How long do squirrels live?

brown squirrel

With almost 275 species, squirrels exist on every continent. Squirrels are rodents that primarily live in forests away from the human population, and are skilled at finding food for themselves without the distractions of the environment. They can easily adjust in all seasons except in winter. Winter is viewed negatively by the squirrel.

Regarding the lifespan of squirrels, different species have different lifespans according to their habitat areas, weather, etc. In this aspect, the thing that relies the most on is the species.

In this article, we will discuss squirrel life. We will educate you about the different lifespans of different species and compare the squirrel’s life with another rodent rat.

How long do squirrels live?

We see people asking on every platform: “how long do squirrels live?” They must consider the area or species of the squirrels. If their question is general and they want to know about the average life of a rodent, it lives from 3 to 5 years.

It depends on the environment because if they are habitant of a cold area, they are unable to have a long life because of climate. On the other hand, if they live in the wild, they are vulnerable to predation, but it does not reveal they are easy target, as they are very active and quick.

Moreover, they also have a god-gifted ability to detect danger around them. It is the reason they can live year to year. If you have a squirrel in captivity, there are possibilities for an animal to have a long life because of the proper care and environment you provide.

Squirrel live stages

If we discuss the lifecycle of squirrel we will find it in 3 different parts: newborn, juvenile, and adult.

Newborn Squirrels

A newborn squirrel is often born in a batch of up to 10 young. These infants are blind and hairless up until around a month old, and they are also just around one inch long on average.

Newborn squirrels spend most of their time resting and entirely depend on their mother for sustenance throughout this first month. On the other hand, baby squirrels continue to live with their moms in their den even after two months have passed.

During this stage, they travel on their own into the outside world, but they usually stay near their family. A squirrel born before winter spends the entire cold season with its mother, as she protects them from the climatic clashes.

Squirrels of all ages, but especially young ones, find the winter to be a challenging season. Although not hibernating, most squirrels spend the winter months in their dens.

Mother squirrels make every effort to keep their young warm. Moreover, they pack their shelter with bedding and plant material to stay warm. They make it through the winter months and give their young squirrels a chance of a healthy, long life.

Juvenile squirrels

Squirrels are considered teenagers when they are three months to 1-year-old. Like their adult counterparts, these juvenile squirrels are energetic, self-sufficient, and capable of living freely. This time frame negatively impacts a young squirrel’s lifetime.

A squirrel learn how to properly live alone, feed, and avoid predators throughout this time. How long the squirrels survive depends on how proficient they are at staying.

Adolescent squirrels in captivity are most active and fun during this development phase. During this crucial time, the young squirrels are learnt to gather and store their food by mother.

Adult squirrels and life expectancy

Depending on the species, adult squirrels can reach a maximum length of 2 feet from head to tail. They are skilled rodents with swift movements and a propensity for foraging. Depending on the species, adult squirrels can live in the wild for up to 12 years.

According to some statistics, squirrels in captivity can even survive for over two decades. However, this statement is only true for a few species. Wild squirrels sometimes experience a lower quality of life because of diseases, predators, and accidents.

In addition, squirrels’ teeth are very important factor to decide the life expectancy as they play a vital role in obtaining food and defending themselves. Their teeth never stop growing, much like other rodents. To survive comfortably, they continually grind their teeth against wood or other items that wear them down.


How long does an Eastern Gray Squirrel live?

The eastern grey squirrel also known as brown squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, has a two-year lifespan from birth. Grey squirrels have a maximum known lifespan of 12 years in the wild, while they can live up to 20 years in captivity.

How long does a red squirrel live?

In the wild, red squirrels can live for up to five years (source). Just 25% of these squirrels survive for more than a year, indicating a high mortality rate. They reach maturity, when they are around 2 to 4 years.

Red squirrels have been known to live for up to ten years in the wild. Male squirrels often live longer than females do.

How long does an Eastern fox squirrel live?

In the wild, the lifetime of an eastern fox squirrel ranges from 8 to 18 years. Squirrels usually pass away before they reach adulthood.

Compared to male squirrels that typically live for about 8 years, female squirrels are reported to live up to 13 years.

Fox squirrels may live up to 18 years in captivity. Comparatively speaking, this is a long animal.

How long does a ground squirrel live?

Ground squirrels, like the Richardson ground squirrel, have brief lives in the wild, lasting around two to four years. While females may survive for four years in the wild, and male typically live for just two years. For California ground squirrels, breeders have observed similar life lengths.

How long does a southern flying squirrel live?

In the wild, southern flying squirrels can survive for three to five years, and they owe short lifespan in the wild for fewer years than their non-flying mates.

Their average lifetime is ten years. However, they sometimes survive longer in captivity. Thiers live up to 19 years in captivity have been reported that is amazingly high.

How long does a black squirrel live?

In reality, black squirrels are either fox or eastern grey squirrels. Due to the varied amounts of melanin in each rodent’s body, their hair colors change. They are very challenging to discover in many countries like USA.

However, the Midwest is a possible location. In the wild, most black squirrels have a lifespan of up to 6 years, while in the captivity, they may live up to 18 years, which is longer than most squirrels’ life spans.

How long does a squirrel live in captivity?

If given the proper care and food, squirrels can survive in captivity for several years. The duration a squirrel may live in captivity varies depending on the species. With the proper care, grey squirrels, sometimes kept as pets, may live up to 10 years in captivity.

In many locations, including the United States and Canada, it is against the law to keep native wildlife as pets. Keeping wild animals as pets is typically not advised owing to their unique care needs and potential for disease transmission to people.

In captivity, the life spans of various squirrel species, such as flying squirrels and ground squirrels, may vary.

Do squirrels live in packs?

No, squirrels do not live in packs. They are generally solitary animals, although they live in close proximity to one another. Squirrels are territorial and mark their boundaries with scent markings.

While they may gather in groups during the mating season or when sharing a food source, they do not form permanent social groups like packs. Instead, they tend to lead independent lives, foraging for food and building nests for themselves.

Squirrel lives vs. rat lives.

You would assume that rats and squirrels are comparable when inspecting the lifetime of two wild rodents. They are nearly the same size, face relative predators, and live in similar settings.

Nevertheless, how long does a rat live as opposed to a squirrel? Rats typically live two years less than squirrels do. However, this difference might vary depending on the species of squirrel. For instance, the lifespan of a Western grey squirrel is typically 6 to 10 years longer than that of a wild rat.

It may result from the genetic composition of a squirrel since they have better anatomy. Rats can’t match the speed and agility of squirrels, which allows them to escape predators and climb trees more easily.

Rats do not spend as much time resting as squirrels, which may help them avoid predators more. Besides hunting and gathering their food, they also store it, so they always have access to a sufficient supply of nourishment.

Speaking of food, squirrels can locate hidden food in snow and mud. We also know rats for being scavengers, but because they are more prone to do so in inhabited places, they are more vulnerable to both people and predators.

Newbie squirrel vs. rat

The lifespan of a newbie squirrel and a newbie rat can vary based on species and environmental factors. Generally, squirrels have longer lifespans compared to rats. Most newbie squirrel species, such as the eastern gray squirrel, red squirrel, and fox squirrel, have an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild.

However, some species, like flying squirrels, can live up to 15 years. In contrast, newbie rats typically have shorter lifespans. In the wild, rats generally live for about 2 to 3 years. Domesticated newbie rats, kept as pets, may have slightly longer lifespans, averaging around 2 to 4 years.


The globe is home to intriguing animals called squirrels. These little, nimble rodents are fascinating to study and observe because their range of behaviors and habits help them adapt effectively to their circumstances.

Squirrels have captivated our interest and imagination for years with their acrobatic leaps, expert tree climbing, and charming and bushy tails. While occasionally viewed as pests, they contribute significantly to their ecosystems by dispersing seeds and providing food for other animals.

Squirrels, in general, are a treasured and essential component of our natural environment, and they never cease to enchant and thrill us with their antics and charm.

Ozzy Loyal
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