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Thread: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

  1. #1
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    Default Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    It is recommended by many that squirrels get at least one hour per day of natural sunlight to help provide vitamin D as well as other health benefits. If you choose to do this, use careful judgement, common sense, and these guidelines:

    1. Never place a caged squirrel in direct sunlight.
    2. Always provide water and shade.
    3. On hot and/or humid days, indoor squirrels should be kept inside.
    4. To-be-released squirrels need to be slowly acclimated to summer temps.
    5. Never leave indoor squirrels (or unacclimated to-be-released squirrels) unattended outdoors.
    6. Make sure your squirrel is in a secure cage (they can chew through screening), safe from predators, and not exposed to mosquitoes.

    Symptoms of Heatstroke
    Mild--Damp fur, appears to be sweating, rapid heartbeat and breathing
    Moderate--Drooling or "foaming at the mouth," labored breathing, vomiting
    Severe--diarrhea (may contain blood or mucous), uncoordination, seizures, collapse

    If you see any of these symptoms, bring the squirrel indoors immediately and begin Emergency Cool-Down Procedures.

    A squirrel can develop heatstroke in as little as 10 minutes, even in the shade!
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."


  2. #2

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Hi
    No thet don't need everyday sun exposure but if you first receive the baby squirrel, begin to feed every two hours AFTER he is rehydrated for several days.

    THIS IS AROUND THE CLOCK, EVEN AT NIGHT.

    Continue to feed every two hours if the baby is under two weeks old.

    Feed every three hours from two weeks old until his eyes are opened. (about 4-5 weeks old)

    Feed every four hours until weaned, between seven to ten weeks old.


    WEANING THE BABY

    After the baby has opened his eyes, you can begin to introduce solid food into his diet.
    Remember; continue to feed the baby his formula until he no longer wants it. (About 7 to 10 weeks)

    Because nutrition is so important to a squirrel's fragile system, most rehabilitators begin the baby on Primate Dry Monkey Biscuits. This has the right amount of nutrients to keep the baby from acquiring severe ailments such as Metabolic Bone Disease, rickets, seizures, malnutrition, brittle bones, or other problems.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    I must respectfully disagree with you that once squirrels reach the age of 7-8 weeks old they need daily sun exposure. This is the age at which mamma squirrel would let them out of the nest to explore. They require sunlight in order to metabolize calcium.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."


  4. #4

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    How do you all give your squirrels sun exposure? Hammy is near a sliding glass door, but sun never directly shines through it, so I am worried he needs more light.
    "Wanna help me find my nuts?"

  5. #5
    PBluejay2 Guest

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Quote Originally Posted by LydiaAmaranth
    How do you all give your squirrels sun exposure? Hammy is near a sliding glass door, but sun never directly shines through it, so I am worried he needs more light.
    Sunlight filtered through glass won't cut it. The glass filters out a lot of the UV rays (even screen filters out a lot). I wheel my cages outside every day I can. You can also purchase UV bulbs at PetSmart. Look for "Repti-sun 10" (about 35 dollars) or "Repti-glo 10" (about 20 dollars), and keep them on during the day within two feet of the cage.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Isn't Hammie a flyer? Being nocturnal, I think they get their Vitamin D from their diet more than sun...pretty sure the flyer folk feed mushrooms to provide the D they need. This is just stuff I have gotten from reading the board - I don't have a flying squirrel. The flyer folk can help you though - they are just now waking up, stretching, grooming, and getting ready for a big night. The squirrels, too...

  7. #7
    PBluejay2 Guest

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Ooops! I can't remember whose squirrel is what! I HATE old age and the risiduals of living through the '70s. Yes, I think Hammy is a flyer and therefore needs less sun exposure than a diurnal squirrel. However (and I can look this up (maybe) if needed), some theorize flyers get reflected UV rays in their nests while they are asleep during the day. But I would imagine most of the D they get is through diet. Sorry--I'll go flashback now, listen to some Pink Floyd, tear the filter off the end of a cigarette, twist the end, and pretend.

  8. #8

  9. #9

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    I too have heard that squirrels need sunlight exposure, and it makes sense. MBD should be avoided at all costs, so I feel better giving them the exposure just in case. Besides, it is a natural way to get them to metabolize properly, and I'm all for taking advantage of that.

    I also use UV light bulbs from pet shops. Its so much easier than moving cages in and out, and worrying about the weather and other things. The bulbs are only about $20, and typically last a while, especially with just a few hours of daily use.
    Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. ~Bradley Millar

  10. #10

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Just a note about the UVB bulbs, in my opinion, it is a much wiser choice to spend the few extra $$$ on the zoo-med repti sun bulbs versus other brands. The zoo-meds are the only ones proven to put off UVB output longer than 6 months. The zoo-meds will put out UVB for 12-16 months versus 4-6 months-other brands. And even with zoo-med, it's a safer choice to go with a strip light versus a "compact." Some compacts have been shown to cause blindness in animals. But also keep in mind that 2 hours of actual sun is about the equivelant of 10 hours under a UVB.
    Just my 2 cents on it as I am a reptile keeper also...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Thanks for that info, TG
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."


  12. #12

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    I'm new here, but I figure Skittles likes the sunshine. We take him outside for at least an hour each time, sometimes several times a day, unless it is very hot out (which Kansas has been lately). if it is too hot, we go for maybe 20 minutes. He eats and then curls up to nap after each trip. I figure it couldn't hurt, right?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Even though I am in Florida and Charley goes outside with me daily I still provide him with supplements in his water ...I mix up a liquid of calcium/with vitamin D....and a liquid potassium/magnesium............. I take Charley (since I can carry him around) out on our deck under a gazebo/it has the screens on it (the kind you see at camping not screens like a house window) does the indirect light provide much or any kind of natural sunlight even though it is filtered and not directly hitting him then again I have never seen a squirrel just out basking in the sun

  14. #14
    EricSteve Guest

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Yes ,i have also heard and read about this man.Its almost true,The squirrel need sunshine on daily basis.There is no doubt in this.If you have few pet squirrel then you must have to arrange this for them.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    If you like to give your squirrel some daily sunlight for warmth, melatonin, etc. that is fine.

    Your squirrel, if eating a healthy diet with rat block, boo balls, or HHBs, do NOT need sunlight, or a UV lamp, for their vitamin D requirements. They get all the vitamin D they need in the above healthy diet foods. The lamps by the way, can be dangerous to their eyes.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    I've just discovered the Squirrel board and so just learning alot about some of this stuff. My girl is 3.5 years old and has really only ever had sun exposure from a window while playing around my office. She seems pretty healthy. I do give her deer antlers to chew on and she eats mushrooms practically every day. Is that the source of her vit. D then?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Does this thread information and sunlight exposure apply to Flying squirrels as well, being nocturnal?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Roxi, my suggestion to you would be for your girl to get 1-2 Henry's Healthy Blocks per day...the Adult Formula. They are a supplementary rodent block that will give her the calcium she needs to avoid MBD. Unfortunately it's never too late for a squirrel in captivity to develop MBD, and with no natural sunlight (only an OPEN window counts) your girl is at risk. Henry Blocks are yummy to squirrels which makes it easy to get good vitamins & minerals into them.
    www.henryspets.com I use them for all my rehab squirrels, ESPECIALLY when I have to overwinter some and they are not getting natural sunlight all winter long in my living room.....
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Quote Originally Posted by tphss
    Does this thread information and sunlight exposure apply to Flying squirrels as well, being nocturnal?
    Our flyer experts can really give you the scoop here, but no flyers do not have the same need for sunlight exposure for exactly the reason you stated: they are nocturnal and they metabolize calcium & Vit D differently.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Do Squirrels Need Daily Sun Exposure?

    Does anyone know where I can get a coupon code for HHB?

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