A few days ago I was having fun watching a few squirrels chase each other around the squirrel feeder I have in the backyard. The chase is sometimes part of the mating process, either through the establishment of the dominant male or by the pursuit of the available female. It got me wondering about the whole mating process (I think about things like that after three cups of coffee) and I decided to find out if squirrels mate for life. Here is what I learned.
Squirrels do not mate for life. Female squirrels are in estrus for only a few hours each year and will mate with any males in her territory. There is vigorous competition for the female and she will often mate with multiple males producing litters of mixed parentage. Once the mating is complete the male plays little role in the raising of the squirrel pups.