Beyond Cats: Which Other Animals Can Survive High Falls?

There are a lot of animals that fall from almost any height and survive. Most of are smaller animals or have special bodies. Which animals can survive high falls?

Jul 10, 2024byHolly Ramsey

beyond cats which other animals can survive high falls111

Aside from cats, several animals can survive high falls. Many are small or have special aerodynamic features on their bodies that slow the fall. Other than animals, what special animals can survive high falls?


squirrel falling from tree
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It is unsurprising that since squirrels spend a lot of their time in trees or on rooftops, they will sometimes take serious tumbles. Fortunately for these active little animals, they are likely to survive high falls.

There are two basic reasons squirrels can survive falls from tall trees and rooftops. Their size is beneficial because the downward force of any object is determined by the object’s mass times the acceleration rate. Their size keeps them from hitting the ground with as much force as a large animal would.

The second reason squirrels can survive falls from almost any height is their tail provides an increase in drag and slows the rate they move through the air. Squirrels can also spread out their bodies when they are falling, and this slows their descent.


spider in web
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While there are over 45,000 species of spiders and it is impossible to test every species for their ability to survive high falls, several spider species can survive high falls. Some spider species have features that help them survive falls. Larger spiders are less likely to survive high falls onto hard surfaces because the fall can rupture the spider’s abdomen.

Small spiders have a slower terminal velocity than bigger spiders and the air resistance slows their descent to the ground. Spiders will also spread out all eight legs to increase air resistance. Bigger spiders are generally covered in hair which also helps slow the terminal velocity and allow them to survive falls from extreme heights.

Small Lizards

lizard on tree
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Larger lizards will fall harder with a greater impact on the ground, potentially causing serious injury or death. Smaller lizards, however, fall slower as air resistance affects them. Take leopard geckos for instance. When their sticky feet do not grip well and they do fall, they can survive a fall from 20-30 feet.

When jumping or falling, lizards will stretch their bodies and increase their surface area thus increasing air resistance and slowing the fall. Lizards can also use their tails to flip over in the air and land on their feet, decreasing the likelihood of being injured.


hamster sitting on grass
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Hamsters can become seriously injured from unplanned falls, but that does not stop them from being wiggly in their owners’ hands and taking a plunge. They have smaller body mass and that does help them when they fall, but hamsters can be seriously injured if they land wrong.

Hamsters that can plan for a fall to the ground can roll as they hit the ground, allowing them to fall from several feet without injury. If your hamster suffers a high fall, give them a few minutes to recover. Sometimes the impact of the landing can stun them and they do not move for a few minutes. Once they assess their surroundings, they get up and act like nothing happened.

Rats and Mice

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Rodents are excellent climbers and can easily climb trees and scale walls. Mice can survive high falls because their small size affects the terminal velocity. Their soft body can absorb the force of impact without causing broken bones or internal injuries as long as the fall is not over 50 feet.

Rats, like mice, can survive falls from high heights. They are also believed to be able to survive a fall of up to 50 feet without serious injury. Landing on concrete or hitting a hard object will cause rats and mice to sustain fatal injuries. Landing on softer surfaces like grass or sand will cushion them and their survival chances are significantly increased.


ants carrying green leaves
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These fascinating creatures can lift 20 times their body weight yet easily float on the top of the water. When an ant falls, they do not reach a velocity fast enough to kill them. Their small size is beneficial, and the air resistance stops them from falling too fast and keeps them from being injured when they land.

There are several ant species, but all are small. Their small size keeps them from serious injury or death from falling from high heights. Their super strength and water-resistant bodies are cool features, but their size is all that matters when it comes to falling.

Other Insects

wood cockroach
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Most insects are small in stature and can survive a high fall. While size is a big factor, insects’ strong exoskeleton helps keep them safe when they take a tumble from a high height. Cockroaches and other hard-shelled insects can easily survive falls. Unless their exoskeleton or hard shell becomes cracked, they can withstand falls.

Having the ability to fall several feet, even up to 100 feet, and survive with minimal injury is a great feat. Several animals and insects can survive terminal velocity and land with minimal injuries. Aside from cats, squirrels, small lizards, spiders, hamsters, rats, mice, ants, and other insects can survive high falls.

Holly Ramsey
byHolly Ramsey

Holly is a 2nd generation dog breeder/trainer and has over 25 years of experience with several different breeds. She enjoys working with her Japanese Chin and Rough Collies and helping her mom and daughter with their chosen breeds. Most evenings, Holly is hanging out with her daughter watching movies, crafting, or playing with the fur-kids.