Witnessed Squirrel Falling from Tree....Broke My Heart

lovefornature(5B IL)October 7, 2007

As everyone knows, squirrels love to frolick in trees and play and jump from tree to tree and limb to limb.

I was out back the other day (as the squirrels love our backyard) and witnessed one that fell from a tree. Scared me....it fell (I would guess 15-20 feet) and landed on its back. I heard the thud. The squirrel got up immediately and took off, but I still can't stop thinking about this poor little squirrel and if he was injured or not. It is still on my mind.

Does anyone know about squirrels falling from trees and how injured they can be. I have read that they show no pain, which worries me since the squirrel just took off :(.

Thank you....can't seem to get it off my mind.......

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maifleur01

Harsh as it sounds if it was injured enough to die after running away the death is all part of the cycle of life.

Your squirrel is probably ok. I have seen them fall from a lot higher and live. They can show pain or at least muscle aches. I have seen some that have been rolled and escaped to be seen several hours later gingerly lowering themselves on a branch.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:05PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

I have seen this happen myself at least a dozen times, and not once did the initial fall kill the creature. This is not to say they didn't succumb later on, out of sight. Two times stick in my memory the most, once was while I was walking down the street where I lived as a young girl...I heard a thrashing above me, like branches whipping, and then a loud wet thud just behind me on the PAVEMENT. When I spun around there was a squirrel lying face down on the road a few feet behind me. Just missed me. I was sure it had to be dead but just as quickly it jumped to its feet and bounded off the road and back into the trees. I can't say how something could hit hard asphalt like that and not be severely injured. THe second time was last winter. We had just had a winter storm of flooding rains followed immediately by temperatures in the 'teens a day or so later. This resulted in many areas being flooded and the water freezing where it was not moving in the main channels. I was riding my bike(I'm a year round cyclist) and heard a shattering crash followed by what sounded like a cannonball hitting water. I saw the end of a large splash coming up through a hole in the skin of ice and then a head poked out of the hole. A fox squirrel hauled itself up and out and was immediately off and running for the nearest birch tree, soaking wet. What bad luck, to not only fall out of your tree but to do it over thinly frozen flood water and then have to dry out in freezing winter temperatures.

I can only guess that generations of living a life adapted to trees and the subsequent dangers has made their anatomy better suited to falls and such. I don't know this but I would bet their bones are lighter or more flexible or perhaps ligaments and tendons different. I know their feet can rotate at the joint to allow a better grip, but I bet they have evolved features that help them to survive a lot of falls.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 12:29PM
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ksfarmer(z5/Ks NC Kansas)

The only squirrel I have ever seen fall and not survive was one who fell in front of my dog and couldn't get back to the tree quick enough.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 9:31PM
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lovefornature(5B IL)

Thank you everyone for making me feel better. I was worried about the squirrel so much :) Guess I am just too tender hearted sometimes......

Dirtgirl, I think you are probably right about their flexible bones. Maybe too they do not stiffen up when they fall. I know they say that when people are in car wrecks (if they are intoxicated or asleep), they are likely to receive less injuries because they do not stiffen up.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 9:52PM
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toddimus

Took my kids to a public playground today in New Cumberland, PA. Its getting close to hibernation season for squirrels. Anyway this entire area is surrounded by 40 foot or higher trees that are pretty vacant of branches except for the very top where squirrels keep their nests.

My 6 year old son saw a squirrel falling, then I heard a sickening thud as it hit a tree stump face first.

My three kids gathered around it. The squirrel was breathing heavy, and almost sounded like it was crying, most likely just caused by trying to breathe.

The squirrel ran around in circles a few times, but then layed down, I was not sure what to do as it was obviously in pain and bleeding.

I took my kids away from it and came back later to find it had died, so I placed it under a bush back in the woods.

It was a very sad event for my kids to see, as they had never seen an animal die before. I felt bad for the squirrel - it must have fell out of its nest and there was nothing for it to grab onto as it fell.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 8:43PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oooh, Toddimus, that was painful to read, and I've got a skin that's been thickened a bit over the years. How difficult that must have been for your children to see. What's a parent to do in such circumstances?

I guess 15-20 feet is okay for a squirrel to handle, but 40+ feet is too much. Poor thing.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:30AM
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seedsonshirt(6b)

My daughter is attending school in Columbia, Mo. On her campus there are very tall pine trees. When I was there moving her in, I saw a squirrel fall from about 50' and hit the sidewalk with a loud, sickening thud. No way, I thought, but in a few seconds it got up and ran back up the tree. She says the squirrels there do that all the time - I guess higher education isn't rubbing off on them...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 12:36AM
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lovefornature(5B IL)

What a sad story, I have a very big heart for animals. I guess I have hardened a little over the years, but not much. I am so sorry your kids had to witness that. The squirrel that fell from my tree landed on its back and got right back up. But I did hear the thud.

I have a questions about squirrels, which is off-topic from the actual subject......they hybernate. I did not know this. I googled about squirrels and could not find too much information.

Can someone give me a website or a little info. on their hybernation (how long, etc.). I just got my handmade squirrel station done and was all excited about putting food in it/on it. I know they bury nuts in my yard for the winter. Walnut tree in the neighbors yard which hangs over my property. Why would they bury nuts for winter when they hybernate? IL resident here.

Thanks for helping and sorry for getting off-topic...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 11:17AM
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marilyn_c(z9 Tex.coast)

Sometimes when they fall, they will rupture their spleen and in that case, it may take a few days for it to die. I don't rehab squirrels, rather, possums and armadillos, but a squirrel rehabber told me this.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 12:45PM
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wynnie(Zone 7)

I did a web search specifically on "squirrels falling from trees" and found this topic. I have squirrels falling from the oak trees in my yard like acorns. We had to take two to the vet because one was obviously paralyzed and the other was wide awake but unable to move. Two others were found dead and another one more likely fell victim to my cat Juno...it didn't look too good.

I had no idea it was so common for squirrels to fall like that. I had never experienced that till recently. The trees in my yard are very tall and they have their nests at at least 40 feet and higher. There's about 4 or five nests around my yard, which isn't HUGE, so it seems like a LOT of squirrels falling.

I wish I could get rid of these nests. I can't take the dead squirrels, and especially the half dead ones!! Any suggestions? 4 cats aren't scaring them away at all, can you believe it?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:06PM
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midwesternerr(5)

I doubt there is much you can do to stop squirrels from nesting in your trees. You can put a metal baffle on the trees, but most likely they will find a way to access one of the trees anyway. Unless your yard is very large, the trees are probably close enough that they can get from one to the other or reach the trees froma neighbors tree, a rooftop, etc. Squirrels can even climb straight up a metal piple. I had a tv attenae outside my house and squirrels went up and down the pipes just as fast as they can climb up or down a tree. You could trap and relocate the squirrels, but new ones will just fill their place unless all the neighbors for miles take part in the effort. So the most likely solutions are 1) Cut down any trees or 2) Keep the cat inside or on a leash so it won't harm wildlife in your yard and let nature take its course.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:45PM
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Noreply_aol_com

I was walking in Central Park today and I heard what I thought was a branch snapping. I turned around and saw a squirrel lying motionless on the ground. His squirrel friends were circling the tree he fell from in a very frenetic fashion. He picked up his head once and then didn't move again. The sad part is this happened in front of two small children. The little boy started crying and his mother tried to shield him from the poor animal, but it was too late. I know it is the circle of life, but it was still so sad to witness! I'm not the better of it yet, which is why I searched for this page. it's nice to find kind people online who care, instead of snarky people who make insensitive remarks.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 3:34PM
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mdanovic_AOL_com

I had a bunch of young squirrels playing in my yard and one slipped and fell 80 feet! I heard that same thud that you all heard! It was if everything got still and all the young squirrels got quiet and watched as he jumped back up and ran up the tree to continue to play with his buddies! I read that they use their tails as parachutes and for padding. Very happy to see the little guy lived from such a far fall! Sad for the lady above and for her kids to see that. But life is full of sad events and happy ones! The sad ones make the happy ones even better!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:09AM
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