How to Squirrel Sex
This study, published in the journal Biology Letters, provides new insights into how to squirrel sex. Researchers say genetics are little of a concern in squirrel mating habits and that females should be more selective than males. Generally speaking, females are not monogamous and do not mate for life. While some studies have suggested that genetics do influence mating behavior, they aren’t the only determinant.
Genetics have little impact on squirrel mating habits
While most studies on animal promiscuity have focused on the benefits and risks of sexual behavior, the latest study suggests that genetics have little influence on squirrel mating habits. Female promiscuity has no significant effect on the size of litters and number of males, so genetics may not have a major impact on squirrel mating habits. But the findings also suggest that females should be more selective. And although sexual promiscuity does have an impact on squirrel behavior, it is not the cause of a high rate of miscarriage and infant mortality.
While male squirrels tend to move further and more frequently than females, there is little evidence that males have less influence on mating habits. The study of Lurz et al. found that males move a greater distance than females, which most likely facilitates nuclear gene flow. The study of red squirrels on Jersey also found a bias in favor of males. This trend is not surprising.
Females do not mate for life
If you’ve ever wondered why female squirrels do not mate for life, you’re not alone. Male squirrels have developed several strategies to improve their chances of success in reproducing. They may attack the mating female viciously and even injure her, and younger males often sit out the chase. In some species, the hierarchy of males can vary geographically within a female’s territory.
Once mating has taken place, the male squirrel injects a plug into the female to prevent fertilization of her eggs. Once she is done, the female squirrel can mate with other males. Female squirrels typically have a 45-day gestation period. They produce two litters a year, with one to four pups. This reproductive cycle occurs only twice a year. The baby squirrels are blind at birth, but can survive on their own after they have reached puberty.
Male squirrels leave female squirrels to raise their babies. The female squirrel can mate with many partners, and it only takes about a minute to get pregnant. Females also can carry a litter of five to six babies. Once a female squirrel gives birth, she tends to the babies, cleans their feces, and raises their young. If the female is fertile, her babies will follow.
They have two breeding periods per year
Grey squirrels have two breeding periods a year, one during mid-summer and one during early spring. In both breeding seasons, females mate for about 44 days and give birth to one to nine babies. The babies are dependent on their mothers for up to eight weeks. During this time, they remain close to the nest. While the timing of this cycle can vary, they tend to have one litter a year.
Female squirrels have two breeding periods each year. The first is in late December into early February; in colder climates, January to March. During the second breeding season, they usually breed again in late summer. In winter, females will usually have just one litter per year, although some will have two litters. This can be a frustrating experience for a human watching over a female who cannot produce a litter.
They produce litters between 1 and 7 offspring
The question “How do squirrels produce litters of between one and seven offspring?” has intrigued biologists for decades. In addition to the fact that most females give birth to only one litter, the process of mating is also complicated. The females do not select a single partner; instead, they are promiscuous and may give birth to litters sired by more than one male.
Female squirrels have two breeding periods each year, resulting in anywhere from one to nine newborns. During this time, mothers care for their babies. The female squirrel has to give birth to her kits by herself, and will groom them every three to four hours. While her offspring remain helpless for their first few weeks, she spends most of her time foraging for food and protecting her nest from predators.
How can you tell if a squirrel is male or female?
By looking at the squirrel’s genitalia.
Male squirrels have a penis while female squirrels have a vulva.
What is the mating season for squirrels?
The mating season for squirrels usually starts in late winter and lasts through early spring.
How does a male squirrel attract a female?
By making a chattering noise and shaking his tail.
What do squirrels do during mating?
The male and female will chase each other around with the male often mounting the female from behind.
What is the gestation period for squirrels?
The gestation period for squirrels is about 38 days.
How many offspring do squirrels usually have?
Squirrels usually have between two and six offspring.
How do mother squirrels care for their young?
Mother squirrels build nests for their young and will nurse them until they are old enough to eat solid food.
At what age do squirrels reach sexual maturity?
Squirrels reach sexual maturity at around nine months of age.
How long do squirrels live?
In the wild squirrels usually live between five and ten years.
What are some of the predators of squirrels?
Some of the predators of squirrels include foxes owls and snakes.
What do squirrels eat?
Squirrels are mostly herbivores and their diet consists mostly of nuts seeds and fruits.
Do squirrels hibernate?
Yes squirrels hibernate during the winter months.
How do squirrels stay warm during hibernation?
By using their fur to keep themselves insulated.
How do squirrels keep cool during the summer?
By panting and by licking their fur.
What is the scientific name for squirrels?
The scientific name for squirrels is Sciurus vulgaris.
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.