4 Signs of Pregnant Squirrels: All You Need to Know

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.

pregnant squirrel - featured image

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

  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. 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.

Territorial

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.

Weight Gain

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.

pregnant-squirrels-fox-squirrel
Pregnant Fox squirrel

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.

pregnant squirrel - fox squirrel
pregnant fox squirrel

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.

newborn baby squirrel
a baby kit named “Davinshe” 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 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.

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?

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.

newborn Asiatic striped squirrels
newborn Asiatic striped squirrels

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.

pregnant squirrel - fox squirrel laying on fence
pregnant fox squirrel

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.

preganant squirrels - fox squirrel on fence
pregnant Fox squirrel

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.

Once they reach adulthood, squirrels typically only live for around three to four years in the wild. However, 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. 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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11 Comments

  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!

    1. 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

  2. What do you mean by squirrels will bear babies as long as they are sexualy mature. Like after they die!!??
    Ps. I am a not so smart child, not a stupid adult.

    1. Thank you for your comment @ebeanjosephine. I have included some more details to clarify the statement that “squirrels will bear babies as long as they are sexually mature.”

      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.

  3. I have been feeding a squirrel in my yard for the last two years. Recently, I noticed that she has nipples that are visible now. Her behavior has recently changed. She is breathing more heavily over the past few days. She is not aggressive. She is more relaxed and laid back. Sometimes I see her eating and her head starts to slowly move down and almost touch the ground. She also sits and stares a lot like she is ready to fall asleep. I followed her to a large tree this evening just to see where she might be staying. She is eating and drinking okay. Does her behavior seem to relate to that of a pregnant squirrel? Please let me know your thoughts.

  4. I have a squirrel who literally waits for me to come out and put the food down -today she walked right up to me on the patio. I’m assuming she’s pregnant because she’s huge but that’s all I’ve observed. She’s very friendly and trusting with me and not aggressive at all. She’s just not afraid of my presence. I’m not sure what’s happening and if she’s actually pregnant or just a really friendly squirrel. Anyway, we are friends now so that’s enough for me to be grateful for the connection with one of God’s beautiful creations.

    1. Hi Janelle,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Several of my squirrels here get really large and then on top of that their winter coat. Very round. The gestation period for squirrels is about 6 weeks so it shouldn’t be long to get your answer. Some of my squirrels are extremely friendly too and some I can’t even look at or they will run. They are also creatures of habit and know we have the food 🙂

      Thank you for caring for your furry friend and supporting the Kitty City Squirrels website,
      Maddy

  5. What if a female squirrel identifies as male? What if we misgender a squirrel or deny them the right to not be assigned a gender at birth? Can male squirrels have babies, produce milk and have nipples? Asking for a friend…
    Actually – all kidding aside – this article, alone, validates the absurdity of denying the absolutes of male vs female. No one assigned these squirrels their gender at birth.. it was provided to them through DNA – and Nature. Their gender is not flexible or deniable .. it is what it is. I came to this article out of concern for a squirrel I’ve cared for since its mother was killed last year. She lives wildly, without much support from us – but in the beginning, she relied on us for food. She’s doing wonderfully. I noticed she might be pregnant – and so that’s how I ended up here. While reading this helpful article, it occurred to me how wondrous and miraculous life is.. that our Creator (whatever you might believe) could so precisely create 2 completely different parts to form a whole – and create life. Instead of celebrating the miracle that it all is, we – like the destructive humans we are – want to change and deny our incredible differences.. the very ones that create life to begin with. It’s sad. But I’ll continue to enjoy my squirrels, who are not in denial about their purpose in life, about their natural instinct to mother – to nurture, nest, feed and provide. I’ll try to ignore the world’s attempt to marginalize, once again, women and their incredible – and “sole” ability to give life. We should honor that with TRUTH, instead of woke ideology designed to destroy humanity at its core. Mother Nature proves every day how imperative our differences are… and the beauty in it all.

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