5 Signs of Pregnant Squirrels: All You Need to Know

5 Signs of Pregnant Squirrels: All You Need to Know

Do you have a wild squirrel friend and want to know if she is going to be a momma squirrel soon? If so, this blog post is for you! This post will help you recognize the five most common signs of pregnant squirrels. Keep reading to learn more information.

Signs of Pregnant Squirrels

  1. Look for a bigger belly – pregnant squirrels will be noticeably bloated
  2. Check for enlarged nipples – this is a common sign of pregnancy in female mammals
  3. Observe whether the squirrel is nesting more than usual – she may start collecting materials to build a nest
  4. Notice if the squirrel has lost interest in food – she may start eating less as her pregnancy progresses
  5. Watch out for mood swings – pregnant squirrels may become irritable or defensive when approached
pregnant-squirrels-fox-squirrel
Fox squirrel

How Long are Squirrels Pregnant?

Squirrels are pregnant for about 38-46 days. This is a relatively short pregnancy when compared to other mammals. During this time, the squirrel’s body will undergo some major changes as she prepares to give birth.

A squirrel’s pregnancy also depends on the weather. If it is a warm and sunny autumn, the squirrel’s body will not be able to properly prepare for the cold winter months. As a result, her pregnancy will be shorter than normal.

If it is a cold autumn, the squirrel’s body will work overtime to prepare for the harsh winter months. As a result, her pregnancy will be longer than normal.

pregnant squirrel - fox squirrel
pregnant fox squirrel

How Many Babies do Squirrels Have at a Time?

Squirrels generally have two litters of babies per year. Each litter usually consists of two to five baby squirrels, but there can be up to eight.

What are baby squirrels called?

Baby squirrels are called kits or kittens

newborn baby squirrel
a baby kit named 8220Davinshe8221 courtesy of wildlife rehabber Omakoda on Instagram

What do Baby Squirrels Look Like?

Newborn squirrels are born helpless, hairless, blind, deaf, and toothless. Their eyes are closed, and their ear flaps are folded towards their head.

Baby squirrels’ eyes are not open when they are born and can’t see or hear. As they grow older, their eyes open fully, and their vision improves. Around the time they are four to five weeks old, baby squirrels’ eyes open and their hearing also becomes better.

They begin to explore their surroundings more and start to play with other young squirrels. By the time they are eight weeks old, they look like adult squirrels, but their body size is still smaller. Their fur also continues to be softer and less dense than an adult’s fur.

When are Baby Squirrels Born?

The first liter of baby squirrels is born in the spring months, while the second will arrive in late summer or early autumn.

This means that if you see a squirrel giving birth in the middle of summer, she is likely part of the second litter.

Exactly When do Squirrels have Babies?

Squirrels are known for their two breeding seasons, which correspond to spring and fall. The mating season begins in December and lasts until February when it resumes in late June through August. The following are date estimations:

The baby squirrels are born from April to July, depending on the species.

  • Fox squirrels usually give birth between January-March and again from July-August.
  • Flying squirrels usually give birth between February-April and again in late August –September. 
  • American Red Squirrels give birth in March-April and again August-September.
  • Gray Squirrels give birth around February and August.
  • Chipmunks typically only have one breeding season between January and February.
pregnant ground squirrel
pregnant ground squirrel

Do Squirrels Lay Eggs?

No, squirrels do not lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to live young. Litters usually consist of two to five baby squirrels, depending on the species.

The young are born blind and hairless and weigh only a few ounces each. They will stay with their mother in the nest until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

baby ground squirrel - round tailed ground squirrel
baby round tailed ground squirrel in Tuscon, Arizona

How Do Squirrels Carry their Babies?

The female squirrel will carry her babies in her mouth, using her teeth to grip them gently but firmly. She will also use her tail to help support the weight of the infants.

Depending on the size of the litter, a mother squirrel may have to make multiple trips back and forth between her nest and her young.

newborn Asiatic striped squirrels
newborn Asiatic striped squirrels

Do Squirrels Have Nipples?

Yes, squirrels have nipples. If you’re wondering how to tell if a squirrel is pregnant, one of the signs to look for is the development of nipples.

As the pregnancy progresses, the nipples will become more pronounced and may even leak milk.

Do Male Squirrels Have Nipples?

No, male squirrels do not have nipples. Nipples are a sexually dimorphic trait, meaning they are different between males and females of a species.

In most mammals, including squirrels, females have nipples while males do not. This is because only females need to produce milk to feed their young. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the male marsupial mouse, which does have nipples.

So, if you see a squirrel with nipples, it is definitely a female.

pregnant squirrel - fox squirrel laying on fence
pregnant fox squirrel

How Long Does it Take for Squirrels to have Babies?

It’s unclear how long pregnant squirrels labor for, as there hasn’t been much research on the subject. However, based on what we do know about other animals’ gestation periods, it is safe to assume that pregnant squirrels probably labor for a few hours before giving birth to their young depending on the size and species.

While most animals stay fertile for as long as they live, female squirrels will continue to bear babies as long as they are sexually mature.

It’s important to note that a mother squirrel will prioritize the safety of her young, so you should try to avoid bothering wild squirrels in their nests.

preganant squirrels - fox squirrel on fence
pregnant Fox squirrel

What Happens to Pregnant Squirrels’ Offspring?

Once the baby squirrels are born, they will be completely dependent on their mother for food and shelter. The mother will nurse them for around eight weeks.

Once they reach adulthood, squirrels typically only live for around three to four years in the wild. However, some captive squirrels have been known to live for up to 20 years.

newborn baby squirrels
newborn baby squirrels

How long do baby squirrels stay with their mother?

Once baby squirrels have been born, they entirely depend on their mother. They cannot regulate their body temperature or care for themselves at all. For the first few months of life, baby squirrels stay with their mothers.

The young will stay with their mother until they are four to five months. After that, they will disperse to find their own territories. However, some young squirrels may remain in their natal group for a year or more before leaving.

Conclusion

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding pregnant squirrels. This is why we felt that it was important to write this article. That’s all for now but stay tuned – I plan on doing a follow-up post about what to do if you find an orphaned baby squirrel. Take a peek at this article if you want to know more about my first experience with a baby squirrel.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or stories about pregnant squirrels, please share them in the comments below. I always love hearing from you!

4 thoughts on “5 Signs of Pregnant Squirrels: All You Need to Know”

  1. Very interesting. The writer keeps your interest from line to line. I finish one paragraph and immediately had to go on to thd next. Very well written!

    Reply
    • Thank you for bringing that oversight to my attention. I have added this additional information to the blog post. Fox squirrels usually give birth between January-March and again from July-August.
      Much appreciated

      Reply

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