Squirrels are amazing, agile creatures with a knack for entertaining people from afar. While many homeowners are used to seeing the animal scurry up trees and chase other four-legged companions across lawns, seeing a squirrel in the water is a rarity of sorts and might require wildlife control in Okanagan.
Several videos and images have recently circulated internet chatrooms and streaming platforms showing squirrels in pools, streams, lakes, rivers, etc. The sight is somewhat perplexing as most people believe squirrels are strictly land mammals.
How Can Squirrels Swim?
While the animal is classified as a land mammal, it can swim, like most other mammals. The go-to swim for a squirrel is the doggy paddle, which, while cute, is not an efficient stroke. The animal can quickly become exhausted, and if it does not find an adequate space to rest, it can drown.
Many squirrel species, such as red, grey, and fox, use their tales to steer through the water as their four paws paddle. However, flying squirrels struggle in the water because of the webbing that enables them to glide long distances.
Predators and Food Sources Motivate Unusual Behaviour
Typically, a squirrel will avoid the water. The animal prefers the land and can navigate it quickly and easily with precision. A squirrel is slow and vulnerable in the water, but it is its vulnerability that can motivate it to take a swim.
Squirrels work tirelessly through the warmer seasons to find and store food for the winter months. In the animal’s search for food, it is constantly on the lookout for larger predators. Unfortunately, in its efforts to fend off hunger and survive, it can sometimes accidentally fall into pools or other bodies of water.
In most instances, the squirrel will be fine and can find its way out. However, pools present a more significant challenge than natural bodies of water. Pools are manufactured with smooth sides and often no place for the animal to grip and escape or rest.
If the squirrel cannot find a place to rest or escape, it will eventually drown. This is where a problem comes in for homeowners or other well-meaning people.
Emergency Rescue Protocol
You should not attempt to pick up the squirrel by hand to remove it from the water. Remember, a squirrel is a wild animal; despite how cute it looks, it can bite and defend itself when frightened or threatened. If possible, you want to avoid any close contact with the animal.
If it is an emergency, and the animal is drowning, or in danger of drowning in your pool, you can use a pool skimmer or net with a long pole handle. Scoop the animal gently out of the water. It may try running up the handle towards you. Do not be alarmed. Remain calm. The animal does not want to touch or attack you. It only wants the quickest path to dry land. Most likely, it will leap off the handle as soon as it clears the pool.
Professionals Ready To Respond
If you do not feel comfortable attempting the rescue, contact a humane wildlife service. The company will send a technician with all the appropriate tools for the squirrel removal. It is perfectly okay to leave the rescue to the pros. Wild animals can have infections or illnesses that are potentially transmissible.
It is always recommended that you call a wildlife expert for any removal or rescue needs for your safety. In emergencies and with a tremendous amount of caution, it might be okay for you to attempt a rescue from a safe distance. However, if you fear repercussions or do not have adequate equipment, contact your local Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control service. The company’s technicians will respond quickly and always come prepared.