Baby Sparky Learns to Swim!

Squirrel 2

I had thought that all mammals could swim, except for the sloth, which I have since seen swimming in a nature documentary and the giraffe, which might not swim too well, but somehow manages not to drown. (I don’t think he’s very good at the backstroke though.)

Apparently large apes such as gorillas and orangutans cannot swim. Of course, neither can humans naturally, unless taught, and then we swim very well. Still, it is odd to see animals swimming that are not normally associated with water.

Did you know that squirrels can swim quite well?

My husband was out in the garden with Little Monkey when they came across two squirrels. One was an adult and one a kit; a baby. When the squirrels saw LM they scarpered; the adult up a tree and the baby straight into the pool!

The first I knew about it was my husband calling me saying there was a squirrel in the pool. Sadly no photos of the actual event as we were too busy saving Baby Sparky from drowning!

Baby Sparky

I ran to the back door where I could see the baby squirrel doing the “doggy” paddle in the pool. My husband was getting the pool net ready to rescue the baby and Little Monkey was trotting across the lawn, at that moment unaware of Sparky in the pool.

I called LM into the house and shut the door. This was the first course of action as far as I was concerned. By the time I’d done this, my husband had placed the pool net in the pool and the baby had jumped onto it and straight out into the bushes.

Sparky was only in the pool for a few seconds and was swimming well when I saw him, but still, it must have been quite a shock. Swimming is not a natural activity for a squirrel and the water was icy cold!

Good to know he survived his ordeal, but he still has a lot to learn.

Baby Sparky 2

Later, when I spotted many squirrels in my garden I grabbed my camera to snatch a few shots. The adults immediately disappeared up a tree, whereas the youngster hung around, not too sure what to do!

Hopefully he quickly becomes a little more ‘garden’ savvy!

 

38 thoughts on “Baby Sparky Learns to Swim!

  1. samanthamurdochblog

    Interesting comments…I am of the strictly non-swimming persuasion…the deepest I go is ankle depth! Pleased baby Sparky was all right…and I have a vague guilty memory of me as a young child putting a gerbil in the fish tank to see if it could swim…😱😸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      This is it – he could swim fine, but I am not sure he could have found his way out of the pool; the water was so low at the time.
      He hasn’t been back in since, so looks like he learnt his lesson! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Key Image Photographers

    I have to disagree with you about humans not knowing how to swim. My little one was born in water and we’ve been having swimminh lessons recently. Apparently human babies naturally hold their breath underwater and mine was doing a perfect front crawl until he realised it was easier to float and let mummy pull him round the pool ha ha
    The squirrel is super cute though and I am surprised the baby went in the pool. A lesson in survival to be learnt there for sure! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Babies are a different story to adult humans, to which I was referring. Human babies are born with the highest percentage of body fat of all mammals (15%), making them naturally buoyant. Initially, they also have that natural bradycardic response to hold their breath under water, as you say, but lose this at about 6 months.
      It’s great that you are teaching your baby to swim so young. It seems much harder to learn as an adult.
      Yes, the baby squirrel just panicked and ran – not realising the pool was there. He’s not been in since, so hopefully he’s learnt! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Key Image Photographers

        Ha ha poor thing must have got the shock of its life!
        How weird we loose that automatic response. Maybe our brains take over and we start over thinking everything? Apologises didn’t realise you were talking about adults with the blog mentioning baby squirrels and baby-zone is probably where my heads at at the moment 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        Oh no worries at all; I found your comment very interesting and I Was talking about babies!
        If you throw a baby Ape into water it does not have this breath-holding instinct, and having less body fat, does not float as easily either.
        There is an Aquatic Ape theory that deals with this Baby phenomenon, along with other things. I find it fascinating, though it is not proven and many scientists frown upon the theory.
        Why do we humans have virtually no body hair? (compared to eg a chimp) Other mammals that have lost their hair, such as Hippos and Elephants, spend a lot of time in water. . .
        Anyway, always fun to have a discussion and enjoy swimming with your baby. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. scooj

    I didn’t know squirrels could swim, but the ecologist in me tells me they must be able to as they go about colonising new territories across rivers onto lake islands etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C C Cedras

    This is so cute!

    Many eons ago, I helped my mother move into a new house with a pool. She also had a new puppy — a Lahso Apso/Shitzu mix named “Duke.” Anyway, Duke and I were the advance team at the house on moving day, and I escorted him into the back yard. Little scrap just sauntered off the pool deck right into the water, having no clue what he’d just done. He was more hair than anything else, so quickly sank. I’m thinking. Damn. I’m going to have to jump into the pool fully clothed and save this 2-pound dog from drowning. Then, he popped up and started pumping those little legs; so I knelt at the side of the pool with encouraging, “Here, Duke!” imprecations and he swam to me for a boost out of the pool. Thereafter, he would never get in the pool unless he was on a floatie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      I think he just panicked and didn’t realise the pool was there!
      Yes thank you, we got one day of good rain last week. Dam levels at 20.9%.

      Like

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