View Full Version : Please help, Our Backyard Red Squirrel losing fur worried about this very cold winter

01-05-2014, 07:18 PM
Hi all, I'm new to the forums. I don't own any pet squirrels, but I do feed the squirrels that regularly visit our backyard. Among our many visitors are 4 little Red Squirrels. One of them is so friendly, he comes up right beside me to wait for his peanuts in the morning. This morning when I was out feeding them, I noticed that one of them was missing fur. I'm quite concerned because we are in Canada and the weather these last couple of days with the wind chill has been a bone chilling -35C. I'm worried that with his fur in this shape that he won't make it through the winter. Also a concern is that whatever he has is contagious and he could pass it along to the others. I was wondering what could be causing this. And being that he is not a pet, is there anything I can do to help him make it through the winter? I've posted photos of the poor little fellow below.





01-05-2014, 07:25 PM
Oh my goodness he is adorable!!! It seems awfully cold for a naked squirrel for sure. Let me see if the more experienced think that a treatment with Revolution is in order. If so, are you able to get a drop on the back of his neck?

island rehabber
01-05-2014, 07:35 PM
Revolution would be the best thing to try to dose him with. You could also try ivermectin but you'll need to be very careful.

01-05-2014, 08:05 PM
Thanks so much for your reply. Please excuse my ignorance as I'm new to this, but are these products that I can purchase from a Vet or store and if so, can I add them to his drinking water. We supply a heated water bowl for them to drink with, the problem is that it's also used by the other squirrels and birds. Would these products be safe if they were to drink from the bowl as well? I greatly appreciate your assistance.

01-05-2014, 08:13 PM
By any chance, can you handle the squirrel? Revolution as with cats and dogs goes at the shoulder blades. Ivermectin can be purchased at a feed store or tractor supply, I believe, its liquid. If you can get that, you would just put the tiniest drop on a nut out of the shell. Where in Canada are you?

01-05-2014, 08:32 PM
I'm in Ontario.

Thanks for clarifying for me. If I could put a drop on a nut, that would be perfect! I could wait for him to come up to the porch and place it on the rail for him. Unfortunately I can't handle him. (I've called him Patches, lol)

When I looked at it closely, it doesn't seem to look like mange, (but I'm certainly no expert) no scabs, rough looking patches or redness. It looks like very fine gray fur and I can see the pink skin in certain areas, put it isn't inflamed or red. It almost looks like he's molting, but that doesn't happen in the middle of winter, so I am baffled by this.

01-05-2014, 08:36 PM
Ivermectin comes as an apple flavored gel, USUALLY. There's one kind that's a paste, and you have to mix it. Avoid that kind if possible. For full sized squirrels we prescribe a dab the size of an UNCOOKED grain of rice, so for this guy it would be less. It's given once a week for three weeks. Call around to any horse supply shops. Tractor Supply also sells it, at least in the US.

It looks like he's got a bit of fur, not totally exposed skin, right? If it's too cold and he just has skin, you may have to trap him until he's better.

01-05-2014, 08:45 PM
You are all the best! I really appreciate the help. We have a feed store near us called Ritchie Feed & Seed. I'm going to give them a try tomorrow.
The only places where there is just exposed skin is a little on his sides between his front and hind legs. He is so adorable and I feel so sorry for him. The weather over the past week has been below 30 with the wind chill. We finally got a reprieve today, it was -10, but they are now calling for freezing rain storm hitting our area tonight. Oh the joys of living in Canada! LOL

01-05-2014, 08:56 PM
You have to not cut it short, you have to go a full week before dosing again. It's actually a very potent toxin.

You might also think about setting out some polyfill for her to take to her nest. Lots of squirrels love it. It's the stuff that any craft/fabric store sells to stuff pillows and comforters. It's warm and doesn't retain water.

Here's a cute little thread about it:


Btw, I'm currently trying to immigrate to Sudbury, the Soo, Thunder Bay, North Bay, or even Timmins. Barrie would do too.

01-05-2014, 09:03 PM
Btw, also pick up thee pecan halves. They are the best delivery method. You put the gel in the groves and then spackle over it with peanut butter. Works every time.

01-05-2014, 09:34 PM
Oh, the poor little dude. :( Polyfill is a good idea. Pick some up tomorrow, too. :thumbsup If you get the Ivermectin, just tell us quickly which kind it is before you give any, ok?

Do you know where his nest is? Can you leave polyfill right under his tree or, better yet, in his branches right against the trunk? Put out only a few pieces at a time and keep changing them so they stay warmish/dry/clean until he actually figures out that they are a squirrel must-have. :grin