Squirrel Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

If they make it past their second year, the squirrel lifespan for animals that live in the wild is decently long. The first two years of a squirrel’s existence are the most precarious, and the vast majority of young squirrels do not survive to see their second birthday.

Keep reading as we find out what is a squirrels lifespan!


Is the Lifespan of Squirrels Endangered?

The lack of natural habitat and poaching have put certain species of squirrels on the endangered species list. The vast majority of squirrels are successful in life because they are able to easily avoid being eaten by predators and have successfully adapted to living in urban environments that contain trees.

Because of their quickness and dexterity when traveling among the branches of trees, squirrels are notoriously tough to capture. As long as there are trees, many different species of squirrels are now able to make their homes in urban and suburban regions.

There is a subspecies of the red squirrel that is listed as endangered. The red squirrel lives on Mount Graham. They have a restricted ecological range, and the only known location for them is in the southeast of Arizona. They are unable to adjust to their environment, which leads to a reduction in population.


Read also: Squirrel Poop Looks Like What? | Exposed


What Is a Squirrel Lifespan (Lifecycle)?

There are four life stages that a squirrel will go through newborns, adolescents, weanlings, and adults. The young of the squirrel species are born hairless and hairless.

They don’t leave the nest until they’ve been weaned, which usually takes approximately two months after they first arrive. Squirrels spend between 40 and 44 days developing inside their mothers’ bodies before being born in the late summer.

  • Squirrels are born hairless and hairless and born blind. When they are approximately one month old (between the ages of 28 and 35 days), baby kittens begin to open their eyes. Kittens start teething between the ages of 3 and 5 weeks old, at the same time as their fur begins to grow.
  • Adolescent kittens begin to develop full coats of fur somewhere between the ages of 6 and 14 weeks. They can now sit, stand, and carry food in their front paws in addition to their previous abilities.
  • By the time they are 8 weeks old, their toenails are already sharp enough to allow them to climb trees. They start pretending to fight with each other and their siblings.
  • Kittens of the squirrel species do not leave their mother’s nest until they are approximately two months old (between 56 and 70 days old), at which point they are weaned and allowed to leave the nest.


What Is the Average Lifespan of a Squirrel?

The typical lifespan of a squirrel is approximately two years, but this can differ from species to species and is heavily influenced by the environment in which they are found. There is a significant difference in the lifespan of a squirrel depending on whether or not it is kept in the wild or in captivity.

It has been shown that some squirrels can survive for up to 16 years when kept in captivity and given the appropriate care. Squirrels, on the other hand, often only live between two and three years while they are in their natural environments.


Read also: Do Squirrels Hibernate? A Detailed Insight Into Squirrel Hibernation


What Is the Lifespan of Squirrel Species?

Squirrel Lifespan
The Lifespan of a Squirrel May Depend on Its Specie

In the wild, squirrels have a life expectancy of six to twelve years, but in captivity, they can live for ten to twenty years. Diseases that afflict red squirrels tend to set in earlier than those that affect gray squirrels, further shortening their lifespan since they are easier prey for larger species like foxes and hawks.

In the wild, the maximum life expectancy of fox squirrels is 12.6 years, the maximum life expectancy of Eastern gray and black squirrels is 12.5 years, the maximum life expectancy of American red squirrels is 8 years, and the maximum life expectancy of southern flying squirrels is 10 years.


What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Grey Squirrel?

Tree-dwelling grey squirrels range in color from light to dark grey, have a white underside, and have white spots on their bushy grey tails. They can grow to a total length of 380-525 mm, with a tail length of 150-250 mm and an average weight of 19.04 oz (540.33 g).

Eastern grey squirrels live about 12.5 years on average in the wild but can live up to 20 years if kept in captivity. Females, as is the case with the vast majority of mammalian species, enjoy a generally longer lifespan than males because of the superior medical care they receive (males are more likely to be hunters). It is known that the oldest eastern greys survived for 24 years.


What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Southern Flying Squirrel?

Squirrels native to the southern United States are grey on top and white underneath, and they have a skin flap that stretches from their wrists to their ankles.

As opposed to their terrestrial relatives, flying squirrels don’t live very long. A wild flying squirrel can expect to live between three and five years, but one kept in captivity can expect to live ten.


Read also: Squirrel Droppings: What Does Squirrel Poop Look Like?


What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Black Squirrel?

The average lifespan of a black squirrel in the outdoors is between 5 and 6 years, however, they can reach a maximum age of 12.5 years in the wild. A life expectancy of a black squirrel is not significantly different from that of a grey squirrel.


What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Red Squirrel?

The American Red Squirrel gets its name from its distinctively red fur. They have white bellies and white eye rings and tufted ears in the winter. Their average weight is only 7.51 oz, which is 30% less than that of a gray squirrel (212.97 g).

Despite their diminutive stature, red squirrels tend to survive for quite a while. Although red squirrels have been known to live as long as 10 years in the wild, the typical lifespan is closer to 5 years. Squirrels kept as pets can survive for at least 8 years. Tragically, 75% of their offspring don’t make it past their first year.


What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Fox Squirrel?

Although fox squirrels have a lifespan of 8-18 years, the average is just 3-5 years. Female fox squirrels can live up to 12.6 years in the wild, but males only make it to 8.6. When kept in captivity, fox squirrels can live for up to 18 years.


What Are Factors that May Affect the Lifespan of a Squirrel?

  • Predators:

A squirrel’s vulnerability to predators is also relevant. However, squirrels are extremely fortunate in this respect since they have excellent vision, lightning-fast reflexes, lightning-fast speed, and the ability to effortlessly scale trees.

Snakes, carnivorous mammals, birds of prey, weasels, black snakes, skunks, foxes, hawks, and owls are all predators of squirrels.

  • Species of Squirrel:

Some squirrel species tend to live longer than others, so this is another thing to consider when trying to predict how long a squirrel will live. For instance, the average lifespan of an Eastern Grey Squirrel is between three and four years, while that of a Fox Squirrel is four to six years.

  • Disease:

Squirrels are susceptible to a number of health problems that shorten their lives, including infections, cataracts, parasites, and tooth decay. Their lifespan is shortened and they age more rapidly as a result.

However, sometimes squirrels catch diseases that aren’t fatal but shorten their lives by putting them on unhealthier lifestyle habits. For example, there are disorders that impair mobility preventing the animal from scavenging food.


Read also: What Does a Baby Squirrel Eat? Comprehensive Guide


  • Habitat:

Squirrels’ body sizes are affected by both their environment and their longevity. Squirrels, like the giant flying squirrel, that spend their lives at high altitudes in extremely cold climes tend to develop to enormous proportions, but their warmer-climate cousins remain relatively little.

  • Climate:

A squirrel’s lifespan is influenced by both its genetics and the local climate. Squirrels in colder regions don’t survive as long as their warmer-climate counterparts because they can’t store as much fat, leaving them more vulnerable to predators and reducing their chances of making it to adulthood.


Tip-Off: Female Vs Male Squirrel Lifespan?

In general, female squirrels have a longer lifespan than their male counterparts; however, this may be a general pattern among mammals as a result of males being more inclined to engage in riskier behaviors that put them in danger from both natural and human-related threats.

Additionally, females have a propensity to congregate with other females, which affords them enhanced protection from the threats that exist in the environment. Thanks for reading!

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