Squirrel Nest Update 4/13/2018
A gray squirrel started using this screech owl box over the winter months. Apparently this was a female and made a nest in the box from strips of sapling bark. On 4/12/2018 we noticed she had a littler of squirrels. At the moment she is still nursing them.
 

 
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Gray Squirrel Breeding Facts
The gray squirrel has two breeding cycles per year. The first breeding takes place in December thru February with the second cycle occurring from May to July. Since gestation takes from 40 to 44 days, this means that young are born in the early spring or summer to fall. Summer or fall litters tend to be larger due to the better overall condition and food availability to the mother. Litter size varies from 2 to 8 with 3 or 4 being the norm. Newborn gray squirrels are naked and helpless and weigh only about 6 tenths of an ounce. For the first couple of weeks, they are totally pink with part of the umbilical cord or a naval spot present. At two to three weeks, dark pigmentation begins to show on the top of the head and back. At three to four weeks, the pigmented areas start to show some fur fuzziness and the ears open. At five to six weeks more fur is apparent as is fur on the tail. The eyes begin to open. At this point the tail is completely furred but it is not yet bushy. Weaning begins at about seven weeks and is complete by ten. It takes from 8 to 9 months for the juvenile to achieve full adult size. Females can produce litters as young as 5 ˝ months of age. The potential for high recruitment into the population by large litter sizes creates a need for dispersal of the population. Young males are more inclined to leave the mother’s home range than juvenile females. The increased risks encountered in dispersal contribute to higher mortality among juvenile males and an overall adult sex ratio of almost 2 to 1 in favor of females.

Gray Squirrel Nests
Gray squirrels use three different types of nest. Summer Dreys and Winter Dreys are conspicuous constructions of leaves and twigs mounted high in treetops. Winter Dreys are made in layers. The outer layer consists of interwoven twigs while an inner layer is built up with softer materials consisting of bark, leaves, moss, fur, grass, and “found” materials. They are resistant to winter winds and provide protection where den sites may be in short supply. Summer Dreys are less elaborate and provide minimal protection from the elements. They are less likely to be used for litters. Tree dens in hollow trees are the preferred nest sites for raising young.


Gray Squirrel Dreys


 



 

   
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