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Thread: Fox squirrel behavior question

  1. #1
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    Default Fox squirrel behavior question

    Hello everyone......I released my fox squirrel Harley 7 weeks ago. She was approximately 8 months old. She has disappeared a few times for a day but always returned. She continued to spend 99% of her nights in her release cage. This past Saturday evening was the last time I saw her. That was an odd day as she probably took 25 nuts from me - normally I give her approximately 5 in the morning before work and 5 in the evening after work. She has continued to climb on me, let me pet her, etc. Saturday she was literally jumping at the back door to get my attention for nuts. She has never taken so many nuts before. Saturday night we had TERRIBLE thunderstorms. The last I saw her was around 7 pm when she went into her release cage for what I assumed was the night. It is now Tuesday morning and I have not seen her since Saturday evening. She is normally like clockwork waiting for me every morning and every evening. Could this activity have anything to do with the recent abundance of rain/bad weather or mating season? Of course I am heartbroken. I feel as though the odd coincidence of the excessive amount of nuts she wanted on Saturday is possibly related? This is my one and only squirrel experience so I have nothing to compare it to. Thank you in advance!!!!!! Dana

  2. #2
    Annabelle's papa Guest

    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    Hi Ms. Dana, when Lil' Harley didn't return last month, how long was it before she returned, the recent storm could have very well spooked her. Her 'asking' you for additional nuts Saturday, could mean that she is stockpiling another area in or near your yard. I've read where animals can sense an approaching warm or cold front up to 72 hours in advance, have you looked around any other areas near your home.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    The last time she was only gone a day and a half. This is for sure the longest. She definitely has a second "home" that I think is in my front yard or a neighbors - we have tried to follow her but she is much quicker than we are! I do not think it is far because if ever I would call her she would come running over the roof to me. We had some wild squirrels that took over her territory for a while but we took the nest box down they were using so they have since left...although I do still see them occasionally. For awhile she seemed scared in my back yard but as of Saturday she was walking around everywhere and seemed fine again - as if she had taken back over the backyard. It is just very unusual for her not to come get her nuts and see me when she did it like clockwork every single day. Thank you for responding.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    It sounds like you did everything to ensure her returning to the wild, she knew her release cage was there for her if necessary. You're ahead of many who come here.

    I don't have a definite answer for you, except to say that squirrels are highly independent and solitary, and I'm sure you know that already. They do range widely, often venturing in large circles to new locations and disappearing for days, weeks and even months. They often keep more than one nest location, particularly when it's an expectant female. That might also explain the increased returns for food.

    Beyond that, your observations are probably the closest you'll get to knowing what's going on. Following her is -as you've noted- difficult, and may even be motivating her (if she's a mom-to-be) to find somewhere more remote to protect her babies. Hopefully that's what's going on.... several here at TSB could tell you stories of releases and regular wilds suddenly vanishing. Some return after long absences, while (sadly) others disappear without closure, and perhaps it's better not to know why.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    I agree with Bravo. Also, it's possible that mating season has begun where you are and she is preggers -- that would certainly explain the food-gathering and storing, because once moms give birth they barely leave the littles alone for a minute, for the first two weeks!
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    Thank you all very much for your responses. I had thought she might be pregnant as well but she sure didn't appear physically to be. She had no visible belly and has lost quite a bit of the weight I put on her since her release. However, about a month ago (very soon after her release) one morning I walked out my back door to find what seemed like 20 squirrels in my backyard. I did research and thought perhaps Harley was in estrus and that is what had attracted the many squirrels. When I got home from work that day they were gone (and haven't returned) and so was she for a day or so and when she returned she seemed very skittish and just not herself. It took a few days to get her back to being herself. I thought perhaps she had been violated If she did become pregnant that day from my calculations she would have the babies in the next couple of weeks.

    I know all I can do is wait and watch, so thank you all for your comments and reassurances. Having Harley has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    Here is one of the final two pictures I took of Harley on Saturday.....looking for her nuts!

    Name:  Harley 2.JPG
Views: 106
Size:  130.4 KB

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    She is a VERY cute little Foxer! I hope she will turn up again soon! As others have said, it is not rare for a squirrel to disappear (in some cases for many, many month) and then just reappear like nothing has happened. I would continue to put out some food and fresh water and call for her.


    I know how worrying it is when a squirrel does not visit, I always imagine the worst but usually they show up and all is well with the world!
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    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-(Pip-and-Nip)!

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    If I may ask one more question...has anyone had trouble with blue jays? I try to feed the squirrels but the birds will not stay away!! I have robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, etc. thank you and still no Harley 😥

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    Quote Originally Posted by danahilton View Post
    If I may ask one more question...has anyone had trouble with blue jays? I try to feed the squirrels but the birds will not stay away!! I have robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, etc. thank you and still no Harley 
    I ran across this article a few months back re: Jays....

    http://tailsofbirding.blogspot.com/2...s-at-your.html

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    Thank you Spanky for the article. I am not trying to feed birds at all but do realize that what I am feeding the squirrels also attracts birds. I will look more kindly on the blue jays

  12. #12
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    Unhappy Re: Fox squirrel behavior question

    One more question guys . What are the signs that a fox squirrel is pregnant? When do they start "showing"? If I am correct in my calculations and Harley is pregnant she would have been 26 days the last time I saw her. I know the nipples but when does that actually start to be obvious? I just keep praying that she is pregnant and that is why she is away for now. Still no sign of her

    Thank you gain for your help.

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