When do Squirrels Have Babies? Squirrel Early Life Definitive Guide

when do squirrels have babies

We’re sure you have wondered when you see jumping around these little rodents, you might be wondering about their mating and reproductive habits. So, when do squirrels have babies?

The birthing and mating seasons for squirrels generally happen twice a year. Squirrels have two mating seasons: December and February, and another between late June and August.

Female squirrels give birth in early spring (February through April) or late summer (August/September) after a 38 to 46-day gestation.

When do squirrels have babies and when is squirrel’s mating season?

Although not all squirrels share the same mating season, tree common US squirrels such as the gray squirrel, red squirrel, and fox squirrel have two mating seasons per year. North American tree squirrels mate twice a year, once in the winter (from January to February) and once in the summer (June to August).

Male squirrels will compete to mate with the female because they do not mate for life; in fact, the male squirrel will not stick around the pregnant female squirrel or help raise the young once pregnant, even after giving birth.

How many babies do squirrels have? 

Female squirrels typically have two to four babies, though they may have more. Until they are weaned at roughly ten weeks, the mother will keep newborns and protect them. They’ll stay with their mother for a few more days after that to learn from her and get their bearings in strange lands.

It’s crucial to know how to help the babies while they’re still too small to care for themselves and what to do if one is found outside of its nest. If it’s a baby and it’s not hurt, the mother will usually come back to find it, although she may not be able to bring it back to the nest. The best thing to do is to assist it in returning to its nest.

Where do squirrels build their nests?

Tree cavity dens and leaf nests are the two types of nests built by squirrels.

Squirrels use woodpecker holes or natural holes in older rotting trees as hollow tree dwellings. Squirrels love this nest style because it protects them from the elements of winter, rain, and snow. Tree cavities are most popular in the months leading up to winter when some species hibernate, but squirrels also use them at other times of the year.

Leaf nests are created in the branches of trees for extra stability and are built at high elevations to remain hidden. The squirrels collect little broken twigs, leaves, and dried tufts of grass to make these nets. Leaf nests, like dens, are designed with only one entrance/exit point. They resemble bird nests in appearance but are much larger.

It’s not uncommon for squirrels to have multiple “extra” nests close to their primary nest. Squirrels use these to store food or as a short hideaway from an approaching predator.

Where do squirrels give birth?

Usually, squirrels give birth in the nests they’ve created. You can generally find these nests in a dense cluster of branches (leaf nests), inside tree holes and crevices, and occasionally (much to the owner’s chagrin) in the attic or other places of a home. A squirrel nest in the trees is built with twigs and leaves at very high elevations, with only one entry to protect the mother and her babies from the elements and potential predators.

Female squirrels usually like to give birth in their nests built in trees over the summer. During the winter, homeowners may have to worry about mother squirrels giving birth and nursing their young in peaceful, hidden corners of their homes.

How long do kits depend on their mothers?

Kits are entirely defenseless without their mother’s care when they are born. They’re hairless, blind, and deaf, and they need their mother’s constant attention to stay warm (if born in the winter) and safe from predators. Mother squirrels are incredibly protective of their children and will attack predators, humans, or other squirrels if they get too close.

At 7 to 10 weeks of age, a baby squirrel will begin to wean off of its mother’s milk, but as a young squirrel, it will remain reliant on its mother for a few weeks more after leaving the nest. The little squirrels will need some time to learn the skills necessary to survive in the wild independently.

What to do if you find a squirrel nest at your home?

Female squirrels may sometimes build nests in a homeowner’s attic, shed, or chimney during the birthing season when she is looking for a spot to nest.
That’s why sometimes you may find a nest with baby squirrels in your home. Squirrels, while charming as young, are nosy and can damage your insulation and electrical wiring.

If you hear or see squirrels in your home, it’s best to contact a local pest control company before removing them.

What to do if you find a baby squirrel?

When the mother moves her litter from their nest to a new site, a kit may fall from the nest or be unintentionally left behind.

You may need to intervene if you come across a baby squirrel at the base of a tree or in the grass without its mother. However, as you approach the baby squirrel, you should listen carefully to your surroundings before constructing a cozy little shoebox for your new squirrel pal.

Leave the kit alone if you hear the mother chatting as you get closer to her young. Once you’ve left, the mother will come for it. If you don’t hear the mother’s chattering, however, it’s time to take the kit into your own hands.

We will walk you through what to do if you come across an infant squirrel.

Step 1. Get a shoe box or an open container and stuff it with a towel or a drape

The baby squirrel can lay in a shoebox since it is a safe, enclosed space. You can provide the baby squirrel a nice place to sleep by placing a towel inside the box.

To avoid other animals from upsetting the box and even harming the baby squirrel, do not place water or food inside.

Step 2. Fill a sock with uncooked rice or birdseed and warm it

The infant squirrel can be kept warm by putting uncooked rice or birdseed in a sock, tying it off, and reheating it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Because infant squirrels are designed to stay with their litter and mother, they will quickly get despondent if separated. To prevent the seeds and rice from falling out, make sure the sock is completely closed.

Step 3. Return the baby squirrel by placing it inside the box.

Pick up the baby squirrel with care and place it in the padded, warming box or open container. Then, put it near the tree where you discovered the newborn squirrel. If you didn’t find a squirrel near a tree or aren’t sure which tree is their nesting tree, put the box at the base of the tree closest to the squirrel when you discover it.

Set the newborn squirrel on the tree trunk carefully to see whether it will climb if its eyes are open. If it doesn’t, it’s advisable to secure the baby’s box or container to the trunk. If the eyes aren’t open, it’s best to ensure the box to a tree that isn’t too close to the ground (to avoid predators or other potential injuries to the squirrel).

Step 4. Keep an eye to the baby squirrel

For the following 6 to 8 hours, keep an eye on the box and the baby squirrel, and reheat the sock every 2 hours to keep it warm. If the mother squirrel does not appear, you may want to take the baby squirrel to a local wildlife rehabilitation organization.

What should you do if you discover a squirrel family in your home?

Pregnant female squirrels will sometimes nest in quiet areas of homes, especially during the winter months. Squirrels use attics to give birth and raise their young because they are quiet, warm, and dark. If you’ve heard loud noises in your attic and believe your squirrel visitor has nested and given birth to a litter of kittens, you have a few alternatives for getting rid of them:

  1. Wait after the kits have left the nest to move the mother. Between the ages of 7 and 10, baby squirrels will depart the nest. You can then set up a humane bait trap to catch and relocate the mother to the backyard, near her juvenile brood, once the youngsters have left on their own. If you’re still hearing a lot of noise after ten weeks, you might want to seek expert help.
  2. To remove the squirrel family, contact an expert. You can feel confident that both the kits and the mother squirrel will be carefully captured and moved by hiring a professional. You’ll also reduce the chances of the mother squirrel attacking you and your family.

It’s advisable not to handle a squirrel litter by yourself. If you want to avoid causing any harm to the kits, wait until they’ve left the nest and can care for themselves. Mother squirrels can become overly protective of their young, resulting in an attack on you or your family. If you don’t want to wait, use specialists to help with removal and relocation.

Sealing your home against squirrels

You’ll want to seal off the location once the squirrel family has been removed from your attic or another quiet section of your home or property to avoid further nesting. Look for cracks in the roof, windows, or beams in your attic. You can use caulk or wooden boards and nails to close any holes. It would be best if you also inspected other sections of your home for holes, including those regularly used, and sealed them off.

If you have any open chimneys that are rarely used, seal them off as well, as they are a common entry point for squirrels.

Avoid having birdseed, squirrel feeders, or pools of water near your home to prevent squirrels from flocking to your property in droves. Not only would the accessible food source attract squirrels, but it will also attract other potential pests.

Final thoughts

So, when do squirrels give birth to their young? Squirrels have a short gestation period compared to other animals, mate twice a year, and give birth to two, three, or four kits at a time (but can have up to 8 per litter).

Young squirrels will stay with their mother until they are weaned between the ages of 7 and 10 months and will stay close to their mother’s nest as they grow to learn essential life skills.

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Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.