What is the Life Expectancy of a Squirrel?

What is the Life Expectancy of a Squirrel?

Squirrels can live anywhere from a few years to over 15 years. It all depends on the squirrel and its living conditions. These crafty creatures have managed to thrive across the globe, regardless of their habitat and climate. Squirrels are quick learners, adaptable problem solvers, and key members of the ecosystem in many regions. If you’re curious about the life expectancy of a squirrel, you won’t be disappointed by what we have to tell you.

life expectancy of a squirrel - squirrel on rock
Eastern Grey squirrel

These small mammals are very resilient and can make it to old age if they are lucky enough to dodge predators, disease, and other hazards that come with living in nature—that is if they have plenty of food and shelter every season of the year.

life expectancy of a squirrel
Life Expectancy of a Squirrel – an estimate

Are Squirrels Omnivores?

Squirrels are omnivores that can survive on both plants and animals. Their diet is very diverse and depends on the season, habitat, and even the weather. Squirrels are known to eat nuts, fruits, flowers, seeds, bark, fungi, bird eggs, lizards, rodents, amphibians, fish, and even insects.

life expectancy of a squirrel - red squirrel
Red Squirrel

They also have a taste for human food such as corn, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and even dog food! Squirrels are very unique in their eating habits because they can gather food throughout the year, even during the harshest winters when food is scarce.

How they do this is by storing food (nuts and acorns, primarily) and eating insects, larvae, and fungi. Insects are especially important to squirrels’ diet because they are high in protein and can be eaten even when there is no other food available.

Why Do Squirrels Scavenge?

Squirrels are scavengers by nature. They are creatures of opportunity, and knowing how to find food is one of their greatest survival skills. When there is a sudden influx of squirrel populations, it is usually due to a food shortage.

When squirrels are hungry, they will forage for anything edible, including your garden produce and ornamental plants. When food is scarce, squirrels will seek out other sources of sustenance, including waste from humans and other animals. That is why they occasionally show up at restaurants or grocery stores, searching for crumbs or scraps of food that people have tossed out.

life expectancy of a squirrel - easter grey squirrel

How Long Do Baby Squirrels Stay with their Mom?

Baby squirrels are called kittens. Kittens are born blind, deaf, and with closed eyes. They are dependent on their mother for food and warmth. The kittens stay with the mother for about five weeks until they can fend for themselves.

They will stay with their mother for about 12 weeks if there is a harsh winter. Once the weather warms up, the kittens are chased out of their nest and find a place in the wild to start their clans. Kittens are independent enough to fend for themselves after two months.

True to their wild nature, these baby squirrels grow up to be adult squirrels that can live up to five years or more in the wild. But occasionally, a lucky squirrel will live to be 10 years old.

life expectancy of a squirrel - baby eastern grey squirrel
photo courtesy of @pipthebabysquirrel on IG

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Squirrel?

The average lifespan or life expectancy for a squirrel varies greatly depending on their living conditions and diet. Squirrels in captivity tend to live longer than their free-roaming counterparts.

The most common species of squirrels are the gray squirrel and Douglas squirrel, which live up to 10 years in captivity, provided they are fed a healthy diet. The Indian giant squirrel can reach up to 40 years old if it is in captivity.

Wild squirrel lifespan is usually shorter because there is more risk of disease and death due to predators. The red squirrel and the Siberian squirrel are threatened species and are rarely found in captivity.

Does a Squirrel Bite Hurt?

You might be asking yourself this question if you have ever been bitten by a squirrel. The truth is it sure hurts! Squirrels are very aggressive animals when they feel threatened, and they will go as far as gnawing on your fingers to protect themselves. Squirrels will also bite when they are being handled by humans if they aren’t used to it.

Don’t worry about squirrel rabies. A squirrel carrying rabies is extremely rare. Read all about squirrel rabies.

Other Interesting Facts About Squirrels

Squirrels live in trees and dens. They have a very keen sense of smell, hearing, and sight. They are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Squirrels have teeth that never stop growing. They have a high metabolism, which burns up energy quickly. Squirrels are highly adaptive to different habitats.

Conclusion

These small mammals are very resilient and can make it to old age if they are lucky enough to dodge predators, disease, and other hazards that come with living in nature—that is if they have plenty of food and shelter every season of the year.

Squirrels are one of the most interesting and adorable species of rodents. These little creatures have a lot to offer in terms of ecology, diet, and behavior. If you ever see a squirrel, be respectful of its space because it is a wild animal after all. Squirrels are a joy to watch and even more fun to feed. They can provide hours of entertainment, and they are a nice addition to your backyard. You just have to make sure they don’t overstay their welcome and start eating your plants!

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