20 Fun Facts About Squirrels

Written by: Luke Ward
Reading time: 3 mins
Last updated: March 30, 2021

Back in 2007, Iran claimed 14 squirrels found near the nation’s borders were actually spies.

Squirrel Facts

Squirrels are amazing creatures, they can leap 10 times their body length and turn their ankles 180 degrees to face any direction when climbing.

They have superb vision, and they learn by quickly copying other animals.

They are not shy of coming out in the daytime, making them one of the rare wild mammals that many of us actually see.

Whether you think they’re a nuisance, or a lovely sight, check out some amazing squirrel facts!

In Greek, the word ‘squirrel’ means ‘shadow tail’.

The most iconic behavior of squirrels is storing nuts and acorns for winter. Which is necessary for the species of squirrel that don’t hibernate.

The hind legs of squirrels are double-jointed, which gives them the ability to run up and down trees very quickly.

A male squirrel can actually smell a female in heat, from up to a mile away.

Mating season for squirrels is from February to May, with a 44-day gestation period. Generally, two to four young are born per litter.

Squirrels have 4 toes on their front feet, which are extremely sharp and used for gripping tree bark whilst climbing. They also have 5 toes on their back feet.

In addition to residing in the Eastern US, Eastern Gray Squirrels can be found in many Western states, United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.

With 285 species of squirrels, they can be found in every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

Squirrels can eat their own body weight every week, which is roughly 1.5 pounds.

Squirrels can fall from 30 meters high, without hurting themselves.

Red Squirrel in the Snow

When jumping, or falling, they use their tail both for balance and as a parachute!

An arctic ground squirrel (a species of ground squirrel native to the Arctic.) is the only warm-blooded mammal able to withstand body temperatures below freezing whilst hibernating.

Squirrels eyes are positioned in a way which allows them to see behind them.

Back in 2007, Iran claimed 14 squirrels found near the nation’s borders were actually spies.

In 2013, authorities shut down camping in Los Angeles National Forest when they found an infected squirrel living there. The infection actually killed a 15-year-old boy from Kyrgyzstan, which he caught from a mountain squirrel. 100 people had to be quarantined so this infection would be contained.

Squirrels are clever creatures and can learn to navigate numerous obstacles to find the most efficient route to food, they’re also rather good at finding shortcuts.

Squirrels can jump a distance of up to 20 feet. They have long, muscular hind legs and short front legs that work together to aid in leaping.

In the 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for the squirrel scene, the squirrels were not CGI, but were actually real life and were professionally trained by The Nut Room Animal trainer Michael Alexander and his team who spent 19 weeks training these squirrels for this one scene.

In 1963, the city of Longview, Washington, has a bridge named Nutty Narrows. The 18 meter (60 ft) long bridge has turned the town into the squirrel-lovers’ capital of America. Longview now holds an annual Squirrel Fest in August every year.

Squirrels have been proven to run at speeds of 20 miles per hour, however generally, most squirrels run half this.

A mischievous looking squirrel facing the camera while having its picture taken

Squirrels are found all over the world except Antarctica and Australia.

We all love seeing squirrels running around, playing, and collecting food.

It’s one of our favorite sights when we go for a pleasant stroll through the woods.

Next time you spot one you can appreciate them even more now you are armored with these 20 incredible squirrel facts.

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  1. Ron Clark September 14, 2019

    I wonder how it was determined that squirrels have excellent vision. Where I live there are dozens of tree squirrels, which I spoil with pounds of peanuts every week. A typical squirrel will walk past a peanut, then turn back as if he smelled the location, rather than seeing it. They appear to locate the peanuts by smell only. I’m puzzled by the excellent vision comment.

  2. Joey August 1, 2019

    This is great news! From the self proclaimed squirrel authority! Take care! Watch for more interesting behavior!