Squirrel on a tree branch with its head tilted to the side looking curious.

How Long Do Squirrels Live?

Squirrels are typically small rodents native to many parts of the world. They are incredibly adaptable creatures and can live in various environments, ranging from forests to urban areas.

You may even find them in your yard, snacking on birdseed or digging for nuts. So it’s natural to wonder how long do squirrels live.

The answer depends on the type of squirrel and its living environment.

Wild squirrels tend to have shorter lifespans than those kept in captivity. On average, most wild squirrels will live between 2 and 6 years, with some species making it up to 20 or more years.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the life expectancy of a squirrel can be affected by its diet and access to medical care—particularly if they become ill or injured.

These factors will often determine how long a squirrel can live, regardless of its species.

Key Pest Points

• Most wild squirrels live between 2 and 6 years on average, while some species can live up to 20 years or longer.

• A squirrel’s lifespan can vary significantly based on a number of variables, including diet, environment and habitat.

Types of Squirrels and Their Lifespan

The species of squirrel and where they live will often determine how long they can survive in the wild.

Red Squirrel Lifespan

The red squirrel is a small rodent native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of the United Kingdom and North America.

In the wild, they typically live up to 3-5 years. However, some can reach up to 10 years of age if provided with adequate food and protection.

Eastern Gray Squirrel Life Expectancy

Gray squirrels’ lifespan is also native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, though they tend to live in more urbanized areas than their red counterparts.

According to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, gray squirrels can live up to 6 years. However, there are records of them reaching 12 while in the wild or 20 years in captivity.

Fox Squirrel Lifespan

The fox squirrel is the largest member of the squirrel family, measuring up to 30 inches in length.

Fox squirrels typically live six to seven years, although the longest recorded lifespan was 18 years.

Fox squirrel laying on a tree branch with its tail up

The average lifespan of a squirrel tends to be shorter when living outdoors due to predation from other animals or illness. With proper nutrition and care, many species of squirrels can reach much longer lifespans.

Life Cycle of a Squirrel

The squirrel mating season occurs in winter or early summer, depending on the species.

The gestation period is typically between 22-44 days and can produce up to 6 babies per litter. Baby squirrels are born blind, deaf, and furless but will quickly grow as they get older.

Once the young squirrels reach around 8-10 weeks old, they become more independent and begin exploring their environment on their own. As they mature, their diet shifts from milk to nuts and other food sources.

At around 10- 12 months, squirrels reach sexual maturity and are capable of reproducing. The lifespan of a squirrel will then depend on the species and its environment.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Squirrel

The lifespan of a squirrel can vary depending on several factors, including nutrition, health, and living environment.


A squirrel’s diet plays a significant role in its lifespan. A healthy, balanced diet of nuts, seeds, and fruits can help them reach their full lifespan potential.

They also need access to clean water and shelter from extreme weather conditions. Poor nutrition or lack of access to food can lead to shortened life expectancy.

Living environment

The type of environment a squirrel lives in can also affect its lifespan. Squirrels living in the wild must be able to find adequate food and water sources and protect themselves from predators.

In captivity, they will usually have access to more resources and protection than those living outdoors, which can help them live longer.


Finally, the urbanization of a squirrel’s habitat can affect its lifespan. Urban environments tend to lack natural food sources and shelter, meaning that squirrels may struggle to survive in these areas.

Squirrel holding and eating banana on  top of a garbage can.

In addition, there is often an increased risk of traffic accidents or death from human contact in more populated areas. Therefore, if a squirrel lives in an urban environment, its life expectancy may be shortened.

Diseases and Parasites

Diseases and parasites can also affect the lifespan of a squirrel. Many diseases, such as rabies, distemper, and mange, are highly contagious in squirrels and can reduce their life expectancy.

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites can also cause illness or death in squirrels if not treated properly. Generally, it is important to ensure that any pet squirrel is regularly checked for parasites and diseases to prolong its life expectancy.

Predator Attacks

Predator attacks can also reduce the lifespan of a squirrel. Smaller species are particularly vulnerable to attack from birds of prey, cats, and other animals.

To protect against predators, squirrels usually hide in trees or burrows and use their agility to escape danger. If a predator kills a squirrel, it can significantly reduce its lifespan.

Overall, the lifespan of a squirrel can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as diet and living environment. With proper care and nutrition, many squirrels can live long and healthy lives.

However, it is crucial to consider potential risks that could reduce their life expectancy.

How To Prevent Squirrels From Entering Your Home and Yard

Keeping squirrels out of your home or yard can be difficult, as they are agile and curious creatures. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from entering your property:

• Install mesh screens over ventilation pipes, chimneys, and other openings that lead into the house.

• Trim back any trees or bushes near your house, as these can provide easy access for squirrels.

A squirrel looking over a wood fence.

Squirrel scent-repellent sprays or other home remedies can also repel squirrels, such as cayenne pepper or garlic.

• Seal any cracks or holes in the walls and roof of your home to prevent squirrels from entering.

• Keep bird feeders away from your house, as they attract small rodents such as squirrels.

• Install motion-activated lights or noise makers in your garden to scare squirrels away.

• Place traps in areas where you’ve seen squirrel activity. However, always check them daily to ensure animals are not left inside for long periods.

Taking these precautions can help prevent squirrels from accessing your home or yard and reduce the risk of damage to your property.

In addition, these measures can help protect the squirrels by preventing them from coming into contact with any possible hazards. Following these tips can protect your home and the local squirrel population!

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