How to Tell How Old a Squirrel is
Telling the age of a squirrel is easy to determine by looking at its appearance. At birth, the squirrel weighs about half an ounce, is pink, and has no hair. At one week, it has fur along its back and is a bit more mobile than a six-week-old baby. At two weeks, it weighs over an ounce and has a thin layer of fuzzy fur on its tail. It is at this age that it is ready to be released into the wild.
Squirrels are born without hair, teeth, eyes, and ears. You can tell the age of a squirrel by observing its development. You can use this technique only if you are seeing an extremely young squirrel since all of these traits will be present by six weeks. If you are feeding a young squirrel, you don’t need to know its exact age.
Another way to tell how old a squirrel is to check for teeth. Newborn squirrels are born without teeth and have closed eyes. Their lower incisors appear at three weeks and their upper incisors emerge at four and a half weeks. During this time, you should observe the baby’s physical development and the growth of its tail. Once the incisors have started to grow, the baby squirrel will be at least five weeks old.
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In addition to looking at teeth, you can also check for a young squirrel’s age by its body weight. At three weeks, the lower incisors will erupt and the top two will follow at four to six weeks. At six weeks, the cheek teeth will come into play. Then, it will be time to take it to a rehabilitator for release.
The most accurate way to determine the age of a squirrel is by using the age of its ears. In addition to their ears, they also have teeth. If they don’t have ears, the animal is probably younger than six weeks. These traits are indicative of an adult squirrel. If you see these characteristics, the squirrel will be about three to four months old. Then, it will be about six and a half weeks old.
The age of a squirrel can also be determined by the number of teeth it has. However, some squirrels are more or less developed than others. A two-week-old squirrel with lower incisors has more teeth than a three-week-old squirrel. If the squirrel has no teeth, it is younger than three weeks. Then, it is time to consider a squirrel’s size and its growth rate.
The fur on a baby squirrel is sparse, indicating that the squirrel is still growing. Its skin is gray, and its ears are closed. Its eyes are closed at this stage. Its nails begin to grow in, and its face is covered with tiny red spots. The eyes are open at this stage but are not yet fully formed. The baby squirrel does not have teeth.
By 12 weeks, a baby squirrel’s fur begins to become sparse and its skin turns pink. By this age, the squirrel is already able to take care of itself. By six weeks, it has developed its first teeth. A baby squirrel will have teeth as soon as it reaches the age of 12 weeks. But the baby squirrel will have gray eyes at the same time as its mother.
When it is born, a baby squirrel is able to feed itself, and is completely dependent on her mother. At around eight weeks, the baby squirrel begins to wean itself from the mother, but it is still dependent on her mother for the first eight weeks. A six-week-old baby squirrel is a total dependent. So, if you find a newborn, make sure to take it home to care for it.
If you catch a baby squirrel, you can determine how old it is by looking at its facial features. A baby squirrel will be hairless, and its eyes will be open at three weeks. At four weeks, the baby squirrel will develop white fur on its tail and will have white fur on its underside. The baby will likely be able to sit up on its own and may be a good candidate for release.
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.