Squirrels and other rodents don’t get big bellies like humans when they get pregnant. It is quite difficult to tell if a squirrel is pregnant.
A squirrel, maybe a couch potato, or have just taken a heavy meal from your lawn! How can you tell if a squirrel is fat or pregnant? In which season do squirrels get pregnant, and how long the pregnancy of squirrels takes?
The pregnancy of squirrels is short and lasts for only 45 days. At the end of pregnancy, squirrels have clear and large teats, indicating a pregnant squirrel. However, pregnancy can only be confirmed by an experienced veterinarian after palpating the squirrel’s tummy or by using an ultrasound.
How Can You Tell If A Squirrel Is Fat Or Pregnant?
It is difficult to confirm whether the squirrel on your wall is fat or pregnant. However, you can make good speculation by noticing a few details.
First of all, confirm that the squirrel you are looking at is female; otherwise, it’s an old fat male squirrel! Look at the ventral side of the squirrel’s body. Males have large reproductive organs. If the squirrel you notice is female and has large teats, it may be pregnant.
It would be best if you also considered the breeding season. Squirrels reproduce twice a year, once between December and February and then again between June and August.
There are pretty good chances that she is pregnant if you can notice the large teats in the breeding season.
Signs of Pregnant Squirrel
- The nipples of a pregnant squirrel will be prominent.
- A pregnant squirrel will have a prominent belly button area.
- They will be away from other group mates, especially males.
Pregnant Squirrel Behavior
A pregnant squirrel’s behavior includes
- Eating more than usual due to increased nutritional needs
- Solitude from other squirrels
- Decrease inactivity
- Accumulating food and other nesty kinds of stuff
What to feed a pregnant squirrel?
The nutritional needs of a pregnant squirrel increased, but she could not eat a lot.
A pregnant squirrel can eat various foods, including seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
Seeds and nuts like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, and peanuts are high in fats, so they fulfill the energy requirements of a pregnant squirrel.
Vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals and are popular squirrels’ choices. Add a limited quantity of fruits to their diet because many fruits can cause diarrhea.
Avoid cashews, sunflower seeds, and dry corn, as these feeds are hard to digest for pregnant squirrels.
Pregnant Squirrel Giving Birth
Female Squirrels Gestation Periods, Habits, and Litter Size
|Names Of Squirrel||Gestation Period (days)||Habits & Litter Size|
|Eastern Gray Squirrel||44days||Eastern Greys produce 2 to 9 babies in nests and keep them warm. Mother nurse the kits for 2 months.|
|Flying Squirrel||40days||Flying squirrels produce once a year and give birth to 3 babies. Babies stay in nests for two months.|
|Fox Squirrel||44-45days||Fox squirrels produce 1 litter/year having 3 to 7 babies per litter. Mothers keep their babies warm and nurse for 2 months|
|Red Squirrel||38days||Red squirrels produce 1 to 2 litter in a year depending on weather and food. They made the nests keep kittens warm.|
|Ground Squirrel||32days||Ground squirrels are intensive breeders and produce up to 15 kittens per litter. Due to the large litter size, they nurse kits for a longer time.|
|Indian Palm Squirrel||34days||Indian Palm Squirrel lives in the hot and humid areas of India and Siri Lanka. This species makes a nest on the top of trees and produce an average of 3 kits per litter.|
|American Red Squirrel||34days||American Red Squirrels produce 1 to 2 litter in a year depending on weather and food. They efficiently nurse all their kittens.|
|Black Giant Squirrel||32days||Black Giant Squirrels breed from March to April and produce 1 to2 young ones. Mothers nurse their kits in the nests made in hollow trees and kittens wean at the age of 5 weeks.|
|Smith’s brush Squirrel||57days||Smith’s brush Squirrels produce 1 to 2 litter in a year depending on weather conditions. The mother produces 1 to 2 offspring per litter and nurses them in drey.|
|Prevost’s squirrel||46days||Prevost’s squirrel produces 2 to 7 babies in nests and keeps them warm. Mother nurse the kits for 2 months.|
|Northern Palm Squirrel||42days||Northern Palm Squirrel is native to India. This species makes a nest on the top of trees and produce 1 to 2 litters in one year. They have an average of 2 to 3 kits per litter.|
|Grizzled Giant Squirrel||28days||Grizzled Giant Squirrels breed from March to April or July to August and produce 1 to 2 young ones. Mothers nurse their kits for 2 months in the nests made in trees.|
|Congo Rope Squirrel||54days||Congo Rope Squirrel produce 2 to 9 babies in nests and keep them warm. Mother nurse the kits for 2 months.|
|Thirteen-lined ground squirrel||28days||Gestation lasts for 28 days and squirrels produce 3 to 14 kits. Mothers nurse their babies for 2 to 3 months.|
Squirrel Mating Seasons
Squirrels’ mating season occurs twice a year, once between December and February and the second between June through August. However, there is little variation between different breeds of squirrels.
Some species produce only once a year. Some squirrel breeds produce few kittens, while others, like ground squirrels, may have 10 to 15 offspring per litter. Most Female squirrels give birth in early springs and late summers.
Squirrel Litter Size
The litter size of squirrels varies from breed to breed and even within the same breed. Some breeds like the Indian Palm squirrel produce 2 to 3 kittens per litter.
On the other hand, some breeds produce up to 15 young ones, like Thirteen lined ground squirrel, Eastern Gray Squirrel, and ground squirrel. Does produce fewer offspring in their first pregnancy, and the number of offspring increase with age.
On average, the life span of a squirrel ranges from 2 to 5 years to produce 5 to 10 litter in their whole life.
Where Do Squirrels Give Birth?
Squirrels give birth to their young ones in nests, also called dreys.
Mother squirrels use tree cavities, caves, and even nearby houses to give birth. Squirrels made the nest using dry leaves, soft materials, tree branches, and twigs.
Newborn kits spend 5 to 6 months in these nests before living on their own in the wild.
Squirrel Nests Importance for Baby Squirrel Survival
Squirrel nests help them to survive winter, have a look at their territories, and provide shelter to their kitten. Nests keep the baby squirrels warm during winters and insulate them from cold winds.
Do squirrels reuse their nests? Interestingly, a squirrel makes more than one nest and reuses their older nests by repairing them.
Some nests are made for hibernation, some to survey the food stocks. At the same time, others are made to nurse the young ones. Nests made for babies used to be particularly well-hidden and protected from predators.
Interesting Facts About Squirrel Pregnancy
- Squirrels are usually sexually mature at the age of 11 months.
- A male squirrel can smell a female who is ready to mate.
- A pregnant squirrel keeps on finding and storing food for the upcoming days.
- Female squirrels can only mate twice a year; however, males can mate at any time of the year.
- The gestation period of squirrels ranges from 29 to 65 days.
- Smaller squirrels have a shorter gestation period, while large breeds have a longer gestation period.
- Babies of squirrels are called Kits or Kittens and are born hairless and blind.
- Mother squirrels can be aggressive after giving birth and attack if they feel threatened.
- Female squirrels only rear kittens; males play no part.
- Baby squirrels start eating solid food at 10 to 12th weeks of the age.
- Most baby squirrels start living on their own after the 12th week of the age.