Baby squirrels are some of the smallest babies to be born in the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most helpless! The odds are stacked against them but being born both blind and naked isn’t enough to stop them! Let’s find out five facts all about baby squirrels.
#1: Squirrel Kits Are Born Completely Blind
Nothing about being a tiny baby born in the wild is easy, but can you imagine being born blind? That’s the reality for newborn baby squirrels. Until baby squirrels are around 5 to 6 weeks old, their eyes are shut. This makes them extremely vulnerable to predators that may be preying on their weaknesses.
The blind babies keep themselves as safe as possible by staying out of reach in nests that their parents have built them in trees, abandoned houses, parks, and more. Establishing a home high above the ground in the trees makes it harder for predators to get to the tiny squirrel babies.
#2: Some Squirrel Babies Can Fly
There are quite a few different species of squirrels, and believe it or not, of those, some can actually fly. Okay, they may not actually fly, but they do glide, and they do this extremely well. Around 50 species of squirrels are born with a loose flap of skin that connects their wrists to their ankle. This is what is used to “fly.”
Unlike humans, squirrels mature and become adults relatively quickly! Squirrels are considered adults at around eight to ten weeks old. Additionally, they’re fully capable of making a complete 90-degree turn while in the air!
#3: Baby Squirrels Cry For Their Moms
Most of us know that babies cry because they have needs that aren’t being met. However, squirrel kits have no sophisticated means of communication developed. We know this to be true about human babies, but did you know that the same thing can also be said for the baby squirrel?
When mom is out of the nest, busy trying to find a meal for herself, the baby squirrels will cry for her to come home and feed them. These cries are said to be very soft, but when mom is nearby, she comes running anytime she hears it.
#4: Squirrel Kits Are Born Naked
We talked about how baby squirrels are born without sight and how difficult that must be. But can you imagine being born both blind and naked? That’s right; baby squirrels are born hairless. They start growing a bit of hair at around a week old, but it only starts around their faces and heads.
It takes about a month for baby squirrels to see fur growing on their bodies, which is right around the time their teeth start coming in. However, by a month and a half old, the squirrels usually have their permanent fur coat in, and their eyes have just opened.
#5: Orphan Baby Squirrels Get Adopted
Just like any other animal in the wild, baby squirrels are not strangers to misfortune. Sometimes, things happen that leave newborn squirrels alone in the world with seemingly no chance of survival. Luckily, squirrels are a species that take care of their young. However, this isn’t purely from the kindness of their hearts.
Typically, if a newborn squirrel is in a position that requires that they be adopted, they can only count on blood-related family members. The more resources to go around, the more family that’s willing to help raise the poor, orphaned baby.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nilanka Sampath/Shutterstock.com
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much do baby squirrels weigh?
Depending on what kind of baby squirrel it is, they typically weigh from 15 to 20 grams at birth. That means it would take at minimum 20 baby squirrels to make a pound! Baby squirrels nearly double their weight only six short weeks after their birth.
What do baby squirrels eat?
If a baby squirrel is living in the wild with its mother, the mother will nurse them until anywhere from 6 to 11 weeks old. If humans are raising them, oftentimes, they will be given special milk replacing formula. When they start to eat solid foods, they enjoy beginning with fruits and some vegetables such as grapes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, many varieties of nuts, and more. Squirrels maintain a typical rodent diet.
Where do baby squirrels live?
Baby squirrels are born in nests that their mothers build for them to live in. To protect her babies, the mother squirrel will usually build at least one extra nest in a separate location that can be easily accessed in case of an emergency. When the baby squirrels are around 6 to 7 weeks old, their mom builds an entirely new nest for them all to migrate to.
What are baby squirrels called?
Baby squirrels are called kits or sometimes kittens. When a squirrel is pregnant with multiple babies, that would be called a litter, and a group of squirrels is called a scurry. Baby squirrels are no longer babies when they reach around nine months old.
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