A mama squirrel relocating her family?

We saw something we'd never seen before this morning - a squirrel with a largish youngster held on the scruff of its neck scampering through the foliage above us. We were on the back road in the Garden, near the nature trail through the oak-hickory forest (the Heusel Nature Trail) when we spotted her.

We had our binoculars, so had a good look as she leaped from tree to tree carrying her 'cargo.' There was lots of chattering going on nearby, perhaps fussing at the disturbance.

A web search found (LOTS of) interesting information about Eastern Gray Squirrels: mama squirrels are VERY protective of their offspring and, if feeling threatened, will move their babies to another drey. Apparently, gray squirrels have (usually) at least three dreys, and maybe a cavity or bird box, in addition.

Eastern Gray Squirrels breed twice a year, in mid-winter and in early summer. We probably saw a youngster borne in September, but one that will overwinter with Mom until spring. It takes a long time for squirrels to be weaned (10-12 weeks), and almost nine months until they're full-grown.

Of course, we just had binoculars, and no camera, this morning. But the photos of nest-building last weekend in an earlier post are fun, too.


  1. Wow, I would have loved to have seen that. I rehab orphaned and often ill baby squirrels and love learning more about what happens in the wild, since I've learned so much being a substitute mother and helped them grow and develop up close.

    I do entries about them on my blog, if you care to stop by and look around a little.

  2. They are terribly clever and endearing creatures for all their peskiness! gail

  3. I'm definitely in the admiring, but wary category, when it comes to squirrels. Fortunately, our (very expensive) gutter system (installed a few years ago) and new roof excluded them from their cozy nests in our attic. It had incited my otherwise quite mild-mannered gardening companion to try discourage them by putting water down the gutter drains!



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