There are more than 200 species of squirrels, and around 65 species of these rodents are found in the United States. It is challenging for many people to identify the gender of squirrels. Their species include male, female, and their babies, as the female squirrel can give birth twice a year to increase their population.
Are Female Squirrels Bigger Than Male Squirrels? Male squirrels are usually bigger than females, but it is not a fixed trend for every species because the size can vary with age, food sources, specie or genes, and health. However, you can tell if the squirrel is male or female from their behavior toward predators and in mating season and the difference in reproductive organs.
The difference in different species is due to their habitat and environment where they live, such as wild squirrels behaving differently than pet ones. Moreover, male and female rodents also have different behavior and can vary in weight and size.
Is there any size difference between female and male squirrels?
Male and female squirrels usually do not have different sizes, as you cannot guess from a distance that the squirrel on the tree or ground is male or female, as they appear the same.
Male and female rodents mostly have the same height, fur color, and size. However, the size can vary sometimes, as some species have larger males than females, and some have bigger females.
For example, the size of males and females ranges between 14-20 inches or 36-51 cm, equivalent to 1.17- 1.7 feet. The size can vary for different species, such as the Indian giant squirrels have large sizes compared to other species.
Eastern gray male squirrels are approximately 20% larger in size than the females due to the genetic factors involved in their growth and body structure.
Different species, such as fox squirrels, have larger males, but females are slightly smaller, and the difference in their size is not noticeable enough.
The trend is not the same for all species, as some species have larger females, depending on the diet and the habitat.
Flying squirrels are usually smaller than fox and eastern gray squirrels; therefore, the difference between male and female size is also negligible.
Their size can also vary with the geographical locations and the environment they live in, as these rodents are habitual of cold environments and may differ in size from the warm climate rodents.
What factors affect the size of squirrels?
Various factors affect the squirrels’ size despite their gender, as they belong to the same Sciuridae family and are affected by the same factors in different habitats.
Age is one of the most significant factors affecting their size, such as Baby squirrels are smaller than adults when born, but they get equal to the adult size over time.
They are approximately 1-2 inches when born and slowly become bigger with proper diet and care. Different factors affect their growth into adults, such as the weather, food availability, and predators.
A baby rodent can reach adulthood and sexual maturity after 8-15 months, while female grey squirrels enter sexual maturity and adulthood after 14-15 months.
They grow into an adult, and the size difference between both genders is negligible because they have the same fur color and height when reach adulthood.
They can get weak with age, as they cannot move and climb much around the trees and lose some weight, which looks like they become smaller when gets old.
Food is another essential factor that can affect the size of these rodents because they need a proper diet for growth and survival.
They eat everything available as nuts, vegetables, seeds, meat, fruits, pet animal food, and many more eatable items.
They gain weight before entering the hibernation period to survive this period, but you cannot easily guess whether the rodent is male or female from its weight or size.
Some females look bigger after hibernation, while sometimes, the opposite gender looks bigger. It depends on the diet they have in hibernation and their daily routine.
High nutrients, fats, and carbohydrates significantly affect the size and growth of these medium-sized rodents, and they look bigger if they get adequate food around their living places.
Research shows male rodents bury and store more nuts than their opposite gender, as their only duty is to mate and eat, while females are restricted to make nests, feeding young babies, and finding food.
Therefore, males are bigger than the opposite gender in some species, but it is not a fixed trend or pattern in all species.
Species and genetics
Their size varies with the type of specie and the genetics, as rodents with different sociality grades have different body sizes.
The more social the specie, the larger will be the size. The Indian giant squirrels are the largest because of their different genes.
Similarly, the red and white flying squirrels are approximately 115-200 cm or 3.8-3.9 feet long, while the Laotian flying squirrel is 100-105 cm or 3.3-3.4 feet long.
The size varies from specie to specie, and the introduction of different genes in each species, cause the rodent to be naturally bigger than other.
A healthy rodent can have a bigger size and more weight than a sick or ill rodent because health affects their diet and body growth.
Healthy rodent can eat everything, play, and climb the trees, which help in muscle exercise and strong muscle building, while sick rodent cannot eat and play much.
The sick squirrel can lose its appetite and look smaller than other family members or adult rodents. Therefore, they appear weak and smaller when they lose weight due to different diseases.
How to tell if the squirrel is male or female?
It is sometimes a little bit difficult to tell from a distance that the squirrel is male or female, but there are some factors that can help to guess their gender.
Nest building is the ability of every wild animal to live and keep its babies there, away from predators. Both genders build nests, and you cannot guess from a distance whether the male rodents are building the nest or the female because they both participate in nesting.
However, you can tell from a distance that it is a female rodent if you see a squirrel with a baby because males do not care about babies. They do not participate in feeding and parenting the baby.
Moreover, their reproductive organs are also different, as the males have reproductive organs closer to the stomach, and the other gender has sexual organs near the anus.
The male squirrels show more territorial and aggressive behavior than others, while the female rodents are more vocal and make sharp sounds.
The rodent is probably a male if you find it chasing the other rodent in the mating season because these rodents approach and chase the other gender.
Are female squirrels heavier than male squirrels?
Different species have different weights depending on their diet, habitat, and weather. In some species, males have more weight than females.
According to our research, the male red squirrel has an average weight of 19.7 g heavier than the female red squirrels.
The average weight of red squirrels ranges between 270-310 g and can vary with food sources and habitat. Both gender gray squirrels have 450 to 690 g or 1-1.5 pounds.
Different species have different weights, and the males have more weight when they come out of hibernation. However, these female rodents leave hibernation a few days after the male.
Do female squirrels have longer tails than male squirrels?
Tail length and thickness also vary with the species, such as tree squirrels have longer tail lengths than ground rodents, while flying squirrels have the longest tail length.
The female arboreal squirrels have longer tails comparing their body length, while the male rodents have shorter tail lengths.
It is not the case with every species, as some species of females have thinner and shorter tail lengths than other gender rodents.
The average tail length for eastern grey squirrels is 19-25 cm or 190-250 mm, while flying squirrels have 75-120% long tail length than their body length.