QUICK SUMMARY ↬ Squirrels give birth to baby squirrels twice a year. The first is between February and April, then with a second litter around July through August. The timing of the births largely depends on the latitude and availability of food.
Spring is the season of new life, and that includes life for litters of baby squirrels (or kits). But when do squirrels have babies? And how and when does mating season come into full swing?
When do squirrels have babies?
In this article, we’ll talk more about Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) also known as grey squirrels because this is one of the most common types of squirrels, if not the most common one.
According to Animal Diversity Web, squirrels breed twice a year. The first is between December–February, with the second one between May–June. But this can be delayed in high latitude states like Alaska, Canada, and the US Northern border states.
Squirrel’s pregnancy or gestation lasts 44 days, so that means squirrels give birth between February and April for their first birth of the year. The second birth is between July and August. Here’s a helpful table:
|Breeding month||Birth Month|
Most female squirrels begin their reproductive life at 15 months old but can bear young as early as 6 months. Squirrels can reproduce for more than 8 years. Interesting!
Pregnant squirrels behavior
How will you know if a squirrel is pregnant? Pregnant squirrels have altered hormonal balance which can lead to behavioral changes.
During pregnancy, pregnant squirrels may take on a calm demeanor or begin sleeping more, especially as the delivery day approaches.
Your fun and loving squirrel may stop playing, others become dominant, and may start being territorial.
The first few weeks following pregnancy, pre-pregnancy personality is likely to return.
How many babies or litters do squirrels have?
The average offspring of squirrels is three per litter. Typically 2–4 young squirrels per litter but it can go up to 8 offspring. Every year, squirrels give birth to 2 litters.
In total, a mother squirrel can give birth to at least 4 baby squirrels in a year. This is why most squirrel populations are robust.
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Speaking of population, young squirrels always try to build their nest close to their mother. And since squirrels are not territorial, most of them stay within two miles of their home nest.
If the area is crowded, young squirrels will be forced to build their nest further away.
Another factor that can affect the survival of young squirrels is the season that they are born. Typically, summer babies have a low survival rate compared to spring babies.
How long do baby squirrels stay in the nest?
Newborn squirrels are completely helpless. Thus, they need to stay in the nest for 2–3 months.
They are born in an undeveloped state and require care and feeding by their parents within 3 months.
This is because newly born squirrels are naked, blind, and deaf. Without their mother, they are exposed to predators.
Weaning starts in the 7th week and is completed by the tenth. At this point, the young critters will stay a little longer to learn and adapt to the unfamiliar territory.
It is only after three months that baby squirrels can live without their mother.
Why don’t you see baby squirrels?
You don’t usually see baby squirrels because they don’t leave their nest until they are completely independent of their mother for survival.
And even if you intentionally look for baby squirrels, you probably can’t tell the difference—unless newborn—between a baby and mother squirrels because they look the same size.
Squirrels nest twice a year—in later winter and summer. They commonly have litters of three or four pups.
Babies may begin exploring outside the nest by six weeks and are weaned by ten weeks. A baby squirrel has the best chance of survival when it’s cared for by its mother.