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Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Small Game & Varmit hunting Talk

Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby FireCloud » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:00 pm

Ok, for the one person on this forum who thinks I'm not any good at doing wildlife photography, let me see you do this!

Here is a series of photos showing an entire squirrel family...Mama, Daddy, and a very tiny Baby Squirrel busy digging for acorns under a red oak tree. The baby squirrel is in all three of the below photos. See if you can find the baby squirrel. The first photo is the hardest to find the baby, but in each subsequent photo the baby is easier to see. Remember you can click on each photo to enlarge it.

Can you find the baby squirrel in this photo? Look close; it is in the picture. Hint: The Baby stays close to Mama.

- 119.jpg



Ok, I'll make it easier for you. The baby has moved out of hiding and the caption tells you where to look.

- 120.jpg


Here is a shot showing Daddy in the background, Mama and Baby in the foreground. See how small and immature the Baby is at this stage of it's life. This baby squirrel is more than five weeks old, because its eyes are open, but likely less than seven weeks old, because its tail is not well formed. At this stage the baby is begining to be weaned but cannot climb well. Mama will have to carry this Baby back to the nest. However, the parents guard the youngster very closely while it is out of the nest.

- 116.jpg
Last edited by FireCloud on Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby FireCloud » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:05 pm

I didn't point out in the above post that Mama and Baby squirrels are both part of the light colored squirrels I am seeing on my land. Daddy is a normal colored grey squirrel and you can clearly see how much lighter Mama is. The baby might get darker as it matures, but right now it seems to be light colored like Mama. From what I have observed, the light coloration seems to run with the female side of the squirrel family.

Here is Baby and Mama close together.

-117.jpg
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Re: Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby glenn » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:25 am

Where is the evidence of gender? :stir: :lol:
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Re: Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby saddaddykiller » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:35 pm

that is a leaf...that aint no baby squirrel
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Re: Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby FireCloud » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:50 pm

glenn wrote:Where is the evidence of gender? :stir: :lol:


When you watch all three together you can clearly tell the lighter colored adult squirrel is the mother by her actions. She stayed right with the baby as it moved about never letting it out of her sight for even an instant.

Also, I have seen at least six of these unsual squirrels so far that have the albino or light silver coloration. The almost pure white one I killed a couple years ago was a female.

The one I named Jean, whose nest was 15 yards from my main tree stand and whom I watched nearly every day I hunted in the stand this fall, was clearly a female. One or two of the males tried to breed her now and then. She was an extremely light colored female with lots of white on her.

The one I saw yesterday in the back yard chased off another squirrel, which is typical female behavior when guarding a nest. I kept seeing her go back and forth up on tree into a leafy area where I could not readily see but where I believe there was a nest.

And of course, I watched this one protect her baby on the ground. That makes four light colored squirrels that are almost certainly females. I have yet to verify a single one of the unusual colored squirrels as being male. Not saying there are not any, but I am thinking this recessive gene might be unique to the female side of the equation. Just a guess really, but until I see a light colored squirrel mating one of the other squirrels or kill a light one and see it is male, then I am going to believe the best evidence says they are all female.

Having watched hundreds of squirrels "do their thing" I have gotten fairly good at determining male and female at least some of the time. I confirm my "guess" after I kill them and get it right more times than not. While all squirrels use nests, typically the females tend to do the most nest building and really consider their nests a "home" just like most all females do. They are very territorial in protecting their nests from other squirrels trying to invade also.

When watching Jean come and go, she always headed for the nest earlier than most of the other squirrels. She liked to be settled down in her nest very shortly after sunset and well before end of twilight. Likewise, she liked to head out of the nest shortly after dawn. She was highly consistent, coming and going at the same time every day, and using the exact same nest each night. That is the behavior of a female squirrel. They like to stay fairly close to their nests or dens.

Males tend to be less territorial and roam about a bit more. There are several nests I can see from my tree stand and most mornings I would see the females arise and move about. Usually about an hour or so after dawn, one or more males would "make their rounds" checking several of the nest locations to see if their was an interested female. It is not too hard to tell which squirrels are males making the rounds trying to mate up with an available female if you just spend time observing what squirrels do.

I don't know how many times I have seen a male and female "pair" spending their time together as they go about their daily activities of looking for food, getting water, etc. Typically, if I see a pair of squirrels acting as a mates, that is exactly what they are...one female and one male. Usually the male tends to be the more aggressive one who will usually investigate me if I am spotted. If I shoot him, I just reload and wait. Well over 90% of the time, the partner will shortly show herself by coming back into view to see why her mate is lying on the ground. That usually gives me the opportunity to kill her also. Then I can readily confirm which squirrel was which. After doing this over and over, I have gotten pretty good at picking out the male or the female simply by how they behave in a given situation.

BTW, if I happen to see and kill the female first, her male partner is not nearly as keen on checking on his dead mate. He may just flee the area. Also, if two squirrels are feeding in the same area but are NOT partners and I kill one of them, the other will probably not care. Several times this fall while Jean was feeding around the food plot I have shot other squirrels who clearly were not her partners. She usually ignored them laying dead on the ground as well as the shot from my .22 and just kept on digging for acorns. I think she realized from seeing me hunt there so much that I was not going to harm her and she really did not care if I popped off some of the other squirrels eating nuts in her territory. More food for her, I guess!

I am convinced most animals, including squirrels, deer, etc, form social bonds with other members of their "family." And I believe animals can observe human behavior and get a sense of what humans are actually doing. Once they feel comfortable with their knowledge of what a human is doing, they tend to go about their business as long as they don't see the human as a threat.

Here is a photo of a squirrel that climbed up to the top step of my tree stand with me sitting in the stand deer hunting. He perched on the top step "helping me watch for deer" and so I got my camera and took his photo. You can only see the top of his head but I was sitting in a chair less than 3 feet away from the squirrel. He absolutely knew I was in the stand. I have had many squirrels, birds, or other animals come perch on my stand, some actually looking in through the windows to get a better look at me. I have long thought animals enjoy watching humans just as much as we enjoy watching them!

- 083.jpg
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Re: Mama, Daddy, and Baby Squirrel

Postby saddaddykiller » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:52 pm

where is the baby in the first picture?
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