How Long Are Squirrels Pregnant?[Childbearing+Litter Size+Mating Details]


how long are squirrels pregnant

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Is my squirrel pregnant or just getting chubby? When did she mate? How will she deliver? How many kits does she deliver? Such questions are common if you’re curious about your favorite animal squirrel pregnancy.

When you find them chasing each other in your backyard you might think they are playing. But actually, males are alluring females to have a date with them. It’s a romantic story indeed!

But what happens next. To know everything from mating to delivery, read this article from start to end. 

First, go through the answer of how long are squirrels pregnant? The pregnancy duration of squirrels depends on species, size of the animal, food availability, the health of the mother, and litter size. On average, they are pregnant from 23-45 days. Large size squirrels deliver from 38-45days while in smaller size species this time period ends up in less than 38days.

Females are able to start the mating process by the age of one year old. They will mate for the first time in late winter. If you want to learn more about the mating season in different species, keep scrolling!

4 Top Signs Of Pregnant Squirrel

How to guess if the squirrel is fat or pregnant? Any idea? Probably many of us rely more on guessing games rather than accurate Info. One more thing, to make an accurate guess you will have to catch them. It is extremely challenging to tell whether she is having a baby or not in the early days. But as time passes by, the symptoms of pregnancy become visible. 

Below are few prominent changes that you may observe as pregnancy sign in your this rodent:

  1. Weight Gain
  2. Swollen Nipples
  3. Big belly in some species but not in all
  4. Stay Close To her house most of the time

Only a Vet or Zoologist would tell by palpating their bellies that they are pregnant or not. Don’t try to call chubby squirrels as pregnant ones. They eat a lot as they love garbage and leftovers. That’s why it’s easy to call a fat one pregnant.

Gestation Period Of Squirrel and Habits

The length of the gestation period in squirrels depends on the species, habitat, and size of the animal. In moderate climates, they tend to deliver more earlier as compared to hot and tropical climates. The gestation period can increase if the size of the squirrel is relatively bigger. For instance,  in a larger size (tree squirrel or flying squirrel), gestation length is between 38to 46 days. While in smaller size species, they stay pregnant for less than 38days. The squirrels of tropical and African areas take much time to deliver. They usually have gestation cycles of more than 65 days. Too long!

Below is an informative table to guide you about the gestation length of different species of squirrel with names:

 Table Of Gestation Period In Squirrel:

Names Of SquirrelGestation Period Length( in days)
Eastern Grey Squirrel44days
Alpine Marmot33-34days
Siberian Chipmunk28-35days
Flying Squirrel40days
Fox Squirrel44-45days
Red Squirrel38days
Western Grey Squirrel43days
Indian Palm Squirrel34days
American Red Squirrel34days
Black Giant Squirrel32days
Smith’s brush Squirrel57days
Prevost’s squirrel46days
Green Bush Squirrel55days
Red Bush Squirrel62days
Northern Palm Squirrel42days
Grizzled Giant Squirrel28days
Congo Rope Squirrel54days
Thirteen-lined ground squirrel28days

Gestation Period & Habits Of Eastern Gray Squirrel

Good news! Eastern grey squirrels have the ability to breed twice a year. However, younger females will bear only one litter as they are less experienced. If more food is available, they will have more strength to deliver twice a year. According to studies, 36 % of females deliver twice a year. They deliver the first litter in February and March and the second in June or July.

Babies are pink with zero fur on their bodies with closed eyes. They have a litter size of 2-9 babies at a time. But the mother is clever enough to nurse and feed all. They deliver inside the nest and keep the kits warm. Mothers nurse the babies up to 2 months. When they are able to live and feed on their own they leave the nest and the mother is ready for the next litter. They will chase the male again to get pregnant and will deliver after 44 days and so on.

Gestation Period & Habits OF American Red Squirrels

The gestation period of Red Squirrels lasts for 38days. They also deliver inside the nest to keep the kitten warm. They deliver 3 -6 babies in a litter in late spring or early summer. But depending on the health of females and food availability, the litter size can increase up to 8 babies per litter. Mother squirrels care for babies up to 2 months. Whether they will have a second litter or not depends on the weather. If it’s too cold, they will not deliver again. Red Squirrels in Northern areas don’t deliver a second litter for the harsh cold while southern red squirrels do have a second litter.

Gestation Period & Habits Of Fox Squirrel

The gestation period of fox squirrels lasts from 44 to 45 days. The young ones are born without fur with pinkish bodies. Mothers tend to warm them in the nest. They bear 2-3 babies per litter. But healthy females may have 2-7 babies per litter. They may deliver1 to 7 liters in their life. Babies open their eyes when they are 5 weeks old. For this reason, mothers have to nurse them up to 8 weeks or 2 months. They dont deliver twice a year. 

Gestation Period & Habits Of Flying Squirrel

Northern flying Squirrels stay pregnant for 40 days.  On average, they deliver 3 -4 babies per litter, but in extreme conditions, females deliver 2-7 babies. This happens when the mother is healthy, mature and lots of food is available for her. Babies are naked, blind, and low in weight. They have whiskers only instead of fur right after birth. Mothers tend to nurse them up to 2 -months until babies start to live on their own. They will not deliver the second litter until next year.

Flying Squirrel NamesGestation Period
Northern Flying Squirrel40days
Southern Flying Squirrel40days

Gestation Period & Habits Of Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrels are one of the most intensive breeders as they bear big litter with 7-8 babies. This number can also go up to 15 kittens per litter. Amazing!!! They show a slight variation in pregnancy duration. On average, they stay pregnant from 22 days to 38 days.

Because of the larger litter size, they only breed once a year. In this way, they take enough time to nurse young ones. 

To add your knowledge, have a look at this table about ground squirrel gestation length

Table Of Gestation Period Of Ground Squirrels:

Ground Squirrel NamesGestation Period
Speckled Ground Squirrel22days
Yellow Pine Chipmunk30days
Vancouver Island Marmot32days
Tarbagan Marmot41days
Little ground Squirrel26days
Yellow Ground Squirrel30days
Daurian Ground Squirrel30days

This hanging squirrel feeder is the best place to treat them and provide them with a nest as well. 

How many babies do squirrel have: Litter Size

If you wonder how many babies would a squirrel have? Here again litter size varies in different species. They deliver babies if there are multiple fathers. The number of babies per litter depends on certain factors

  • Health of female
  • Species Of squirrel
  • Availability Of Food
  • Age Of Squirrel
  • Weather Condition

Typically they deliver only litter per year when they are pregnant for the first time. They also deliver one litter when weather conditions are harsh enough to feed kits. The life span of squirrels is 2- 3 years in a wild environment. However, they can live upto 10 years in captivity. Depending on squirrel health, age and life expectancy, they can deliver 6-45 babies and can have more than 7 litters throughout their life.

 Below is a table of litter size in common squirrel species

Names Of SquirrelLitter Size
Eastern Grey Squirrel1-4 Normal1-8 in Extreme
Flying Squirrels3-4 kits per litter average2-7 in extreme
Tree Squirrels3-4kits per litter
Fox Squirrels2-3 kits per litter1-7 kits in extreme
Ground Squirrel5-8kits per litter
Red Squirrel1-6 kits per litter
Western Grey Squirrel1-5 kits per litter
Indian Palm Squirrel2-3 kits per litter
American Red Squirrel1-5 kits per litter

If you want to attract them in your backyard, spread squirrel feeders in squirrel traps nearby. But remember don’t hurt them as animals are innocent and an essential asset of nature.

How Do Squirrel Mate?

As we mentioned before the gestation cycle of each species differs slightly. It means the partners of different species mate in different seasons. To know more let’s read on the mating behavior and mating season in detail

Squirrel Mating Behaviour

Female squirrel gets sexually mature when she is approximately one year old. While male squirrels are sexually active throughout the year. When a female emits a specific odor along with constant chirping noise, they are ready for mating. These scents and sounds are the main sources to attract males. Males respond to them as they wait for this moment throughout the year.

Females mate once or twice a year while males have no such restriction. They are ready for dating throughout the year.

When both are ready for mating they chase one another. If two males pursue a single mate, they will fight one another. In this fight, old squirrels will gain victory and drive away from the young ones. Mostly squirrels show aggression at this point. For example, red squirrels never fight for territory but they do fight for a mate when it comes to mating. This chasing game will continue until one partner surrenders.

gestation period for squirrels

After ending up in the chase-game, the male wins the female’s heart and she finally decides to be his partner. Now mating starts and ends in one minute. Male release waxy substances containing sperm in the female vagina. This substance prevents other males from mate that female and impregnates her. But in many cases, this will not happen. Females may produce a litter with multiple fathers. 

Females will not leave the male after mating. She will keep on attracting him with scent or chirping for two weeks until she gets pregnant. Once she is pregnant she will not approach males. The role of the male ends up here. He will not take part in caring for young ones. 

Squirrel Mating Season 

If you want to observe mating behavior in this lovely animal, you will have to make the right choice of the season. In which season the squirrel mate is probably the most important thing to know. However, this season is not fixed for all species. Here we’re going to describe the mating season plus behavior of the most common species of squirrel in America. So, keep moving!

Mating Season Of Eastern Grey Squirrel

They are eastern as they are common in eastern regions of the US. They are recognized by grayish bodies with white belly color. They can breed twice a year. But low age mothers bear single litter. 

Mating Season: late winter, early spring, mid-summer

Mating Season Of American Red Squirrel

Red squirrels are found everywhere in the US, they are recognized by whuite underside of the belly reddish-brown fur. They also have a patch of fur around the ears. They are territorial species and can chase large size squirrels.

Mating Season: late winter, mid-summer

Mating Season Of Fox Squirrel

It is harder to differentiate between fox squirrels from Grey Squirrels. Both are very similar in appearance. The only difference lies in the fact that fox squirrels have reddish-gray fur and orange bellies. 

Mating Season: January Or winter season

Mating Season Of Flying Squirrel

They are unique for being nocturnal. If you want to locate them you will have to tap on tree-trunks. They will pop out at once. They can be recognized with greyish brown fur with a white underside. They include southern flying squirrels and Northern Flying Squirrels. 

Mating Season Of Southern Flying Squirrel: late winter, early spring, and during summer

Mating Season Of Northern Flying Squirrel: Early Spring

Mating Season Of Ground Squirrel

As the name itself suggest they love to live on the ground. But it does not mean that they don’t climb on trees at all. They can climb but spend most of the time on the ground. THey only climb up when it’s bedding time or to protect themselves from predators.

Mating Season: Early Spring 

Names Of Common Ground Squirrels In America: Chipmunk, Marmots, Groundhogs, Priariedogs, and susliks.

How Long Are Black Squirrel Pregnant For

As the name suggests they have black fur. This coloration can occur more frequently in eastern gray squirrels and fox squirrels. This color is the result of mutation.

They have the same pregnancy length as fox and gray squirrel as they are basically copies of them. Black squirrels from eastern grey parents stay pregnant for 44 days. While black color from fox squirrels stay pregnant from 44 to 45 days.

Breeding Facts Of Squirrel

To summarize all the above discussion, there are few top breeding facts of squirrels that are common in every species. Try to remember these facts below :

  • Most of the squirrels breed twice a year. Young squirrels prefer to have one litter per year as they are less experienced.
  • Mating starts in early spring while in most species that mate again in summer
  • The pregnancy period varies within species. On average, they stay pregnant from 23-45 days.
  • Mothers tend to keep babies in the nest, holes, and on the ground.
  • Mother squirrel nurse babies from 2to 3 months 
  • Mostly they have 3-4 babies per litter, but ground squirrels can deliver 7-8 babies at a time.
  • After getting sexually mature, females have one litter only when they get pregnant for the first time.
  • Babies are born naked, closed-eyed, and with zero fur.

Do you love squirrels and want to see them on trees in your backyard? If yes, consider investing in these nests. They‘re comfortable and this rodent will surely invade here for the breeding season.

Final Words:

Are you wondering how long a squirrel is pregnant? This article is full of all the helpful information that you may need about mating, pregnancy duration, the delivery time of squirrels, and many more.

From here, you can also learn to identify the type of squirrel in your backyard. If they are chasing and it’s the same season as we mentioned above in mating season, they will deliver soon.

Have you ever witnessed a pregnant squirrel or kits? If yes, let us know about your experience in the comment box.

Roland Carroll

Hi, This is Roland. I love Hunting and it's my hobby. I love to share my hunting experience in this blog. Keep reading all the articles here and let me know what do you think about this site.

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