Unless you specifically put out water for squirrels, chances are you’ve never seen them drink. Squirrels need water just as other animals do, but they don’t necessarily need to drink as much as humans and larger animals. The food they eat meets some of their hydration needs.
How Much Water Do Squirrels Need?
Squirrels are relatively small creatures, so it follows that they generally require less water than larger animals might need. Squirrels require 30 to 60 mL of water per day on average. They typically only drink twice a day, and since they tend to be most active in the early morning and at twilight, you might not catch them at it.
The amount of water that squirrels require depends on several different factors. Baby squirrels get everything they need from their mother’s milk, so they don’t need to drink any water beyond that. On the other hand, a nursing mother needs to drink more water than usual to replenish the milk supply. Squirrels also lose water through excretion but only have sweat glands on their feet and so do not lose much that way. Nevertheless, exertion in hot weather can cause squirrels to become dehydrated more quickly.
How Do Squirrels Get Water?
In the wild, squirrels get water from many sources that you might expect, such as lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. They may drink from puddles of standing water in the road or elsewhere on the ground. Urban squirrels may get water from birdbaths or from dishes of water left outside for the benefit of pets.
However, they also get water from sources that you might not expect. For example, they may be able to drink the dew that collects on leaves and grass. Squirrels also get water from some of the foods that they eat, such as vegetables, fruits, and other plants, as well as mushrooms. Because they don’t need a lot of water in the first place, their diet may provide all the hydration they need on some days. On the other hand, some of their favourite foods, such as seeds and nuts, can make them thirsty, and they may drink more water after indulging.
What Do Squirrels Drink Besides Water?
In the wild, squirrels mostly drink water. However, squirrels that have adapted to urban environments and had close contact with humans have been observed to drink other things. They especially love sweet drinks like sodas but have also been known to drink alcohol and milk. As with humans, the sugary drinks that squirrels love are not very good for their health. Out of concern for their safety, squirrels should never be fed sugary drinks, and care should be taken to keep them from getting the sweet drinks surreptitiously.
Should You Provide Drinking Water to Squirrels?
Generally speaking, squirrels are pretty well able to find water on their own. However, if the weather is hot and dry, sources of clean and fresh water may be in short supply. If you put out a bowl of water for the squirrels under these conditions, it may be helpful to them. It is not necessary to do this if you already have a birdbath in the yard as squirrels can drink from that.
To make sure that you are not doing the squirrels harm, you should only provide water in the bowl. Don’t add any extra sugar or give the squirrels alcohol, soda, or milk. They’ll drink it, but it isn’t good for them. Furthermore, to avoid enticing squirrels into your home where they don’t belong, put the water source as far away from your home as possible.
Contact Skedaddle for Squirrel Removal in Whitby
While squirrels have a better reputation than some of their rodent cousins, they can still cause property damage by chewing on structures in your home and exposing you to disease through their excrement and parasites. Find out more about the services we offer in Whitby to remove squirrels and other wildlife.