Perhaps you are curious to know when do squirrels have babies? Well, you’re in the right place to get the answer.
With good intentions, many people want to know everything about squirrels, including their birthing. Although these charming furballs are native to the wild, they have become popular pets in modern life.
Therefore, the squirrel enthusiasts must enlighten themselves with all squirrels’ behaviors. Knowledge about squirrels is a guiding stone to how we should care for these critters as our pets.
By exploring my article, you will learn everything about squirrel birthing, including when, how long, and how squirrels have babies.
Squirrels are Viviparous
Squirrels are viviparous, and this means that they bring forth to live newborns. Once a female squirrel is ready for mating, the males engage in a mating chase, but the dominant or luckiest male is the one to mate her.
After copulation, the eggs unite with sperm cells resulting in fertilization. Eventually, the fertilized eggs form new individuals that develop inside the body of a mother until parturition.
Female squirrels are pregnant with babies for around 4-6 weeks, but this varies depending on the species. When giving birth, the mother squirrel gives rise to 2-5 kits or more. The kittens are born naked, blind, and toothless.
The innocent and helpless baby squirrels stay in the nest for 2-3 months, being nursed by the mother. The babies are under the mother’s protection until they’re fully furred and independent.
When Do Squirrels Have Babies?
After learning that squirrels are viviparous, you would also want to know the period these furballs have babies.
Generally speaking, squirrels often have their newborns in winter and spring. Further in the article, we will explore each squirrel species and the specific month they have their babies.
Moreover, knowing the mating season for squirrels is paramount; these two go hand in hand. The mating season and birthing for squirrels happen twice a year. While females can only mate once or twice per year, the males are ready for mating at any time.
Let’s traverse the mating habits of each squirrel species and the time they deliver their babies.
American Red Squirrels
The American red squirrels have a greyish or reddish-brown coat, and the belly’s fur is white. These squirrel species are abundant in the United States and tend to grow ear tufts during winter for ear protection.
The female American red squirrel mate two times per year, during the late winter and middle of the summer. A female is in heat for only one day during the breeding season.
The mother delivers her first batch of babies between March and April, and the second birth happens around July or August. The litters are born after a 33-40 days gestation period.
Eastern Grey Squirrels
The Eastern gray squirrels have a gray body, with some brown, white, or black fur. Their belly is white, and these species tend to be slightly longer than the American red squirrels.
These squirrel species commonly breed in late winter or early spring, and their second breeding season is in the mid-summer.
The females are pregnant with the babies for 44 days, and the kits are born in late February through March, and the second litter arrives in late July through August.
We have a couple of squirrels in this group of ground squirrels, including chipmunks, prairie dogs, groundhogs, and marmots. Their nests are in the ground, and they live in a community, a behavior that is uncommon among other squirrel species.
Moreover, the ground squirrels mate in the late spring and breed only once per year. They produce young ones after 23-30 days of gestation period.
They give birth to only a single litter consisting of approximately 5-8 litter, although the number can be more or less.
Fox squirrels are tree squirrels, and they are native to North America. They are the most prominent tree squirrels.
The fox squirrels can mate any time of the year, but their typical breeding season is between December and February and then from May through June. The female delivers her babies after a successful pregnancy of about 44 days.
This group of squirrels has two breeding seasons per year and a gestation period of about 40 days.
They produce two litters of kits; the first comes in the late spring or early summer, and the second in early autumn.
How Long Do Squirrels Give Birth?
I’m very confident that you now know that most squirrels give birth two times per year. A female squirrel that is one year old is ready to carry the pregnancy.
The mother can give rise to a litter of 2-9 kittens, but it’s not miraculous to find a female with one kit or more than 10. Moreover, squirrels are pregnant with their babies for about 23-44 days, but some tropical and African squirrel species can go up to 65 days.
Some species like ground squirrels have a short gestation period and others a long one. We have discussed each squirrel species with its gestation period above in the article.
A female in labor takes only a few hours to deliver her offspring, and she bares them when they’re naked, blind, and without teeth.
Many animals with squirrels included remain fertile as long as they live. And this means that they can produce babies at any age after they’re sexually mature.
Where Do Squirrels Give Birth?
The mother squirrels prioritize the safety of their young ones so much. The babies are their primary responsibility. Apart from feeding them, the mum ensures her babies are safe throughout.
Squirrels give birth in places they know are safe, including attics, dens, or chimneys. Some squirrels go to use their winter dreys as the maternity pen or opt to build new ones.
The female then lines the nest with soft materials to prepare a warm and comfortable place for the babies. After birth, the kittens continue to stay in the nest for about 2-3 months without going outside.
At around ten weeks, baby squirrels have full-grown fur and teeth. Their teeth are strong, and they can eat solid foods; during this time, the babies give up on suckling. Fortunately, they’re able to look for food on their own.
We have a couple of squirrel species, but they are all viviparous creatures. The breeding and birthing season for squirrels is different from one species to another, and they also differ in the gestation period.
Squirrels are capable of producing anywhere from 1-9 newborns per litter or more. From this, we learn that one mother can have more than ten offspring per year. Additionally, mother squirrels don’t depend on males when caring for their babies.