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How Old Is a Squirrel When It Opens Its Eyes and Grows Hair?

By Jane Meggitt

Tom Fowlks/Photodisc/Getty Images

Baby squirrels don't resemble their furry, bushy-tailed parents. They are born pink, hairless, deaf and blind, weighing about a half-ounce. Squirrel litters are relatively small for rodents, rarely exceeding four kits and often just one or two. Depending on the species, female squirrels usually give birth to two litters annually, in the late winter and mid-summer.

Baby Squirrel Development

Baby squirrels can hear quite a while before they can see. By the age of 3 weeks, their ears open, followed by the eyes two weeks later. Before the hair starts growing in, the skin begins to darken. About the age of 3 weeks, the first fuzzy hairs appear. Hair starts sprouting on the tail around 4 weeks. By the next week, the tail starts spreading out. By the age of 7 weeks, the baby squirrel's body and tail hair has grown in and he looks like a miniature adult.

Leaving the Nest

Baby squirrels stay in the nest for the first 10 to 12 weeks of their lives. Squirrels born in the winter are usually independent by the age of 4 months, starting out in the warmth and abundance of spring. Summer-born kits might stay within the family unit longer, until reaching the age of 6 months.

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Photo Credits

  • Tom Fowlks/Photodisc/Getty Images

Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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