Squirrels live an average of 2 to 6 years. This life span varies greatly based on species. The location and genetics of certain squirrels make for longer life, while some can’t survive very long due to predators. The average age of ground squirrel is three years and that of western grey squirrel is ten years. Predators are the main reason why squirrels don’t live very long. Squirrels are agile, quick, and alert.
The Average squirrel life cycle
No matter the species, size, or location most of them have a very similar life cycle from newborns to fully grown adults.
A newborn squirrel is usually born in a litter of up to 10 babies. Until approximately one month these babies are blind and hairless. The newborn squirrels are completely reliant on their mother for food and they spend most of time in sleeping. After two months they spend their time with their mother in the den. If a squirrel is born before winter, then it will stay with its mother through the entire cold season. Winter is difficult for every squirrel, but especially for newborns. Mother squirrels keep their newborns warm at all costs, filling their den with plant matter to stay warm.
Adult squirrels are usually up to 2 ft long from nose to tail depending on the species. Depending on the specific type of squirrel, adults can live up to 12 years. Diseases, predators, and injury are some common factors that leads towards the decreased quality of species.
Squirrels need to chew on wood or some other objects that wear down their teeth constantly in order to live comfortably. Female squirrels carry their young for gestation of around a month. Adult squirrels mate during the warm months once they have reached maturity.
How Does Their Lifespan Compare To Rats?
When you’re comparing the lifespan of two wild rodents, you may think that these two are similar. They both face similar predators and environments and are of the same size. Squirrels live an average life of 2 years as the rats do.
Squirrels are faster and more agile than rats and are capable of running away from predators. Squirrels sleep more than rats which may help them survive predators.
Where Do Squirrels Build Their Nests?
The nest of a squirrel looks like an oversized clump of twigs and leaves. A nest is typically lined with leaves, grass, moss, and shreds of bark. Squirrel nests are effective in keeping them and their offspring warm and dry. Squirrels nests are built high in trees. Squirrels can make their nests in chimney or attics if they’re able to gain access to the property.
Where Can We Find Squirrels?
Squirrels can be found in the area in attics, crawlspaces, walls, and eaves around the home. Squirrels are active in spring season and they fall when they are in search of food and shelter. Squirrels live on every continent except in Australia and Antarctica. Tree squirrels typically lived in wooded areas, and ground squirrels dig burrows, a system of tunnels underground, to live in.
Common Diseases and Parasites
Squirrels are often infected by viral disease such as squirrel pox. It spreads through insect bites and cause tumors to appear on their body. Squirrels can even die because of squirrel pox but grey squirrels are immune. In red squirrels, the virus can cause lesions, skin ulcers, and scabs. The lesions and scabs can cause swelling. Squirrels infected by this virus become extremely lethargic and eventually die.
Loss of Vision
As squirrels get older sometimes they start to lose their vision because of eye infections. Healthy squirrels have excellent vision and depend upon their eyesight to spot predators and run away from them. While a blind or vision impaired squirrel can still successfully forage for food it becomes incredibly vulnerable to predators.
The most prominent predators are owls and hawks. Animals like weasels, foxes, and skunks can also prey on squirrels. Rattlesnakes and black snakes are among their predators as well but they attack on baby squirrels.
Do Squirrels Hibernate?
Most squirrels don’t hibernate. However, many of them sleep through the coldest days, only venturing out when there’s a warm winter day or sunshine. The few squirrels that truly hibernate for a lengthy period in the winter usually nest in the ground and live in very cold climates.
How Can You Attract Squirrels?
- Give them natural cover with thick shrubs, tall ornamental grasses, and stacks of wood.
- Plant trees that are squirrel-friendly. The trees should offer edible nuts or flowers. They should have plenty of branches to play on.
- Use food to bring the hungry creatures running. Corn and nuts are favorites.
- Provide a source of fresh drinking water. Shallow bowls or bird feeders are ideal.
- Keep the dog or cat out of the garden. Squirrels don’t like to share space with potential predators.
How Do Squirrels Live Longer Than Other Rodents?
Compared to other rodents, squirrels are quite clever and fast. They’re fast in climbing and jumping. Squirrels are intelligent creatures and they communicate through vocalizations. They can evade dangers by using their tails as a signaling tool to warn other squirrels. When it comes to survival, they surpass other rodents in the way that, they pretend to bury their stash of food in an area, but actually they’re faking it.
Having A Pet Squirrel
Squirrels may live in your backyard or neighborhood. They are fun to watch scamper around, and you can consider them as good pets. But in general, squirrels aren’t domesticated and aren’t good animals to keep as pets.
Many states restrict keeping squirrels as pets. If you want to adopt a squirrel then you have to talk to a veterinarian about the laws in your city and state. Squirrels are wild animals and undomesticated. If you do find yourself caring for a wild squirrel or seek to adopt one as a pet, remember that they require unique care. Once squirrels are domesticated, they lose their natural instincts to survive in the wild.