Two squirrels sitting in a tree

Squirrels can start breeding as young as five and a half months old. On average, they breed for the first time around the age of one. To attract a mate, male squirrels often show off their best acrobatic tree skills to the female. This is referred to as the “mating chase”. Typically, this organism breeds twice a year, once in late winter then again in early spring.  A squirrel’s gestation period is about forty-four days. A typical liter yields between two and six young, but can be as large as eight.

A tiny newborn squirrel enters the world with their eyes and ears closed, weighing nor more than two ounces. Chances are you would not even recognize a newborn squirrel if you saw one, as they appear hairless and pink. They are very weak and at extreme risk of predation. The mother will keep the young with her in the nest and nurse them until they are big enough to venture out on their own. This is a time period of usually eight to ten weeks.  At about the three week point, the squirrels will start to become more recognizable as they start to grow their fur. When they become juveniles, they are ready to be weaned off their mother’s milk and explore outside of the drey. At this time their mother will begin teaching them survival skills including how to find and store food.

The average length of a squirrels life is twelve and a half years in the wild. In captivity, some have been known to live up to twenty years!


To learn how the Eastern grey squirrel exhibits relationships continue on to the INTERACTIONS page. Or return home to explore on your own.