brown squirrel

With almost 275 species, squirrels exist on every continent. Squirrels are rodents that primarily live in forests away from the human population. They 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. Squirrels live for other numbers of days. 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 cannot have a long life. On the other hand, if they live in the wild, they are vulnerable to predation. But it does not mean they are easy prey, as they are very active and quick.

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, many chances are there for an animal to have a long life because of the proper care and environment you provide.

Squirrel live stages

There are three stages in a squirrel’s life: newborn, juvenile, and adult.

Newborn Squirrels

A newborn squirrel is often born in a batch of up to 10 young. Up until around a month old, these infants are blind and hairless. 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. Baby squirrels continue to visit their moms in their den even after two months have passed.

During this stage, they can travel on their own into the outside world, but they usually stay near their family. A squirrel born before winter will spend the entire cold season with its mother.

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, packing their shelter with bedding and plant material to stay warm so they can make it through the winter months and give their young squirrels a chance at 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. This time frame negatively impacts a young squirrel’s lifetime.

A squirrel will 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. The young squirrels must learn to gather and store their food during this crucial time.

Adult squirrels

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 may survive for over two decades. However, this is only true for some species. Wild squirrels sometimes experience a lower quality of life because of diseases, predators, and accidents.

In addition, squirrels’ teeth never stop growing, much like other rodents. To survive comfortably, they must continually grind their teeth against wood or other items that wear them down.

Squirrel lives vs. rat lives.

You would assume that rats and squirrels are comparable when comparing the lifetime of two wild rodents. They were nearly the same size, faced relative predators, and lived 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 are better constructed. 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.

How long does an Eastern Gray Squirrel live?

The eastern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, has a two-year lifespan from birth. Grey squirrels have a maximum known lifespan of 12 years in the wild. Squirrels 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. Around 2 to 4 years old, they reach maturity.

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, who typically live for about eight years, female squirrels have been 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, men typically only live for two years. For California ground squirrels, we 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. Southern flying squirrels live in the wild for fewer years than their non-flying cousins.

Their average lifetime is ten years. However, they sometimes survive longer in captivity. It has been established that they may live up to 19 years in captivity.

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 person’s body, their hair colors change. In the United States, they are rare.

However, the Midwest is a possible location. In the wild, most black squirrels have a lifespan of up to 6 years. In 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 length of time 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.


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.

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