Rocky the Flying, erm Swimming Squirrel

My heart was in my throat as the wake from the motorboat closed over him. Would he emerge from the roiling water?

© Babsje (

Squirrel swimming with a duck a few days after the hurricane.

The first time I watched this squirrel swimming across the channel at the lake, I was too dumbfounded to reach for the camera. All I could do was sit in the kayak and stare open-mouthed at the incongruous sight of a squirrel dog-paddling as though he was a natural-born swimmer.

Maybe he was a natural swimmer because he handled the boat’s wake with agility. In the third frame of the photo sequence here, the foreground water shows the last remnants of the choppy disturbance from the boat.

© Babsje (

Squirrel swimming across the cove a few days after the hurricane.

After the fourth frame, he continued paddling on, headed for the shore. Unfortunatly the light was too dim there for photos worth sharing, but at the shore, he grabbed on to some vegetation and quickly scampered ashore.

I observed this same squirrel swimming in two different areas of the lake that month. On one occasion, I discovered him entering the water by climbing down an overhanging branch that jutted out into the water and touched the surface about fifteen feet from shore. The squirrel was definitely choosing to enter the water by way of the branch, he hadn’t merely tumbled in. Remarkable.

This week, Michelle W and WordPress asked us to speak about “one.” This is definitely one extraordinary squirrel!


Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: One prompt.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(These photos were taken September 11, 2011.)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Swimming Squirrel

Posted on December 21, 2013, in Art, Humor, Nature, Nature Photography, Photography, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Excellent story … and proof! Never seen this behavior before. Thanks!

    • Thanks for your kind comment, Nick, I was incredulous myself when I first caught the squirrel out of the corner of my eye while photographing a great blue heron the first time I saw it – too surprised to take a photo!

  2. Crazy! I’m glad you documented this guy!

  3. 😀 Isn’t that something?

  4. Never heard of swimming squirrels. Do you know if this is quite unusual? Lucky you to see it and get photos! 🙂

  5. Amazing! I had no idea a squirrel would choose to navigate water. Must be part otter! 😉

  6. Didn’t know they could swim!

  7. That is crazy. Evidently, he has a duck gene in his body somewhere.

  8. I wonder if he has little webs between his paws…:-) just like swimming dogs…Darwin revisted!
    Darwin’s Squirrels-tee hee

  9. These are amazing photos and I have never seen a squirrel swim either,

    • Thanks for your kind words, glad you like the swimming squirrel. It’s not unheard of for squirrels to swim, but it’s pretty rare from what I gather, so I feel lucky to have seen this!

  10. This is so nice, made me happy! Had no idea squirrels could swim! Thank you for yet another great story!

  11. How unusual? Brings a new definition to why the chicken crossed the road!

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: One (Miffy) | What's (in) the picture?

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