How Long is the Lifespan of a Grey Squirrel in the Wild?
There are several factors that affect a squirrel’s life expectancy, including diet, predators, and its location. This article will provide answers to these questions. It also explores the average lifespan of grey squirrels and some factors that may influence their longevity. Read on to find out more! You might be surprised to learn that a grey squirrel’s lifespan is much longer than most people realize.
In the wild, the average life span of a grey squirrel is around six years, but this can be increased in captivity. It has been documented that a pet grey squirrel could live up to 20 years. Black squirrels are actually fox squirrels. They have different levels of melanin in their bodies and rarely live in the United States. In captivity, however, they can live as long as six years.
Female eastern gray squirrels enter estrus at around five and a half months old. Then, the females become fertile only after the males induce ovulation in the female. The males reach sexual maturity between one and two years old. In North Carolina, breeding longevity of the male and female gray squirrel is estimated at eight to twelve years. Although in captivity, eastern grey squirrels can live to 20 years or more, their average lifespan in the wild is significantly less than that. The challenges of the wild and predation make eastern gray squirrels less durable in captivity.
Factors that affect lifespan
A number of factors affect the lifespan of a grey squirrel in the wild. One of the most important factors is diet. Young squirrels are unable to store as much fat as their older counterparts. The cold climate also makes them susceptible to predators, meaning that they are less likely to reach adulthood. While it is possible for squirrels to survive in both cold and warm climates, a few factors do reduce their lifespan.
The lifespan of a squirrel in the wild varies from species to species, and it varies widely from one habitat to another. Although squirrels have been known to live for 16 years in captivity, they are more likely to live for two to three years in the wild. Even with these relatively short lifespans, the squirrel’s most vulnerable years are the first two years. In addition to the age-related mortality risk, a squirrel’s life expectancy varies based on a few other factors.
Gray squirrels spend most of their time in trees. They are extremely agile and move about with great agility, reaching speeds of up to 25 km/h. When climbing tree trunks, they climb head first. When threatened, female squirrels usually sidle around the trunks to protect themselves from predators. This type of behavior makes them easy to spot and hunt in large trees. They can also be spotted on the ground as they remain motionless against tree bark.
The two species of squirrels share the same natural predator, the pine marten. However, greys are more vulnerable to pine martens because they do not exhibit anti-predator behaviours. Red squirrels have evolved to avoid pine martens, while greys do not. This suggests that predators prefer grey squirrels, which are more prone to invasive behaviours. However, the same cannot be said for red squirrels.
Diet and life expectancy of gray squirrels in the wild are somewhat similar to those of other animals, although some specific aspects differ. The gray squirrel’s diet is largely comprised of a variety of nuts and seeds, which make up about three-quarters of their total diet each year. Other sources of food include pine cones, hickory nuts, and acorns. In addition to these mainstays, the gray squirrel also consumes a variety of fruits, berries, and seeds, and occasionally consumes juvenile birds and bird eggs.
The life expectancy of grey squirrels is between two and three years. Females produce up to two litters per year. Newborns are blind and hairless, and weigh fourteen to fifteen grams (0.5 to 0.6 oz). Their mother rears them until they reach independence. Usually, weaning begins in the seventh week. The young squirrel loses its hair by the end of the 10th week. The lifespan of gray squirrels is about two to three years, although they can live as long as six years.
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.