Just as humans do, all animals need to breathe. We all have cells in our bodies that need oxygen for cellular respiration. So, how do squirrels breathe?
Squirrels breathe in a similar way to humans. They breathe into their two lungs and this oxygen passes through a number of body parts until it enters into the bloodstream, it then travels to the different cells of the body.
How animals breathe differs, they either use their lungs or gills to take in oxygen and this is how animals get oxygen into their bodies. If you’re interested in squirrels you may ask yourself how squirrels breathe. This article looks into it, so whether you’re a squirrel enthusiast, a vet or are simply curious this article will be helpful to you.
How do squirrels breathe?
Squirrels collect oxygen and take this oxygen into their lungs to breathe. The collection of oxygen by squirrels is needed for cell renewal. They breathe in a similar way to humans by taking oxygen into their noses or mouths then into their lungs.
Because they have a much faster metabolism than humans do, they need to breathe much faster than humans do. They breathe 100 times a minute, much faster than humans who breathe 16-20 times a minute. And because of all this breathing, they also have heartbeats of about 200 beats a minute.
Their respiratory system looks very similar to a human respiratory system. The air goes into their windpipe which then branches off into their two lungs. Moving into bronchi, secondary bronchi, tertiary bronchi and finally the smallest parts the bronchioles. The air travels through more parts of the respiratory system and eventually leads into the squirrel’s tiny blood vessels and thus into the bloodstream.
If the squirrel is doing more aerobic exercises like running, jumping and fast walking then the rate of respiration of the animal will increase. This happens because the organs of the squirrel need more energy and as a result, the cells in the body need more nutrients. This increase in respiration makes the animal respire faster.
Can squirrels hold their breath?
Squirrels can hold their breath, but not for long periods of time. In fact, when a squirrel holds its breath, for example when being handled, the animal will become immobile and will freeze giving you a fixed stare.
If the squirrel stops breathing for too long then it can get hypercapnia, hypoxia and bradycardia. Any of these can be fatal to the squirrel. If you observe this then calm the animal by putting it in a dark box, this will allow it to recover on its own where it feels safe
I’m summary, squirrels breathe the same way that humans do. They breathe into their two lungs and this oxygen passes through a number of body parts until it enters into the bloodstream, it then travels to the different cells of the body.
They breathe much faster than humans do and on top of this, their breathing increases when they do aerobic exercises. They cannot breathe underwater and they can die from holding their breath for to long.
If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other squirrel related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: why do squirrels eat green pine cones, how do squirrels get calcium in the wild, why do squirrels run away, how do squirrels drink water in the wild, why do squirrels stop in the middle of the road, how do squirrels trim their nails