Monday, February 27, 2012

Squirrel Facts: Mating and Birth

Spring is almost here, and soon our squirrel friends will be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny squirrel paws. Mating season for eastern gray squirrels actually takes place twice a year, from December-February, then again from June-August (or a little later for northern regions). So many of the female gray squirrels that you see are already carrying little ones!

The mating habits of eastern gray and other tree squirrels are anything but romantic. Squirrels most definitely do not mate for life. When a female squirrel becomes receptive, which lasts less than one day, her scent will attract males from as far away as 500 meters. The males will compete for the chance to mate with her, with the most dominant male copulating with her first. Other males may get to mate with her after he is finished. Once the act is completed, the males depart and have nothing more to do with the female or the young.

The gestation period for the eastern gray squirrel is about 45 days. Other tree squirrels have a similar gestation period, or slightly shorter for smaller species. The babies are born in a drey or, if one is available, in a cavity nest in a hollow tree. The litter will usually number from two to four babies but sometimes as many as eight, about one inch long and weighing around an ounce. The young are born naked except for whiskers, blind and deaf and completely helpless.

Newborn Baby Squirrels
The young are cared for in the nest by the mother until they are fully independent. Weaning takes place gradually from about seven to ten weeks of age. After the young are able to leave the nest, they will remain with the mother for several more weeks as they learn the skills that they will need in adulthood.


Beebz at about five weeks


40 comments:

  1. Oh..so sweet..You are capturing very good photos..

    from

    Red Squirrel

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  2. I was wondering if I put a piece of coral in my 5 1/2 weeks old squirrels bed, would that be enough calcium without getting supplements. She is still on formula 4 or 5 times a day. I am using the scalded milk with heavy whipping cream and vitamin E oil. I sometimes put pure yogurt in her formula. But still not sure if she is getting enough calcium. When I put the coral in her bed today, she went right for it. I am not sure if that is telling me she is deficient in calcium or not. If anyone knows if this is a good form of calcium PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Thanks

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    1. I HAVE A YEAR OLD HANDICAPPED SQUIRREL.WHEN HE WAS NURSING I USED THIS COMBINATION OF FORMULA,GOATS MILK ALITTLE DILUTED AND BABY OATMEAL IN A BOX AND JARS OF BABY FOOD.(CARROTS,GREEN BEANS OR SPINACH.SPINACH HAS ALOT OF VITAMIN D.AS HE GETS OLDER AND CAN CHEW FOOD BOK CHOY IS A GREAT CHOICE OR RAW SPINACH.DARK LEAFY VEGGIES.NOT ENOUGH CALCIUM CAN CAUSE SEIZURES.THERE IS NO SET AMOUNT TO GIVE CALCIUM TO SQUIRRELS.TRIAL AND ERROR.BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO OVER DO IT.

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    2. I HAVE A YEAR OLD HANDICAPPED SQUIRREL.WHEN HE WAS NURSING I USED THIS COMBINATION OF FORMULA,GOATS MILK ALITTLE DILUTED AND BABY OATMEAL IN A BOX AND JARS OF BABY FOOD.(CARROTS,GREEN BEANS OR SPINACH.SPINACH HAS ALOT OF VITAMIN D.AS HE GETS OLDER AND CAN CHEW FOOD BOK CHOY IS A GREAT CHOICE OR RAW SPINACH.DARK LEAFY VEGGIES.NOT ENOUGH CALCIUM CAN CAUSE SEIZURES.THERE IS NO SET AMOUNT TO GIVE CALCIUM TO SQUIRRELS.TRIAL AND ERROR.BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO OVER DO IT.

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    3. http://squirrelrefuge.org/milkreplacementformulas.html

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  3. So, I'm trying to evict the squirrels from my under porch - crawl space. I have been researching that the best way is to wait until you see the squirrel leave, then cover up the opening so they can't get in, and they will move on? Reading your post, I see that this squirrel may have babies down there, and I certainly don't want to leave them there to starve and die, if that's the case. When would you say would be a good time to "evict" the squirrels? Also, do they ever live in groups larger than one family? Any help you could offer would be appreciated. Thank you.

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    1. Eastern gray squirrels breed twice a year, December to February and May to June, though this is slightly delayed in more northern latitudes. The first litter is born in February to March, the second in June to July - So September would be a good time to evict unless you are in a very cold climate

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    2. Once you know that the squirrels are no longer there and there are no babies, the natural and most humane thing you can use to keep them and many other rodents away, including skunks, is human hair clippings that you can get from a hairdresser, or a product called dried blood that I got from a local farm and tractor supply. It is actually used as a fertilizer for vegetables and plants and contains dried animal blood mixed with soil (has no smell) and will deter them. You sprinkle this near the opening. I have used this for years to keep skunks away as well as squirrels out of my flower pots and it works!

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  4. Furthermore, I've been looking through your list of squirrel species and I can't figure out what kind of squirrel it is. I do have a couple pictures if you would like to contact me, I will send them to you. I can tell you this: no stripes on the back, long tail - kind of a thinner squirrel compared to some of the chubbier looking squirrels in the pictures I have been looking at. Even if they don't do much damage, I still need to evict them eventually, as my husband and I are moving and will be renting our home out. Thanks again for your help.

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  5. When is the best time to clean a squirrel house so babies are not disturbed?

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  6. I " Evicted " about 18 Squirrels , last Summer/Fall , and 12 Since Beginning March with my hav-a-heart trap.
    They Can now frolic ( with their babies ) WAY up in the country , where I bought them new property , and run & jump through the trees to their hearts content ....Just Not in My trees .

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  7. I've been feeding the birds suet and bread, squirrel found the suet & told friends! I now put out graham crackers for the squirrels and Cheerios for both birds and squirrels. Suet is now a bird only thing. And the cereal has vitamins! Problem? Yes- the squirrels are burying the bread & graham crackers!! Any help???

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    1. I have to tell you that any cereal with the exception of single grain baby Rice Cereal, blocks a Squirrels ability to absorb Calcium, so unfortunately, Cheerios, etc . . BAD

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  8. Seeing you say the mom and dad dont stay but one day together. What doo you make of mom and dad both peeking out when I feed. Mom sticks close to get the closer food. Dad runs around finding the food that's farther away,

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  9. This is February and I'm watching to gray squirrels run up and down a tree collecting things for the nest.I'm assuming it's a male and female working on the Nest.I don't get that comment either.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Cannot stand them in my attic .. Trapping them now before spring .... It's a great laugh to watch they run away when I remove them to a new location .Now for more facts .http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1097/1097_01.asp
    Is your name even really written down ?

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  12. I starting hearing squirrels running around in by ceiling around February 16th. I can't access the ceiling so I do not know if the squirrels have had babies. Would it be safe to try to trap and relocate the squirrels and its babies in April or May? I am thinking the babies should be wean and running around by then.

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  13. Hello! I started to feed a young looking squirrel last year. I didn't try to get very close to it, but it (saw two on a couple of occasions) would come right over when it saw me. As of Feb. I've only seen it twice and it wouldn't come anywhere near where I leave the food and left when it saw me. I am wondering if maybe there are little ones and hoping it will be friendlier when the little ones launch. Thank you so much. I sure miss my special buddy!

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    1. It seems that any time a Squirrel has been frightened by
      an incident (in the wild), for their protection, they seem to
      Temporarily distrust everything around them . .
      I have seen hand raised released Squirrels do
      The exact same thing, it's like a Human, after
      A Traumatic incident, trying to "get their bearings"
      Patience, Love & Food, I hope your Buddy returns
      IF in fact your Buddy is Prego & trusts you, you will
      Probably meet the Babies . . Down the Road . .
      With Mom . . Get Lots Of Walnuts !

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  14. I have photos of a mating pair on https://jamiesbirds.wordpress.com/

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  15. I have photos of a mating pair on https://jamiesbirds.wordpress.com/

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  16. I had baby squirrels that came down out of the tree and were pretty much helpless. I bought milk at the pet store for kittens and put it out for them on top of my snowblower shed that was right under the pine tree they came out of and they thrived. I also took my cat's dry food and soaked it for them too. The one thing I never did was touch or pet them as I wanted them to remain wild. My old seventeen year old dog protected one that was on the ground when the other dogs came out. That was amazing to see.

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  17. I have a female squirrel that was brought into my vet practice. I have been raising her since Sept. of last year, she was under 6 weeks when I got her. This week someone brought in an orphaned male about 9 weeks old. If I eventually put them together how much time do I have before I have to worry about babies?

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  18. Those cute little furry creatures have chewed through the siding in my and house and have done a lot of damage. To me they are just big rats with bushy tails.

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    1. I feel the same way. Long haired rats.

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    2. I feel the same way. Long haired rats.

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  19. Ok there is a hole right on the top of the roof outside my window it leaks when it rains on to the front porch rotting the beam downstairs i cant tell them no cause its not my property if there are baby squirrels how would i know this is supposed to be fixed tomorrow

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  20. DO ANY of these queries actually get answers?

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  21. This article is giving the superb clear motive; I really like that thing in articles. Thanks www.topsuperfoodsonline.com

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  22. Have big thanks! That you presented this blog for us full of great knowledge, features, important points that nobody can say wrong. dog pregnancy test

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  23. How long does it take for a squirrel to give birth? I possibly have a mama squirrel in one of my walls.

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  24. COTTON: Here in Tn I raise young squirrel's almost every year up to the age that they are almost completely grown. SOME of them actually will come to me after I release them, if I am by myself, and eat out of my hand and crawl around all over me, once they are grown, but MOST of them wont. Seems like the female ones are the best ones to raise if talking about temperament/tameness etc. I have WOODEN boxes up in our trees that are completely waterproof and have slanted top lids, so you can take out what ever young baby you want to raise. The boxes are completely waterproof. The males that I have tried to raise seem to be wanting to actually bite, even me, once they get bigger and I don't seem to have that trouble with the females. I get them when there eyes aren't open, so they never see their mother and I feed them BOOST from Walmart with a regular syringe with the needle removed. Tried other things with suck nipples on them and they didn't do as good as the syringe. They would take the short nipple on the end of the syringe and then wrap their little front feet all the way around it and go from there. I also feed them all kinds of other stuff as they start to get bigger, like nuts, corn pellets, Sunflower Seeds etc etc and I NEVER see any problem with any kind of Calcium deficiency! They are TOUGH little buggers, so all of this worry about feeding them some kind of special stuff, ISN'T necessary. Anything that can live in the wild, in bad weather with, only food from what is in the wild are TOUGH, so you doctor's don't need to worry about getting to technical about what you are feeding them! Gone for now to check out the boxes to make sure they are full of limbs/leaves and other stuff that they nest in. Hope this helps some on various questions.

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    1. I just wanted to say I'm jealous ! I love to watch the squirrels . they know my window is where the peanuts come from,! among other goodies. I admire the critters,some of them are smarter than some people I know!!!!!! So thank you for a wonderful story.

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    2. There is a company called Squirrels and More, this is their link: http://www.squirrelsandmore.com. They sell animal rehabilitation supplies. They make the perfect nipple for newborn squirrels as well as newborn kittens. They also provide you with formulas to feed them. I am not certain that you should be feeding them BOOST as newborn any animal are lactose intolerant and their nutrition requirements are totally different. A lot of people think that raccoons' nutrition is that of a cat when it is actually the same as a dog, just as an example. You cannot feed a puppy the same milk replacement as a kitten is another example. Please go to this website link and read all of their information.

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  25. I have a squirrel in my attic in Alexandria VA. I think I now hear babies as of this week. How do I remove them? Should I call a professional Squirrel Removal expert in Alexandria?

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  26. I was told Buy a local exterminator company that if you take original Irish Spring bar soap and put it in the attic or places where you do not want squirrels or rodents to come in, that it will keep them out. We bought the Irish Spring Original Scent Bar Soap and some zippered hosiery laundry bags in a 3-pk at the Dollar Tree store and put two Irish Spring bars in each of the 3 bags. Then we nailed the bags with soap up in various places in our attic. We also bought extra bars and cut them in four pieces and tossed them around in various places in the attic. Of course, the aroma goes everywhere and it has really helped to keep the squirrels out of our attic plus it smells great up there! Hope this works for you! ;)

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