When Is Squirrel Mating Season?

Posted on January 11, 2022

Everything You Need To Know About Squirrel Mating Season In Canada

If you live in Canada or the eastern United States, chances are that you have seen your fair share of squirrels. These wild animals are frequently seen rummaging through garbage, running up trees and being the focus of your dog’s attention during an afternoon walk. Sometimes, you may even find yourself having to deal with the squirrel species infiltrating your home and causing serious damage to your property. Essentially, squirrels are everywhere no matter the season and that, in large part, is due to how fast they breed.

Let’s take a closer look at the breeding season for squirrels and how their habits may come to impact you and how you live your everyday life.

What Are The Mating Habits Of Squirrels?

Believe it or not, there are actually many different species of squirrels, and mating habits may vary from species to species. However, generally speaking, this type of animal typically mates twice a year. While many people assume mating season begins in early spring, these breeding periods are actually from:
Squirrels do not mate for life and it is not uncommon for females to mate with multiple males. In fact, not only do female squirrels have multiple partners but, unlike other animals, it is usually the female in the relationship who chooses which males she wants to mate with. The males will chase after them, and, more often than not, they will choose the most dominant ones.

What Is The Difference Between A Fox Squirrel, A Ground Squirrel, A Flying Squirrel and An Eastern Gray Squirrel?

Two red squirrels mating atop a tree
Squirrels have many different species, even though the term is used interchangeably. Let’s go over some of the most common ones.
Fox Squirrels
These are the largest species of tree squirrels native to North America. They are oftentimes mistaken for red squirrels as both co-exist in North America.
Ground Squirrels
Ground squirrels, as the name suggests, are a type of squirrel you will find on the ground, rather than in a tree.
Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels are not capable of flying. Instead, they are able to glide from tree to tree.
Eastern Gray Squirrels
This grey squirrel is native to North America and is the most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerator.

Are Different Species of Squirrels Able To Mate With Each Other?

Yes, other species are in fact able to mate with one another and actually explains why some squirrels have a black coat

How Do Male Squirrels Attract A Female Squirrel?

With multiple males competing for a single female at the same time, you can safely assume that a male squirrel would have to do something drastic in order to gain her attention. In this case, knowing that female squirrels prefer dominant males, they will often try to leave a lasting impression by loud chattering or slapping tree barks. These actions signify strength and will help set aside the dominant male from other males.

How Many Partners Do Female Squirrels Have?

Although only receptive for less than a day during squirrel mating, females might mate multiple times with many different partners. Her pheromones attract males from up to half a kilometre away, and with the large number of male squirrels chasing a single female, it is not uncommon for her to mate more than once in a single day. In fact, with copulation taking anywhere from about a minute to 25 minutes, one female could potentially mate with up to 14 males.
Male squirrel sniffing female squirrel in heat

When Do Squirrels Reach Sexual Maturity?

Squirrels will typically reach sexual maturity between 10 to 12 months. At this age, both males and females are fertile and can begin mating. However, a female will not have more than one litter during the first year of her adult life.

What Is The Typical Gestation Period?

The gestation period for an average squirrel is approximately 45 days, meaning that females can give birth to two litters in a single year. The mother squirrel will carry her babies for several weeks before eventually giving birth in either late winter or late summer.

When it comes to the size of a single litter, the average litter size is usually between three to eight young squirrels. When they first are born, the babies are deaf, blind and naked – meaning they have absolutely no fur.

How Long Do Baby Squirrels Stay With Their Mother?

When it comes to squirrels, babies are completely dependent on their mothers for the first few weeks of life in order to fully develop and avoid dying from starvation and dehydration. Female squirrels build a nest to keep their litter safe and the babies will stay there anywhere from five to eight weeks before venturing off on their own.

In the summer, their nest will usually be found on a tree branch but it is not unlikely to find a squirrel and her babies hiding out on your property during the colder months. After all, it is the mother’s duty to keep her young litter safe.

How Do You Get Rid Of Squirrels?

With mating season just around the corner, you may find yourself with some expected guests on your property. Instead of trying to remove the squirrels yourself, it’s best to leave it to an expert. Wildlife experts can humanely remove the pests from your home in a way that works best for you and the animals.