Fox Squirrel - Reproduction

Reproduction

Female eastern fox squirrels come into estrus in mid-December or early January then again in June. they normally produce two litters a year, however, yearling females may only produce one. Females become sexually mature at 10 to 11 months of age and usually produce their first litter when they are a year old.

Gestation occurs over a period of 44 to 45 days. Earliest litters appear in late January; most births occur in mid-March and July. The average litter size is three, but can vary according to season and food conditions.

Tree squirrels develop slowly compared to other rodents. At birth, the young are blind, without fur and helpless. Eyes open at 4 to 5 weeks of age and ears open at 6 weeks. Eastern fox squirrels are weaned between 8 and 10 weeks but may not be self-supporting until 12 weeks. Juveniles usually disperse in September or October, but may den either together or with their mother during their first winter.

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