How Old Does a Squirrel Live?
If you’ve ever wondered how old a squirrel is, you’ve come to the right place. In the wild, black squirrels can live up to six years. Fox squirrels can reach up to 18 years of age. Red squirrels can live for five years. And Eastern grays can live up to 12 years. What about the other species? Read on to discover the age of the different squirrels. Then, decide if you want to add one to your family.
Black squirrels live up to six years in the wild
While gray and black squirrels are mostly solitary creatures, they often occupy the same den. In cold climates, they may even share a den with their offspring. Despite their territorial nature, these animals do tend to protect their nests and food. These animals spend the majority of their time inactive, such as grooming themselves. They go to sleep early in the day and curl up into a ball before sunset.
Unlike other species of animals, black squirrels live a relatively long time in the wild. They reach sexual maturity at approximately 15 to 18 months of age. A male squirrel will reach sexual maturity at fifteen to 18 months of age, while a female will not reach sexual maturity until 11 months old. Both sexes are capable of raising litters of up to nine babies at a time. These mammals are also extremely vulnerable to predators.
Fox squirrels live to be 18 years old
Despite being a fairly common tree squirrel, foxes can live for eight to eighteen years in captivity. Their life spans are not incredibly long, but they are longer than many other species. Foxes typically breed in midwinter, and may have a second litter during the summer. Their litters are usually two to four. A female Fox squirrel may live to be eighteen years old, but that’s still a long time.
Like gray squirrels, foxes are large mammals, ranging from twenty to twenty-six inches long and one to two and a half pounds. They usually live three to four years as an adult, but some individuals have lived up to 12 years in captivity. Their diet is varied, with plants and animal remains their main sources of food. Aside from nuts and seeds, foxes also eat fruit, bird eggs, and fungi.
Red squirrels live up to five years in the wild
While they are not considered dangerous, red squirrels are susceptible to many diseases. Cat scratch fever, a bacterial infection that causes swollen lymph nodes, and typhus are the most common. Rabies is another serious disease that can affect the nervous system, causing severe damage to the body. A pet red squirrel can become ill at any time, but they usually do not. When they become ill, veterinarians will seek to diagnose and treat them as soon as possible.
A red squirrel’s lifespan is short, typically three to five years in the wild, but it can last up to seven years in captivity. Red squirrels breed in the spring and summer and can have anywhere from one to six kits per litter. In the UK, two to four kits will reach weaning age. They are not yet capable of sexual intercourse and are highly independent. If you’re considering adopting a red squirrel, know that they can be aggressive.
Eastern gray squirrels live up to 12 years in the wild
These adorable creatures can be found all over the world. These squirrels typically eat a variety of nuts, seeds, berries, and fruits. In spring, these adorable creatures will feed on the buds of trees like the black cherry, flowering dogwood, and maple. When food is scarce, they also eat insects and even bird eggs. In winter, they eat seeds and store them for the next year.
Though these squirrels typically live for around six years in the wild, they can live for much longer in captivity. In fact, the oldest pet grey squirrel was 20 years old. The longest documented life for an eastern grey squirrel in the wild was twelve years. While this may seem like an impressive life span, most females can live up to twelve years, while males can only reach 10 years.
Ground squirrels live longer in captivity
Squirrels live between two and six years in the wild. However, this lifespan can vary based on species, habitat, and genetics. Some species cannot survive in the wild and don’t make it past their first year. In captivity, they may live up to 20 years, more than twice as long as wild counterparts. While some species, such as the ground squirrel, live for just three to five years in the wild, the majority of these animals will not survive the first year.
Though squirrels don’t make good pets, the right diet and care can prolong their lifespan significantly. The food they eat plays an important role in this, as they are omnivorous creatures. In the wild, they can eat anything they can get their paws on. A well-balanced diet will help the animal grow and mature. Poorly-balanced diets will increase your squirrel’s chances of suffering from a heart attack or digestive problems.
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.