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Do Squirrels Die from Falling? 3 Facts You Didn’t Know

The chances are that you have observed squirrels bouncing from tree to tree in busy parks and streets. Well, what if they fall? Can they die from falling? 

Normally, these are the kind of questions that crisscross an individual’s mind after catching sight of such scenery.

Keep reading to find out if squirrels can really die from falling.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. Linda. Read more about our knowledge control process here.

Do Squirrels Die from Falling?

Despite their habitual tendency of darting about heights, particularly on treetops and rooftops, squirrels rarely die from falling. However, they are susceptible to multiple injuries and sometimes none in case of a fall. 

Let’s find out why.

Squirrels have a small body size with approximate weights of anything between 400 – 700g; thus, a significantly low terminal velocity – the fastest an object can fall due to air drag. 

A squirrel’s surface area to body mass ratio is quite high; thus, they can control their falling and survive a crash.

A squirrel will most likely survive an impact from any height it falls from.

do squirrels die from falling
Squirrels have a small body size with approximate weights of anything between 400 – 700g.
Thus, they have a significantly low terminal velocity and will not die if fall.

Can Squirrels Fall from a Tree and Die?

Naturally, squirrels are intelligent creatures and limit their habitats to trees of manageable heights. Consequently, you will never find a squirrel residing in very high treetops. So, do they ever fall from trees?

Yes, squirrels often lose their grip when scampering across treetops, leading them to tumble down through branches and twigs and eventually strike the ground

Death only occurs when squirrels get impaled by a branch or from a predator.

In most cases, conversely, squirrels are innately built to resist falling. They usually spread their legs wide open and inflate their bodies like parachutes when falling to resist the air drag. 

It gives them time to focus on their landing spot, allowing them to land softly without grave consequences.

How Do Squirrels Land after They Jump?

Squirrels are highly flexible; they are therefore capable of guiding their fall to land on their feet. So, how are they able to do that?

The secret lies in the structure of their bodies and, preferably, how they use certain body features.

First, squirrels have small and elastic body sizes, which help them in regulating air resistance.

Their bushy tails help them steer and control their movement in the air, whereas their limbs modify the force of inertia needed for landing on their feet. So simple!

Similarly, jumping may differ across heights, but landing for a squirrel is the same regardless of the height it is falling from. This is because the same principles apply whenever a squirrel is undergoing a fall.

A squirrel landing with its forelegs
When squirrels jump or fall from a tree, the first part of their body that touches the ground or another tree they jumped to is their forelegs. Hardly will they lose control of their landing.

How Do Nest Squirrels Die?

Just like every other living organism, Nest squirrels also die at some point. Reasons for demise vary from diseases, predation, and poisoning.

Similarly, old and injured squirrels may die out of starvation because of their inability to fetch food for themselves.

However, nest squirrels are likely to die in their nests from natural or artificial causes. Shockingly, a starving squirrel may even feed on other squirrels.

When a nesting squirrel dies, nature gets to work in the form of scavengers and predators to get rid of the body in a short time. This is why it is hard to come across a dead squirrel.

Are Squirrels Smart Enough to Avoid Traps?

Yes, squirrels are clever creatures, and they can learn to avoid traps. Likewise, trapping squirrels can be difficult as it requires skill and proper equipment.

Knowing the type of squirrel you are dealing with can also be essential in trapping them. Note that traps can be ineffective if they are not set up correctly or if the bait in the trap is foreign to a squirrel. 

The most effective traps when dealing with squirrels are one-way exclusion doors and live cage traps.

A squirrel carefully observes the food to be sure it’s not a trap [source: Happy Concepts]

What to Do with A Dying Squirrel?

It is doubtful that you will come across a dying squirrel, but it is not impossible. So, what, are you supposed to do if you ever encounter a helpless, dying squirrel?

Step #1: Put on Gloves When Handling A Dying Squirrel. 

It would be best if you minimized physical contact with the dying animal as it may spread diseases.

Step #2: Warming the Squirrel

Please find a way to keep the squirrel warm, for example, by placing it on a pile of old clothes that are no longer being used. Moreover, consider keeping it in a quiet place away from danger.

Step #3: Contact Wildlife Rehabilitator

Lastly, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or take it to the nearest rehabilitation center if there is one nearby.

How Do You Humanely Kill Dying Squirrels?

While it is practically inhumane to kill a squirrel, sometimes it is necessary to relieve the animal of suffering and physical pain. Different methods are available for eliminating squirrels, but the preference chosen should always bring diminutive distress to the animal.

The best way of getting rid of a squirrel is by shooting and killing it on the spot. However, a skilled person should carry out the shooting.

Another method is by using spring traps which are also designed to kill quicker.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, squirrels are fascinating creatures that are associated with scampering around at great heights. Their chances of falling and hitting the ground are minimal but possible. 

They are, however, built and structured in a way that they can control their fall and landing. Nevertheless, these cute little animals can die if they happen to hit solid ground after falling from a great height.

It is recommended to call for help from the nearest wildlife rehabilitators if you ever come across a dying or an already dead squirrel.

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