How Old Does a Squirrel Really Get?
If you’re wondering how old a squirrel is, you might have many questions. These adorable mammals are born without fur, but grow quickly. During the first few weeks, they gain 28 grams of weight and open their eyes. By week four, they’re beginning to develop teeth and full fur. By week six, they can see, smell, chew, and walk. These tiny little animals are very young teenagers, and are already learning how to find food and protect themselves from predators.
Grey squirrels live to be 18 years old
The Eastern grey squirrel is a tree-dwelling rodent native to Eastern North America. It is the largest of all squirrel species, and the lifespan of both sexes is about eight years. The Western grey squirrel, which is less common, can live to be eighteen years. While their lifespan in the wild is slightly shorter than their southern cousins, the Eastern grey squirrel can live up to eighteen years in captivity.
While most of their time is spent in trees, they are arboreal acrobats with sharp claws for bark and long tails for twisting around branches. When alarmed, gray squirrels freeze and flatten their bodies and tails to the trunk or limb. They can swim for up to a mile. Grey squirrels are a great addition to the forest, where they spend the winter months hibernating.
Fox squirrels live to be 8 years old
While most species of squirrel live to be around two years of age in the wild, foxes tend to live longer, usually by a few weeks. These cute little creatures have typical chestnut brown fur and are native to North America. The life expectancy of a fox is eight to eighteen years for males and twelve years for females. Their life span can vary widely from year to year, depending on how much care and attention they receive.
This species is native to central and eastern North America, but was introduced to western Canada and the USA. Many populations exist in Colorado naturally, but many were brought to the state during the early 1900s. The fox squirrel population in Colorado spread across riparian corridors and invaded cities. However, the lifespan of foxes in Colorado was not determined until the 1990s. While they are not known to reproduce naturally in the wild, it is possible to find them in urban areas.
Baby squirrels are born without fur
When they are born, baby squirrels have no fur. By two weeks of age, they start to develop hair around their head and body. By four to six weeks, their tails have two-millimeter-long white hair. By six to seven weeks, all the other features of a squirrel are complete, including fur. By a month and a half, a squirrel is fully covered with fur, eyes open and teeth.
Newborn baby squirrels are pink and hairless, with open eyes and a tiny, naked nose. They grow rapidly and are practically blind for the first month. Their ears open in the third week, and their eyes open at about five weeks. The mother squirrel weans her babies between six and seven weeks, and they continue to nurse until they reach around 10 or 12 weeks of age. At this age, baby squirrels are nearly independent and will return to the nest for safety and rest.
X-rays can determine the age of a squirrel
Squirrels are born with no teeth, hair, eyes, or ears. This information may help determine the age of the squirrel in weeks. This method works best on young squirrels, since they have not developed these traits yet. By six weeks of age, all of these traits will be present, including eyes. If you want to be sure of the age of your squirrel, X-rays are a good option.
A newborn squirrel may only weigh half an ounce when it is born and be completely hairless. At two weeks, it gains a few ounces of weight and starts developing a thin layer of fuzz on its back. By three weeks, it has grown to be about two inches long with greyish tails. X-rays are also necessary if you suspect the squirrel is injured.
Weighing a squirrel’s eye lens can determine the age of a squirrel
Weighing a squirrel’s eye lenses can provide a lot of information about the age of a squirrel. A squirrel with a lens that weighs more than four grams is likely older than one that weighs five grams. It is also important to note that weighing a squirrel’s eye lens can tell you how old it is if it has already begun hopping and sitting up. However, if you find an infant squirrel at eight to nine weeks, returning it to the nest is the best option.
Scientists use several methods to determine the age of a squirrel, including dissection and X-rays. However, these methods may not provide the most accurate results. This is because squirrels’ eye lenses change color and size as they grow older. It is recommended that you take the eye lens of a squirrel weighing approximately four grams. You can also weigh a squirrel’s eye lens by counting backwards from the month it was born.
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.