Pregnant squirrels often give few apparent signs of pregnancy, making it difficult to tell whether a squirrel is expecting. However, with some knowledge and a keen eye, it is possible to recognize the signs of a pregnant squirrel in your backyard or park. Keep reading to learn more about a pregnant squirrel.
What Are the Signs of Pregnant Squirrels?
Spotting a pregnant squirrel can be quite the spectacle! Look for a plump, rounded belly and a surge in cautious behavior. These nurturing creatures will be feasting more often, darting about in the daylight, and busily crafting cozy nests for their soon-to-arrive little ones.
How to Know if a Squirrel is Pregnant
- Look for a bigger belly – pregnant squirrels will be noticeably bloated
- Check for enlarged nipples – this is a common sign of pregnancy in female mammals
- Observe whether the squirrel is nesting more than usual – she may start collecting materials to build a nest
- Watch out for mood swings – pregnant squirrels may become irritable or defensive when approached
How to Tell if a Squirrel is Pregnant or Nursing
There are a few ways to tell if a squirrel is pregnant or nursing.
Change in Behavior
The first thing to look for is changes in behavior. Pregnant and nursing squirrels will be more active, especially when collecting food and supplies to build their nests.
They may also become more territorial, defending their area against intruders. Another way to tell if a squirrel is pregnant or nursing is to look at its physical appearance.
A pregnant squirrel may become plumper and heavier than usual, while a nursing squirrel may appear thinner and have a fluffier fur coat. Additionally, if you can safely observe the squirrel’s nipples, you may see milk coming out of them, which is a sure sign of nursing.
Ground Squirrel Pregnancy
Finally, it’s important to note that some species of squirrels, such as ground squirrels, may have multiple litters per year, so it’s possible for a female to be pregnant and nursing simultaneously. In this case, the squirrel’s behavior, physical appearance, and nipples should all be observed closely to determine if she is pregnant, nursing, or both.
How Long are Squirrels Pregnant?
On average, squirrels are pregnant for about 44 days. Depending on the squirrel species, this can range from 35 to 46 days.
Squirrels have a relatively short pregnancy when compared to other animals. During this time, the squirrel’s body will undergo significant changes as she prepares to give birth.
Weather Affects the Length of a Squirrel’s Pregnancy
A squirrel’s pregnancy also depends on the weather. If it is a warm and sunny autumn, the pregnant squirrel can’t properly prepare for the cold winter months. As a result, her pregnancy will be shorter than usual.
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 average.
When are Squirrels Pregnant?
Tree squirrels typically become pregnant in the late winter and early spring months.
When are Baby Squirrels Born?
Depending on the species, baby squirrels are born at different times of the year. Below you will find approximate dates baby squirrels are born depending on the species.
What Month are Baby Squirrels Born?
- 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.
How Many Babies Does a Squirrel Have?
On average, a squirrel will have two litters of babies a year, with anywhere from 2 to 8 babies per litter. That means a single squirrel can have anywhere from 4 to 16 babies a year. However, the exact number of babies a squirrel has depends on the species and environment in which it lives.
For example, the southern flying squirrel can have up to 10 babies per litter, while the eastern gray squirrel typically has four babies per litter. Additionally, environmental factors such as food availability, temperature, and other resources can impact how many babies a squirrel can have.
What are Baby Squirrels Called?
Baby squirrels are called kits or kittens.
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 toward 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 improves.
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 continues to be softer and less dense than an adult’s fur.
Do Squirrels Eat Their Babies?
No, squirrels do not eat their babies. Most mammals are very devoted parents and will go to great lengths to protect and care for their young.
Squirrels have a strong bond with their offspring and often carry them around in their mouths for safety. They will also fiercely defend their babies from potential predators.
Squirrel Breeding Season: What Time of Year do Squirrels Mate?
Squirrel breeding season happens in the spring and fall. The mating season begins in December and lasts until February when it resumes in late June through August.
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.
How Do Squirrels Carry their Babies?
Female squirrels carry their babies in their mouths, using their teeth to grip them gently. 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.
Do Pregnant Squirrels Have Nipples?
Yes, pregnant 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 differ 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 a female.
How Long Does it Take for Pregnant 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 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 their size and species.
Female Squirrels: Age is No Obstacle to Fertility and Reproduction
Female squirrels are an exciting species when it comes to fertility and reproduction. Unlike most animals, female squirrels will remain fertile and able to bear babies as long as they are sexually mature. This means that they don’t experience a decrease in fertility or reproductive capabilities as they age and can continue to reproduce as long as they are healthy and living in good conditions.
Their hormones do not decline as they age, unlike other animals. As a result, female squirrels can have multiple litters of offspring in a year, making them highly productive members of the animal kingdom. Female squirrels are incredibly resilient creatures whose ability to reproduce remains largely unaffected by age.
What Happens to Pregnant Squirrels’ Offspring?
Once the baby squirrels are born, they depend entirely on their mother for food and shelter. The mother will nurse them for around eight weeks.
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.
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. Baby squirrels stay with their mothers for the first few months of life.
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.
Pregnant Squirrels – Conclusion
If you have any questions or stories about pregnant squirrels, please share them in the comments below. We always love hearing about your experiences. Take a peek at this article if you want to know more about my first experience with a baby squirrel.
Squirrel Giving Birth
Watch the video below to see a squirrel giving birth to her babies.
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