So you wanna know “When do squirrels have babies?”
A little bit of an odd question, we know. But you have come to the right place. In this article you will get everything that you want to know about the breeding of those adorable baby squirrels.
When Does It All Start?
Female squirrels are mature enough to have babies when they are about ten months old. When the mating season comes, the female squirrels start to emit a scent and make distinctive sounds to attract male squirrels.
Surely enough, she gets noticed! In favor of all her hard work, typically eight to ten male squirrels respond to her. But how will she find the best suitor for herself?
Very easy!! The male squirrels compete with each other to mate with her. How do they compete, you ask? Well, they wrestle! They wrestle while the female squirrel acts as both an audience and the judge. So next time you see some squirrels fight and one spectating them, you know which one is the female and which ones are the males.
Finally, when the fight is over and a male squirrel is able to assert his dominance, the female squirrel runs away. Then the male squirrel chases her and eventually they mate.
The mating usually lasts about one minute. After the mating is over, the male squirrel secretes a form of a waxy substance that plugs the reproductive system of the female squirrel. It keeps the other male suitors away for a while.
When Is The Mating Season?
Squirrels mate twice per year: mid-summer and early spring.
|Mating Season for Squirrels||Mating months|
|First Mating Season||December to February|
|Second Mating Season||June to August|
The pregnancy of a female squirrel lasts for about four to six weeks. Squirrels are not of communal kind. In this time the female squirrels usually live alone.
But momma squirrel has a lot to do at this time. The mother squirrel gets busy with piling nuts and other foods for her upcoming babies and for herself. Around this time she also has to eat more than usual, as she is eating for more than one.
Time For A New Home?
The squirrels typically build nests on trees. They make bird-like nests, but bigger. But when it is mating season, that changes. The squirrels then move to a temporary nest other than their permanent one.
The squirrels never go very far from their permanent homes to build temporary nests. Their temporary homes are generally within two miles of their original nest.
Their temporary nests can be of two types. One is the hollow den of a tree that was created by a woodpecker and has decayed with age. This type of den is very strong and great for stockpiling nuts and other food.
The other type of nest is very interesting. In order to protect the kittens from predators, (crows, owls, kites, snakes) momma squirrels build their nest somewhere in/near a human household. May be taking up residence beside a wall, attics or sheds. As most predators are afraid to come near humans, it’s a great strategy for protecting the baby squirrels.
So the next time you see a family of squirrels anywhere near your home, you know why they are there!
Sometimes the squirrels maintain two temporary homes at once. One for stocking food and the other is for their kittens.
When do squirrels have babies?
Here Come The Babies!
As there are two breeding seasons, obviously there are two birthing seasons. The birthing seasons of squirrels are March to April and July to September, as is shown in the below table:
|Birthing Season for Squirrels||Birthing months|
|First Birthing Season||March to April|
|Second Birthing Season||July to September|
The mommy squirrel can give birth to 1 to 9 kittens at one season, typically the number being 3 to 5.
The momma squirrel is very protective of her kittens and they are great caretakers. For seven or eight weeks the baby squirrels drink only milk from their mommy. After that, they start to eat solid food. But the duty of the mother is not finished yet. For ten or eleven weeks their mother feeds them and teaches them how to survive on their own. After that period the kittens are on their own. They finally start their own independent lives.
Why Don’t We See The Baby Squirrels?
It is a mystery, right? I bet most of you have never seen a baby squirrel. Now why is that? Why don’t we see them? And how do they even look?
The newborn baby squirrels are just about one inch long and one ounce in weight. They are blind and hairless. Like any other newborn in the rodent family, their ears are also folded against their skulls and they are completely helpless. As they are heavily dependent on their mom, they never come out of their den until they cannot survive on their own. That is why we seldom see them.
When the kittens are ready to leave their home, they are covered in fur and fat. And their parents have lost fat and shed fur for the winter. So there is not much difference in the babies and their mothers. So we are not able to make the difference, even if we see a baby squirrel.
After the baby squirrels leave their home, they start their own independent lives, they grow up and the cycle goes on. That is the beauty of mother nature. It flows in a circle. The circle of life.
We hope, we have kept our promise that we made in the beginning of the article “When do squirrels have babies?”. Now you know everything that you want to know about the breeding of baby squirrels.