I realized how ignorant I was about our furry neighbors when I was surprised to see such young squirrels so late in the summer. So I’ve read up a bit.
Some facts related to squirrels’ mating habits:
- Fox squirrels can mate any time of year; this behavior peaks in December and June.
- The gestation period is about 45 days.
- At two months the young are out of the nest and capable of climbing.
- Average litter size is 2-3, but litters range between 1 and 7.
- Females can produce 2 litters in a year, although 1 is the norm.
So, if Mama Squirrel met Papa Squirrel in mid-June, our young squirrels would have been born in late July, so they would have been capable of leaving their nest in late September. That certainly makes sense! I can almost guess their birthdate!
I can’t know if they are siblings of the baby squirrel I found in the spring, or if we have two mama squirrels, but it is interesting to note that they could in fact be from the same mother.
- Under natural conditions squirrels will live to 8 to 18 years old. However, most squirrels die before they reach adulthood, putting their average lifespan in the wild at 7 months.
- Fox squirrels do not hibernate and are active in rain and after snowfalls, when limbs are covered with snow and ice.
By the way, the meat of the fox squirrel is apparently highly palatable.