As spring approaches, so do the mating seasons of many of our favourite local wildlife species. Around this time of year, homeowners might experience increased activity around their homes as mother animals attempt to find adequate nesting sites for the soon-to-be baby wildlife.
While homeowners do not want to have wild animals nesting in their homes, many cannot deny the cuteness of the babies. Young animals are often defenseless and potentially harmless. They require time with their mothers to ensure they can thrive and survive, but how much time depends on the animal.
Around this time of year, people become curious about the reproduction and development of common animal species. One of the most frequently asked questions is how quickly baby wildlife grows up and leaves the nest.
Typical Neighbourhood Baby Wildlife
The age young wildlife leaves the nest, or matures depends on the animal species. Squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and birds all mature at different rates. You also need to consider the age when the animal reaches sexual maturity, this is typically when people consider an animal to be an adult or has grown up.
A baby raccoon will stay with its mother for about a year. The males of the species do not help raise the babies, it is up to the mother to teach and protect them. A typical litter contains between three and five babies.
Raccoon babies are born blind and defenceless. Their eyes will not open for about three weeks, and they cannot stand until about four to six weeks.
Between three and four months, the mother raccoon will wean her babies. During this time, she will teach them to forage. At five months, the babies will begin to forage on their own but will stay in their communal den until between eight and 12 months.
It is challenging to spot a baby squirrel. The animals tend to stay huddled in their nests and do not leave until they are about three months old. Baby squirrels do not open their ears or eyes for about three to five weeks. At six weeks, the babies have fur and teeth. At eight weeks, the babies can walk, run slowly, and climb.
During this time of growth, the mother squirrel cares for them and teaches them essential skills to find food and shelter. Once they reach 12 weeks, they begin to venture out of the nest.
Like other species, child-rearing is left to the female skunk. The babies are also born blind and deaf with only fine fur, meaning they are defenseless and require great care and protection. For the first six weeks of their life, the babies remain in the den where the mother nurses them.
After six weeks, the babies can hear and see. They begin to take trips with their mother outside the den, learning to forage. The babies are fully weaned at two months old and begin to venture away from the family nest.
Birds are interesting. The time babies or nestlings leave the nest seems to be an evolutionary compromise between adults and their babies. The adults want the babies to leave the nest as soon as possible, and the babies want to stay as long as possible.
The timeline to maturity depends on the species. For instance, many songbirds are ready to leave the nest within two to three weeks, but some other species can take up to 10 weeks.
Professional Wildlife Control
As cute as baby animals are, you do not want animals nesting near your home. If you see an increase in wildlife activity around your home, you should call a wildlife control professional to assess the situation.
If you suspect there is a wildlife nest in your home or close to the structure, they can cause damage to your property. Contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control to help with the safe removal of wildlife.