Despite everything I have read about squirrel behavior, Pookie has allowed her
adult son (16 months old, sexually mature) to join her in her nest for
winter. She lost her late summer "fall" litter and would have spent winter
alone. She originally followed him to his
drey and despite some squeals of protest on his part insisted on moving in. A
few minutes later I watched as both gathered extra leaves and "refurbished"
the nest. (I could just imagine the mother's conversation with her adult son
upon visiting his bachelor pad " is this all the furniture you have, do you
ever clean this place up?" etc.) The next night they both moved into her tree
cavity nest, a far better site for winter. That's Pookie on the right. I have heard that males will share
nest for warmth, but never that females will allow a male to join them.1
I have observed them grooming each other and playing/wrestling, have yet to
get that on camera. Will be very interesting come mating season to see how
she behaves toward him.
1 Females commonly
nest together, usually in mother/daughter combinations. In this way, it
is thought that daughters often "inherit" prime nesting sites and surrounding
territories. Sons, however, are usually driven away as they approach
sexual maturity and are know to nest together with unrelated males
during the dead of winter for warmth as Jen describes.