Wildlife Education - Information, Advice About How well can squirrels climb and jump?

How well can squirrels climb and jump?

Squirrels are very good climbers and jumpers, and those are two tools they will use to gain access to your home. Once they have found a spot they think they can break into, they will climb trees and walls, scampering along roofs, and tearing open tiny cracks until they are big enough to wriggle through. It is said that the average grey squirrel has a rather impressive jump of over four feet in height. That might not sound like much, but their horizontal jump is a tad more impressive - closer to ten feet in length. This means that you should ensure that branches are kept more than ten feet way from your home, and anything that you don't want the squirrels to gain access to, such as bird feeders, should be at least four to six feet off the ground. Remember that they can use basically anything as a “launching pad” of sorts. This might seem like a useless fact to know, but at least you know now how far away to trim those branches from your home.



Almost everyone round the world enjoys watching the antics of squirrels as they play amidst the trees and buildings. Each type of squirrel may have their own particular traits, but all of them share the ability to be lithe and graceful while going on about their daily business. There are more than 200 types of squirrels to be found around the world, and they are all considered to be graceful acrobats and extremely athletic. The word Squirrel actually comes from the Greek language, and literally translates to “shadow tail”. This name is a reference to the animal's long and slender tail that is all covered in coarse, thick, fluffy fur. When you see a scurry (communal group) of squirrels, you should just sit back and watch an amazing acrobatic show hosted by Mother Nature, starring those agile assemblages of squirrels as they maneuver through the trees, scramble up poles, and gleefully dance across thin branches or vines.

The average tree squirrel can not only has the ability to easily clear a space of 20 feet when jumping from point A to point B, they can also gracefully leap up to 9 feet straight in the air! They accomplish this trick as a result of the thick pads located on the bottoms of their feet. If a person (considering the relative size of a squirrel is 1/10 of the average human) had the same jumping abilities as a clever squirrel, they could jump the height of a five story building, or easily leap over an “18 wheeler” truck. A squirrel's amazing balance is also due to their extremely useful tail, and helps them to maneuver seemingly effortlessly, whether they are crossing thin limbs, electrical lines, vines, or clothes lines. They can navigate all of these things as easily as you and I go walking down a street.

When squirrels decide to traverse a line while hanging upside down, they do so employing a “paw over paw” motion that allows them to reach speeds of up to 10 MPH. They can also hit a top speed of 20 MPH when running along the ground, and up to 12 MPH when running up a tree. These speeds are achieved by employing their hyper- muscular, double- jointed hind legs. The irregular zigzag patterns squirrel run when on the ground are not only intended to confuse possible predators, but also aids them in achieving these amazing speeds. When watching squirrels you will notice they possess the ability to climb what appears to be perpendicular walls, and traverse seemingly slick poles. These moves are a result of the animal's powerful rear legs combined with its nimble front paws.

If a squirrel does fall while climbing, it is able to easily survive a drop of up to 100 feet simply by employing its tail as a parachute. You will find 5 toes on a squirrels back feet which allows them to grip even the smoothest of surfaces. When using their tails as a ballast to balance, they can literally ‘hang upside down' while still grabbing food using their 4 toed front feet with the razor sharp claws. Although a squirrel invasion around your house or garden might not be what you want, enjoying squirrels in their natural habitat is a good time that everyone can enjoy!

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Please be kind to squirrels! They are intelligent animals, and believe it or not, they definitely have emotions!
If you have any questions about squirrels in attics, just email me at david@squirrel-attic.com