or pine squirrel, although these names are also used for the American red squirrel.

They have distinctive white eye-rings, and they are covered with brown fur during this season. But what about when it turns to summer?

In contrast to their dark coat of hair in the fall months, these creatures turn greyish or almost green on their backs while retaining that orange coloration around their belly. Their ear hair also appears more tufted in the winter.

How Long do Eastern Gray Squirrels Live?

  • The Eastern Gray Squirrel lives an estimated 6-12 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity (domesticated).
  • The Eastern Gray Squirrel is a cousin to the Fox Squirrel.

The Eastern Gray Squirrel, also known as the grey squirrel depending on region, is a tree squirrel. It lives mainly east of North America, where it’s an important natural forest regenerator.

This squirrel has been widely introduced into Europe and elsewhere; this species has been designated as invasive by some organizations since 2016. This implies that this species cannot be imported, bred, transported, commercialized, or intentionally released into the environment in Europe.

The Eastern Gray Squirrel is native to the eastern and midwestern United States and southern regions of Canada. The native range for this species overlaps with that of its cousin, the fox squirrel. However, the Fox Squirrel’s range is a bit more to the West.

how long do squirrels live - eastern gray squirrel
Zim an Eastern Gray Squirrel, @Zimethesquirrel on IG

How Long do Eurasian Red Squirrels Live?

  • The Eurasian Red Squirrel lives an estimated 3-7 years in the wild and 10 years in captivity (domesticated).
how long do squirrels live - Euroasian red squirrel
Eurasian Red squirrel

Red squirrels are always clad in a coat of red fur, but the shade can vary depending on where they live and what time of year it is.

In Great Britain, coats range from deep blood-red to light orange, while other countries like Russia have abundant black or grey shades.

The red squirrel changes its coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat to the thicker, darker winter one.

It sheds its lighter hair and grows in dark fur with noticeably larger ear-tufts (a prominent distinguishing feature of this species). The shedding happens from August until November when it becomes white again for camouflage against the bark of pine trees as snow falls on them. This camouflage is how they stay hidden during hibernation season!

Emma, a Euro-Asian Squirrel (Red Squirrel), courtesy of Squirrel_Emma on IG

How Long do Flying Squirrels Live?

  • The Flying Squirrel lives an estimated 2-3 years in the wild and 5 years in captivity (domesticated).
how long do squirrels live - flying squirrel
Haku, a Flying Squirrel @ZimtheSquirrel on IG

Flying squirrels are fascinating creatures. They are not capable of flight in the same way as birds or bats, but they have unique anatomy which allows them to glide from one tree to another. With their patagium, furry parachute-like membrane stretching from wrist to ankle, and long tails providing stability in flight, flying squirrels look very similar anatomically to other kinds of rodents like chipmunks, for example.

The limb bones on these small creatures can be up two times longer, while hand bones, foot bone size are shortened by about 40%. This adaptation allows its limbs to steer/control how fast and where he will land when gliding through the air!

Originating some 18–20 million years ago, most are nocturnal creatures that eat fruit, seeds, buds, flowers, and various insects such as spiders or beetles. The young are born naked, but by 5 weeks old, they’re practicing gliding skills with a practice runway made of twigs, so at 10 weeks, they are ready to leave the nest. Can you imagine sending off your baby at 10 weeks old?

How Long Do Fox Squirrels Live?

how long do squirrels live - fox squirrel eating almond
  • The Fox Squirrel lives an estimated 8-13 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity (domesticated).
  • The Fox Squirrel is a cousin to the Eastern Gray Squirrel.

One of the most interesting and vibrant species is called fox squirrels. My friend, a rehabber told me they are nicknamed the “gentle giants” because they are bigger than most tree squirrels.

These creatures are sometimes mistaken for American red squirrels or eastern gray squirrels in areas where they co-exist, but there’s no denying their beauty! They have a beautiful coat that ranges from brown to black with a brownish-orange underside, with their tail often spanning shades of yellowish orange on one end and dark chocolate at its other tip.

The fox squirrel (also known as an Eastern Fox Squirrel) has been given many names throughout history, including “Bryant’s Fox Squirrel.” French settlers first observed it at Port Royal Island in Nova Scotia back around the 1730s-1740s.

How Long Do Ground Squirrels Live?

  • The Ground Squirrel lives an estimated 7-12 years in the wild, and there is not enough data for an estimate in captivity (domesticated).
how long do squirrels live - ground squirrel
Mr. Winston Hijinks courtesy of @mr_winston_hijinks on IG

The ground squirrel is a fascinating animal that inhabits all sorts of dry and otherwise uninviting habitats. They are medium-sized animals with bushy tails which have been seen everywhere from the desert to urban parks.

The larger ones (genus Marmota) tend to be called marmots or prairie dogs, while “chipmunks” tend to refer more aptly to smaller, less bushy-tailed versions.

They will often stand on their hind legs to see danger in the distance or if they are trying to get above tall grasses. When this happens, it curls its paw against its chest and screeches loudly for other members of the family who may be nearby that there’s something dangerous around them too!

Ground squirrels live on or in the ground rather than trees. They have adapted to their habitat and primarily nest underground, but they can also be found living near homes with a mixture of grassy areas and woodlands.

The grayish-brown critters with bushy tails scurry around fields chattering loudly when approached by predators.

Abert’s squirrel is named after a man who wanted to map the entire United States. Colonel John James Abert was an American naturalist and military officer who headed the Corps of Topographical Engineers, working from 1857-1874. Abert’s squirrel is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus that has been seen throughout Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. It lives primarily among mature ponderosa pine forests. They are identifiable by their tufted ears, gray color, pale underparts with dark spots on the lower back.

How Long Do Squirrels Live: Western Gray?

  • The Western Gray Squirrel lives an estimated 7-8 years in the wild and 15 years in captivity (domesticated).
how long do squirrels live - western gray squirrel

The Western Gray squirrel is found on the Western Coast of the United States and Mexico. It’s also known as the Silver Gray Squirrel, California Gray Squirrel, Oregon Grey Squirrell, the Columbian Gray Squirrel, and the Banner-Tailed Squirrel. The Western Gray Squirrel is the largest tree squirrel in the the Sierra Nevada and Central California range.

The squirrel has silvery-gray fur on its backside while having an all-white belly and beautiful bushy blackish-grey tail lined in pure white hair.

In 1818, George Ord described the western gray squirrel based on notes from Lewis and Clark’s travels. The first sighting was in Oregon at a region called Dalles, where they observed bushy tail-less pelts of varying colors emerge from tree branches to feed on pine nuts during the winter months.

They inhabit pine forests on mountain slopes and oak woodlands near streams or rivers at higher elevations up to 8,000 feet.

The Western Gray Squirrel is active during the day and they are secretive and mysterious choosing to stay away from humans. However, they are hit by cars often because of their inexperience with human behavior. Western Greys typically live in oak or conifer forests traveling through interconnected tree canopies where their favorite treat seems to be pine cones.

In recent years, the Western grey squirrel has steadily disappeared from various ecosystems due to competition with other squirrel species.

Conclusion

As you can see now, the answer to “How Long Do Squirrels Live” is not so straightforward. Squirrels like other wild animals tend to have a shorter lifespan in the wild rather than one in captivity (domesticated). The factors that influence a short life in the wild are due to water and food supply, weather, and predators. If you would like more information on squirrels, check out this article about squirrel hibernation.

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6 thoughts on “How Long Do Squirrels Live? Check Out This Ultimate Guide”

  1. Love this article! Such a great information for squirrel lover. If it’s possible, pls write the Ep2 of Asian squirrels. Maybe, Finlayson squirrels.

    Can’t wait to see!

    Reply
    • Thank you Por, Yes..you knew I was interested when I asked what the squirrels at your park were called!! I will place that topic on the list. Thanks so much for reading.

      Reply

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