How Far Can A Squirrel Find Its Way Home?
The question is: how far can you drive before the squirrel decides to get out? Most studies have shown that Red squirrels travel quite a distance from their original home territory, and if you release them further, they’ll remember where they belong. There is a more humane way to remove a squirrel: release it into the wild. But releasing a mother squirrel is not the most humane option.
Table of Contents
Red squirrels travel far away from the home
Despite their small size, red squirrels travel a great distance. They have home ranges that are two to ten hectares (seven to twenty-five acres), and they generally do not overlap with other species. Their home ranges are larger in conifer plantations, with one to five ranges per square mile. The distance they travel from home to food source depends on the type of habitat they live in.
When a Red squirrel is away from home, they cache enough food to last a slim year. They often store this food in a central location, such as a hollow log or brush pile. They also take advantage of the sap from sugar maple trees. They puncture the sap carrying vessels and leave to let the sap evaporate, then return to harvest the syrup. In some areas, they can reach speeds of up to 22.5 km/h (14 mph).
Some biologists studied Red squirrels and found that they do indeed shift their territory, even if it was far away from the original home. But the phenomenon appears to be unusual. Biologists studied 44 female Red squirrels in Belgium and found that seven of them had vacated their first territories and relocated to vacant spots nearby. Female Red squirrels who relocated had higher reproduction rates than those who did not shift.
Mother squirrels remember where they are supposed to be if they are released further
One way to make sure that your baby squirrels remember where they are supposed to be is to play a video of them crying on your phone. When the mother squirrel hears this video, she may be more likely to come back to the food caches where the babies are. Just make sure to keep out of sight and turn off the phone ringer while you’re recording them. It might take some time before the mother squirrel can find the babies, so be patient.
If you’re planning on releasing your baby squirrels, be sure to release them during the spring or summer months. Do not release them any further in the fall or winter. It is recommended to wait until they’re four to six months old. The earlier you release them, the sooner they’ll remember where they are supposed to be. If you leave them alone for too long, they may start to fear humans and follow you home.
Besides relocating the nest, release your baby squirrels from a tree where they may be harmed. A tree branch can help the baby squirrels regain their sense of orientation. Once released, they will soon be able to find their way around and start a new life. Then, they will be ready to go on their own. But be sure to keep them safe and secure so that the mother squirrels will remember where they are supposed to be if you release them further.
Releasing a mother squirrel is not a humane way to get rid of a squirrel
Releasing a mother to repopulate her nest site is not a humane method of getting rid of a squirrel. The mother squirrel will not accept a baby that is cold and not in its own territory. This could result in a lot of unnecessary work for the owner, including removal of the nest and relocation. The baby squirrel is also more vulnerable to predators when it is not in its mother’s protective care.
Squirrels are not aggressive by nature, but if cornered, they may bite or scratch you. A bite or scratch could lead to viral disease. Their natural instinct is to escape their territory as quickly as possible. They will not nest in a home with a lot of human activity. If a squirrel is trapped, it is likely to be agitated and may bite you.
In addition to causing harm to the animal, releasing a mother squirrel is not a human-ethical way to get rid of a pest. Besides the obvious risks of releasing a mother squirrel into the wild, it also causes the resident squirrels to abandon the nest area. A squirrel’s nest is safe, so it doesn’t want to leave.
How far can a squirrel travel from its home?
Up to several miles.
How long does it take for a squirrel to find its way home?
It depends on the squirrel but it usually takes a few days.
What do squirrels use to find their way home?
Their sense of smell.
How often do squirrels get lost?
It’s rare for squirrels to get lost.
What happens to squirrels if they can’t find their way home?
They will eventually die.
Do all squirrels find their way home?
No some squirrels get lost and never find their way home.
What percentage of squirrels get lost?
It’s difficult to estimate but it’s thought that a small percentage of squirrels don’t make it home.
How do lost squirrels usually die?
They die of starvation or predators.
Is there anything that can be done to help lost squirrels find their way home?
Yes there are organizations that will help lost squirrels find their way home.
What do these organizations do?
They will provide support and resources to help the squirrels find their way home.
How much does it cost to help a lost squirrel find its way home?
It depends on the organization but it usually costs around $100.
How many squirrels have been helped by these organizations?
It’s difficult to estimate but it’s thought that hundreds of squirrels have been helped.
Are there any success stories of squirrels finding their way home?
Yes there are many success stories of squirrels finding their way home.
What is the farthest a squirrel has been found from its home?
The farthest a squirrel has been found from its home is 30 miles.
What is the record for the longest time a squirrel has been lost?
The longest time a squirrel has been lost is two weeks.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.