How Long Do Squirrels Live? (it Surprisingly Varies…)

You should know a squirrel’s lifespan if you plan to keep one as a pet or simply want to figure out how long they will live in your yard.

Squirrels come in a wide range of species, so they naturally have varying lifespans.

The lifespan of squirrels in detention is significantly longer than the lifespan of native squirrels. The majority of squirrels do not survive beyond the age of a year.

That’s why we have decided to cover all the essential points in this article related to how long do squirrels live and everything connected with their life span.

So without wasting any further time let’s get started and take a look at one of our most significant topics that are, 

What Is a Squirrel?


Before moving toward any other topic you must need to know what squirrels really are.

So it might shock you but squirrels are both mammals and rodents. So you might be wondering why are they both mammals and rodents so the answer is very simple.

So the squirrels are rodents because they use their strong oversized incisors to chew the foods and they are considered mammals because their body is fully covered in hair and using the mammary glands they provide food to their children.

Throughout the world, squirrels are found in places such as North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Currently, there are around 200 species on the earth, and each of them has its own dietary requirements and habitats.

But in this article, we are specifically focusing on North America’s squirrels. 

Where Do Squirrels Live?

There are three types of squirrels: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. Burrows and nests are common among tree squirrels, which shelter themselves in the crooks of branches.

It is common for ground squirrels to live in burrows where they dig themselves in the ground.

Special cases include flying squirrels. Others build nests, others move every night to avoid predators, and others live in holes in trees.

This is an excellent survival mechanism since they can fly from one tree to another utilizing their wings.

Does Diet Affect a Squirrel’s Lifespan?

We all have an idea that squirrels are omnivorous rodents or mammals as they survive on eating meat, vegetables, and usually whatever they can gain from their paws.

But the favorite food of squirrels are nuts, fruits, seeds, and fungi. But they also eat stuff like eggs, insects, and tiny snakes. 

As squirrels prepare for winter, they bury a large amount of food, and they are not uncommon to steal from other people’s storage areas.

The food a squirrel eats has not been studied extensively in terms of how it impacts their lifespan.

Despite the fact that squirrels eat fewer fatty foods than humans, they do not suffer the same problems as humans do. This means they can rather die because of an accident but not because of any health problem. 

How Long Do Squirrels Live?

Squirrels Live

If squirrels are in captivity or in a cage and get proper food and water then they can easily survive for more than 20 years which is quite good and this lifespan is even longer than cats and dogs.

But if the squirrel is in their natural habitat and gets some stress due to food searching or shelter problems then they dont live for a longer time.

Almost none of these animals survive the first year, as we mentioned above. But if they survive the first year of their life then they can easily live up to 6-10 years.

According to this article, squirrels fall into a few categories based on their age.

American Red Squirrel:

Red squirrels inhabit Canada and the far northeast of the United States and are some of the shortest in North America.

The average lifespan of these squirrels is 8 years and the wild ones have only 2 years of lifespan.

The unique fact of this specie is that its males have a longer lifespan than the females. But the difference is not very visible its only for like weeks.

Fox Squirrel:

The most common species of squirrels found in North America is Fox Squirrel and it has a typical rich.

They are often associated with a chestnut brown color.

These squirrels can live for up to 18 years but the male wild ones can only survive for 8 years whereas the female mild ones can live for up to 13 years. 

Southern Flying Squirrel:

Flying squirrels are somewhat of a rarity in the world of squirrels.

There is only one flying squirrel in North America, and it only lives between 3-5 years.

Eastern Gray Squirrel:

Eastern grey squirrel can be found mostly in the Midwest this is the reason most people in the United States think about this specific specie when they are imagining a typical squirrel.

If the environment is right then these squirrels can live up to 12-24 years. The best part about these squirrels is that they are very hairy and look super cute. 

Black Squirrel:

Especially in the Midwest, people might come across an all-black squirrel. There isn’t a separate species of them, but a difference in the amounts of melanin in their body.

A squirrel with different colored fur is usually either an eastern gray squirrel or a fox squirrel.

Their average lifespan is 6 years whereas the wild ones have a lifespan of approx 18 years.

Factors That Impact The Lives Of Squirrels:

Lives Of Squirrels

There are a few factors that can affect the lifespan of squirrels so let’s take a look at them. 

Diseases and Parasites:

Viral infections like squirrel pox can easily affect the squirrels. Hollow nibbles allow it to spread, leading to tumors that sometimes form on squirrels’ skin and causing them to die.

The worst part about these viral infections is that they are very deadly and they kill the squirrels within a few days.

If we talk about squirrel pox then this particular disease is more effective for European red squirrels. In squirrel pox the squirrels become very sick they feel extremely drowsy and dull.

Not only this but it also causes skin ulcers due to which squirrels have to spend their remaining life in the pain.

Due to the pain and drowsiness squirrels die. Some of the bacteria and parasites remain in their body which is also a major reason for their death. 

Tooth loss:

For their survival squirrels need teeth. If any one of their teeth is missing then chewing the food will be very difficult for them. Their sharp teeth help them to eat food properly.

But if their teeth broke due to an accident or if their teeth are not sharp as they should be then they will die because of starvation.

The thing is if the teeth of squirrels break then they will not grow on their own or automatically. For the regrowth of squirrels, proper medication is needed.

The regrowth procedure without medication is extremely slow due to which the squirrels die because of starvation.

There are also squirrels with a condition called “Malocclusion”, which causes their incisors to be arranged incorrectly in their mouths.

In order to prevent squirrels suffering from Malocclusion from dying, this disease must be treated properly.

Loss of Vision:

Squirrels begin to lose their eyesight at the age of one. Squirrels sometimes lose their vision due to cataracts forming in their eyes.

The squirrels can get infected due to these cataracts. Furthermore, squirrels with healthy eyes can spot their enemies and locate food more easily.

Squirrels rely on their eyes to avoid predators so that they may stay safe.


Just like many other animals squirrels also have lots of enemies or we can say, hunters.

Hunters are all set to finish these cute-looking animals just because of their beauty they use their fur for different purposes.

Apart from human hunters, there are animal hunters also that use squirrels as a source of food for themselves, lion and foxes are considered the biggest predator of squirrels.

Not only these but snakes like cobras are also the hunters of these adorable-looking rodents.

One of the researchers has found that the predators only hunt squirrels that are between the age of 1-2 years. Adults squirrels do not get hunted mostly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Do Wild Squirrels Live?

Squirrels have an average age of six to twelve years. But different species have different lifespans.

Wild squirrels of every specie have a longer lifespan than caged ones.

How Long Do Squirrels Live as Pets?

As a pet squirrels can live for up to 24 years if you provide them with the right environment, food, and other survival necessities.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs: Detailed Identification & Removal Guide

Wrapping It All Up!!

So I hope now you finally know the answer to the question “how long do squirrels live” after reading this article.

We have tried our best to cover all the important points but still if you face any problems feel free to comment below.

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