Different species of squirrel can give birth at different times of the year. For example, white-tailed antelope squirrels have their babies in the spring while southern flying squirrels produce one litter in spring and another in fall.1 There are dozens of different kinds of squirrels in North America alone,2 so as usual, we’ll focus on the most commonly recognized one, the eastern gray squirrel.
When Is the Eastern Gray Squirrel Breeding Season?
Gray squirrels can have up to two litters every year.1,2,3 They usually mate in January and then again in June.3 You can tell they’re getting ready to breed if you see them performing their “pre-mating ritual”, which involves a female leading one or more males on a merry chase. After becoming pregnant, the female squirrel will carry her babies for about 6 weeks before giving birth.1 Most baby gray squirrels are born in the months of March and July.2,4
How Many Babies Do Squirrels Have at a Time?
The number of babies in each squirrel litter is variable. Typically, gray squirrels give birth to 2 – 4 babies at a time, but their litters can contain up to 8 young.2 Birth occurs in the nest where the infants will remain until they’re weaned.
1 Jackson, T. (2006). The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of America. London: Lorenz Books.
2 Reid, F. (2006). A field guide to mammals of North America (4th ed.). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
3 Webster, D., Parnell, J., & Biggs, W. (1985). Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.
4 Hefner, J. (1971). Age determination of the gray squirrel (Master of science thesis). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/osu1392069904/inline