To determine the age of a squirrel, there are two ways to judge its maturity. First, baby squirrels are greyish pink in color and begin to have sparse fur by 2 weeks of age. At this stage, they are capable of cracking nuts and start to move away from their nests. Then, at 11 or twelve weeks, they look like a fully grown adult. These babies are usually released back into the wild at 18 weeks, depending on their condition.
Determining A Squirrel’s Age
The age of a squirrel can be determined by a number of methods. Young squirrels can be estimated to be a week or two old. After six weeks, the development of a squirrel slows down, and it can stay the same for weeks. This information is helpful if you’re feeding the squirrel. However, if you’re feeding a baby, it’s not necessary to know how old it is.
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If you find a squirrel in a cage, you may need to know its exact age before you try to handle it. This is because some younger squirrels have shorter fur than others. In fact, the length of a squirrel’s fur is a good indicator of its age. You can also look at the size of its eyes and the length of its body. You can also see if it has been orphaned or injured, and this could indicate the age of the squirrel.
If you’re unsure about a squirrel’s age, there are several ways to tell. Some veterinarians use dissection, X-rays, and eye-lens analysis. Other methods are less accurate but will give you a better idea of the animal’s age. Once you have established a reliable age, release the squirrel to a safe environment. Remember to keep the cages properly stocked and supervised by a wildlife rehabilitator.
Newborn baby squirrels do not have teeth. Their lower incisors will begin to emerge at about three weeks. Similarly, their ears will be flattened at five weeks. Aside from these, the fur of a squirrel is another important clue to its age. It should be free of fur, but be careful not to disturb it. The last thing you want is to scare the baby squirrel.
Another step is to examine the animal’s ears. The ears of a squirrel will not open until about three to four weeks of age. If the ears are closed, it’s younger than three weeks. Moreover, it’s also unlikely to have teeth until the second or third month. Despite their age, however, there are some important clues to help you identify the age of a squirrel.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.