How to tell a male gray squirrel from a female squirrel

Written by jasey kelly
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How to tell a male gray squirrel from a female squirrel
Gray squirrels are common on lawns throughout the year. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Sometimes called the "Eastern grey squirrel," Sciurus carolinensis is one of the most common tree squirrels throughout its natural range. Unlike some other tree squirrels, grey squirrels are active year-round and may have many nests throughout different times of the year. They, like many other rodent species, are not sexually dimorphic; males and females share the same characteristics in both colour and size. Besides the common grey colour, which is actually a mix of brown, grey, red and black fur tipped with white, there are also albino and black versions.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Live trap
  • Bag for squirrel
  • Thick leather gloves

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  1. 1

    Bait the live trap with either rolled oats or a mixture of rolled oats, black oil sunflower seeds and peanut butter. Once you've trapped a squirrel, proceed with caution.

  2. 2

    Put on thick leather gloves, and place the bag over the trap's opening, holding it with one hand.

  3. 3

    Blow on the trap, or tap the other end of it to get the squirrel into the bag.

  4. 4

    Hold the squirrel by the scruff of the neck inside the bag, then gently peel the bag back so you can get a good grip.

  5. 5

    Look at the location of the genital papilla. The papilla is the clitoris or penis of the animal. Females' papilla is very close to the anus; males' papilla is located further up the abdomen, around the position where the back legs begin on the body.

Tips and warnings

  • Trapping the squirrel is not always easy. Unless you need to know the sex, it is not recommended. Consult your local department of natural resources or similar organisation to inquire about the legality of trapping.
  • You may be able to differentiate the sex of the squirrels during mating seasons, one in midwinter and the other in late spring. The female's vulva will be swollen and pink during this time and males will chase the females.
  • Wild animals may bite and all mammals are capable of carrying and spreading rabies. If you trap an animal you are unfamiliar with, cover the trap with a blanket or towel then open the trap door from behind. Stand behind the trap so the animal doesn't see you and walk away slowly.

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