How to Tell the Sex of a Squirrel
If you want to know how to tell the sex of a squirrel, there are a few things you can observe to tell whether it’s a male or a female. Females are more likely to fight than males, and they also will not chase each other. You may also notice the baby squirrels, which are often mistaken for males. If you’re lucky, you may even see a mother squirrel with a baby in tow.
Observe its behavior during mating season
Squirrels give a distinctive call when in the middle of mating season. During this time, many species increase the repetition of their alarm call depending on the distance to a potential predator. In some species, this call also serves as a deterrent to other conspecifics. If you hear this call from a squirrel, you may be able to tell the sex of a squirrel by its behavior during mating season.
To tell the sex of a gray squirrel, observe its mating ritual. Female squirrels are more promiscuous than males and tend to mate with more than one male at a time. Females, however, do not display specific preferences when mating and may mate with more than one male. The distance between the anus and genital opening is one way to tell the sex of a squirrel. The distance between the two is 1cm for a male, and one or more of them will mate with the female.
Observe its size
There are several ways to determine the gender of a squirrel. Most species are classified as either ground squirrels or tree squirrels. Both sexes have similar physical characteristics and behaviors. In most cases, a squirrel’s size, shape, and color are the same. Hence, an observant person can determine the gender by simply observing the animal. Alternatively, the following steps may be helpful.
Male and female gray squirrels have different physical characteristics and behavior patterns. The males’ penis is outwardly visible, while the females have an inwardly visible vagina. During mating season, the penis expands and the scrotum declines. This means that a close observation is required to make the correct identification. But there are some basic physical differences that you can observe to determine a gray squirrel’s sex.
Observe its color
Squirrels do not mate based on their color, but their coat does reveal a lot about their gender. Depending on the species and the season, they may be tan, gray, or even “blond.” The coloration comes from the amount of melanin they produce. It has two types: eumelanin and phaeomelanin. Different combination of melanin produces different hues, and alternate use of melanin results in banded hairs.
The white squirrel is not a distinct species, but rather a mutation. This color variant is seen in some callosciurus species found in South East Asia and Thailand. Recently, researchers in the Philippines have discovered an undescribed species, and it is believed to be endangered. However, this color variation can be due to genes that alter the expression of melanin in different regions of the body.
Observe its scent
Using a sex indicator is an easy way to determine the gender of a squirrel. Female squirrels are more promiscuous than males, and will mate with several males and females at once. A male squirrel, on the other hand, does not have specific preferences when it comes to mating. You can also identify the sex of a squirrel by observing the size of the nipples.
Scent is a powerful clue to the sex of a squirrel. Scent is an important part of identifying an individual. Ground squirrels have a powerful sense of smell, which dictates many of their instinctive behaviors, including communication and territory marking. Scent is also used by a squirrel to detect potential relations and their level of aggression. Many species have pheromonal secretions that can tell you the sex of another squirrel, as well as the age and genital status of a newcomer.
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.