Squirrel mating season

Squirrels are adorable to watch in their natural habitat. But when they invade your home, they can be destructive, noisy, and a health hazard. If you’ve noticed one or two squirrels, you most likely have an early-stage infestation. But it won’t be long before squirrels overrun your home.

It’s best to deal with a squirrel infestation when you first notice signs of their presence. The signs could be their droppings or chewed through soffits, electrical wires, insulation, and noise in your attic.

Advanced Wildlife Removal can help you determine the size of the infestation, remove the squirrels, and protect your home against squirrel infestations. Contact our skilled team for a consultation, inspection, and custom removal solution before the squirrels take over.

TYPES OF SQUIRRELS IN VIRGINIA

Virginia is home to six species of squirrels: Eastern gray squirrel, Eastern fox squirrel, red squirrel, northern and southern flying squirrel, and the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel.

The Eastern grey squirrel is the most common and loves birdseed. The red squirrel is known for its small size, white belly, reddish fur, bushy tail, and aggressiveness. The fox squirrel is the largest in Virginia, is highly adaptable to different environments, and has impressive jumping and climbing skills.

The southern and northern flying squirrels have a skin membrane between their front and hind legs that allows them to glide across treetops. One of the main differences is that the northern species has a gray belly, while the southern species has white belly fur.

On the other hand, the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel is X1.5, the size of the grey squirrel with shorter ears, longer fur, and a white blaze on its head.

WHEN DO SQUIRRELS IN VIRGINIA MATE?

Different squirrel species have different mating seasons, but generally, they mate twice a year. The breeding seasons are between June and August and between December and February.

Squirrels don’t keep lifetime mates. During the breeding period, a female can mate with multiple males in its life, depending on which male proves dominance.

SQUIRREL MATING BEHAVIOR

The mating process for adult squirrels involves a chase with multiple (even 10) males following a female everywhere during the day.

While on heat, the female emits a scent for 3-5 days that attracts males within a 1-mile radius. When the males converge on the female’s location, they hold intense chases and fights. These battles can continue for up to five days until the female is ready to mate.

Note: Adult males also attract the attention of females by chattering loudly and slapping the bark of trees.

You’ll easily spot this activity because of the noise they make. While you might not witness the actual mating, you’ll notice the group disband after a couple of days and leave your property.

After the mating comes gestation, and the female turns their attention to finding a nest. The gestation periods for the different squirrel species are:

  • Eastern gray squirrel – 44 days
  • American red squirrel – 34 days
  • Fox squirrel – 44 days
  • Northern and Southern flying squirrel – 40 days
  • Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel – 44 days

NEST DEFENSE IN FOX AND GRAY SQUIRRELS

Aside from the mating ritual, you’ll know baby squirrels are on the way when you notice a female squirrel aggressively defending their leaf nests and tree cavity nests. This is especially true for the fox and gray squirrels because they are communal and aren’t usually aggressive to their community.

Red squirrels are naturally aggressive, so you cannot rely on their nest defense reaction as a sign of pregnancy. For these species, the disappearance of the female is a good indicator of pregnancy. Their umbilical cord remains attached for several days after giving birth so they don’t leave their nest.

MOVEMENT OF YOUNG SQUIRRELS

The final indicator that squirrels are multiplying on your property is when you notice young squirrels leaving the nest. As squirrels near their independence, the mother squirrels will force them out of the nest to find new homes. In their search for a new home, there may be fights over territories to assert dominance.

This could happen a few weeks or months after birth. Gray squirrels wait for 3-4 months before baby squirrels move out, while red squirrels wait for 7-8 weeks. By this time, the pups are weaned off milk and start eating solid food.

CAN DIFFERENT SQUIRREL SPECIES MATE WITH EACH OTHER?

Some ground squirrel species can interbreed since they are similar. Northern and southern flying squirrels can also interbreed because they are similar. However, squirrels cannot breed with other rodents.

WHEN DO SQUIRRELS REACH SEXUAL MATURITY?

Squirrels reach sexual maturity between 10 and 12 months. At this age, they can start mating, but the female can only have one liter in their first year of adult life.

The size of the liter varies depending on the squirrel species:

  • Eastern gray squirrel: 1-8 per liter, but most have 2-4 per liter.
  • American red squirrel: 3-7 per liter.
  • Fox squirrel: 2-4 per liter. However, they can have as high as 7 per liter.
  • Northern and Southern flying squirrels: 3-4 per liter.
  • Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel: 1-4 per liter.

One or two squirrels can be a handful, and it’s worse when it’s a family. They can cause expensive damage to your property in a short time. But rather than trying to get rid of them yourself, get the help of a squirrel removal expert.

Advanced Wildlife Removal has a team of experts who understand squirrel mating and nesting behavior. They’ll come to your property and help you determine the size of the infestation you have and the damage they’ve caused and help you remove them.

We’ll also guide you on the necessary steps and precautions to take to prevent the recurrence of an infestation. Contact our team today for a quotation and a custom squirrel removal plan.

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