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Thread: NORTHERN VA: Need Rehabber for Soft Release of my 2 Babies!

  1. #1
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    Default NORTHERN VA: Need Rehabber for Soft Release of my 2 Babies!

    Hi Everyone,

    I have two squirrely babies that are about, I'm guessing, between 9 and 10 weeks old. Joseph is the black male and Scrappy is the grey male. Both came in as part of the same litter. I got them when they were about 5 weeks old. I am trying to plan ahead. I live in an apartment complex that has lots of large trees and we already have a large population of squirrels, however I have noticed a high mortality rate in the parking lot and adjacent roadway. For their safety and happiness I am thinking that it isn't a good idea to release them here. I'm wondering if any rehabbers on here locally that have suggestions and accommodations for their safe release?

    Also, Scrappy and Joseph seem to be maturing at different rates. Scrappy is bigger and already showing signs of aggression which makes me think he will be ready to go sooner than Joseph. Joseph is smaller and drinks more formula on average now than Scrappy. Scrappy has started chewing on rodent block and Zupreem Monkey biscuits along with vegetables, but Joseph is still only on formula. Is it possible to release them at different times? I'd like to keep them with me as long as possible.

    Lastly, how horrible am I to consider keeping Joseph? I am particularly attached to him, but will certainly release him if responses scream "No". Just curious. He has shown a potential to be a long term friend, but he could certainly show a desire for release sooner.

    Thank you.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Don't rule them out from being released at the same time just yet....... they still have some
    time to grow and wild up. My rule of thumb is to place them in their release cage at 4 mths
    old, let them remain for 30 days, then release them into the wild at 5 mths old.

    *I suggest you locate a rehabber in the country to release these two for you, for their safety.
    Please do NOT try and keep one of them unless it is NR (non-releasable) for some reason.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    I agree that they should be released together and that perfectly healthy squirrels should always be released. When releasing in groups they tend to stick together (especially males) for quite a while and that is an advantage when interacting with the local squirrel population. I have had releases stay together for more than a year and even after that they are still "friendly" to one another when they come across each other.

    Would you like us to see if their is a member relatively close by that may have a release cage in a more ideal locale to help release them?



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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    In my opinion it really is a bit early to determine whether one will be ready for release sooner than the other; let them both mature as see how things are at the time they are to be released.

    I had one that drank formula even while I had them in the release cage, they just loved the stuff, I don't feel that it was a measure of maturity, just individual taste buds. So I continued to offer formula right up until the day I released them. Obviously at that point, the formula was only an extra bonus for them as they were on a solid food diet. Note that the other squirrel I had quit the formula entirely back about the time that most do.

    Please note that you are not horrible for considering to keep Joseph, you are just completely normal. Squirrels have a charm that just pulls on our hearts and connects us to them, some more than others, I understand your feelings. However, it really is not in the best interest of a healthy squirrel to be kept captive, their own hearts are wired to be free and enjoy the treetops as their lives were intended. For me, it really helped that the more they matured, the more I could see that their mild aggression and or frustration of being caged was an indicator of their growing need and love for freedom. This helped me balance my desires to want to keep these cute bundles of fur forever. I was able to let them go, but it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have no regrets. If the squirrel is completely healthy, please consider giving it the gift of it's own free life. There have been exceptions, where a squirrel makes it known that it wants to stay around, but this is rare.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Thank you for the comments and yes, your thoughts on it being to early to tell are correct. I think it is the want and excuse I'm looking for to be able to keep them. I am not a licensed rehabber, but with the help of the Squirrel board, its members, and local rehabbers, I have rehabbed for over a decade and it never gets easier to let them go. But you all are so right about them and their desire for freedom outside. What is it about these little guys that are so special? I was watching Joseph stretch and yawn the other day and it just got me. He stuck his little tongue and flopped on his gut and stared at me. Just something about him- I wish I could define it. Henry, my squirrel I released about seven years ago, stayed close to my home in Alexandria until he passed away. He knew his name and came home every morning and afternoon to see me. And when he got sick from bot flies or a cut, he came home and into the house to be treated and then went back out when he got better. Their intellect and ability to bond surpasses any human expectation. I am sorry I am rhapsodizing about them, but having Scrappy and Joseph just reminds me just how perfect these little beings are and how much Henry brought into my life. I miss him.

    I do want to find a local rehabber that has better accommodations for releasing them. They will surely die if I release them at this complex. It is very close to a major roadway. I have met up with one of our rehabbers in Richmond, I believe it is chickenlegs, but I am currently bound for a time to my local area. Do you know of anyone here in the Alexandria/Fairfax area that has accommodations for them for release? If you recommend it, I will give them over to the rehabber now since I am becoming increasingly attached to them and prefer not to do so. Especially Joseph. He is too intuitive. I swear, he sees my brain at work and is thinking, uh oh.

    I looked up a rehabber for the Fairfax area, a Pat Chamberlain, but do not know anything about her. Do you know of her? And your thoughts?

    Thank you again.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    One other question and this is because I know it is right to let Scrappy and Joseph go, but I'd love to have a little fur ball that is like them, but where I am not being cruel in keeping one. I have been told that rats are very similar to squirrels in behavior, intellect, and lovability. Do you know if this is true? I am considering adopting one. Or what is the next humane animal to keep in my home that is similar to a squirrel in all their peculiarities?

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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Let me see what I can find out about pat chamberlain. Thank you for being sp thoughtful about these babies.

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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiHall View Post
    One other question and this is because I know it is right to let Scrappy and Joseph go, but I'd love to have a little fur ball that is like them, but where I am not being cruel in keeping one. I have been told that rats are very similar to squirrels in behavior, intellect, and lovability. Do you know if this is true? I am considering adopting one. Or what is the next humane animal to keep in my home that is similar to a squirrel in all their peculiarities?
    Are you interested in an nr?

  13. #9
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    What is an NR?

  14. #10
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    A squirrel who can not be released due to some reason that it could not survive in the wild

  15. #11
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    YES! Definitely. I have the space and resources. Anybody looking for a home for an NR?

  16. #12
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Quick caveat. I don't have ready access to meds, but SB members have always been there to help.

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiHall View Post
    One other question and this is because I know it is right to let Scrappy and Joseph go, but I'd love to have a little fur ball that is like them, but where I am not being cruel in keeping one. I have been told that rats are very similar to squirrels in behavior, intellect, and lovability. Do you know if this is true? I am considering adopting one. Or what is the next humane animal to keep in my home that is similar to a squirrel in all their peculiarities?
    Rats are wonderful! Sweet, smart, social, you name it!

    However, they're nocturnal which can present a problem for some people. In my opinion, it's not really fair to keep a nocturnal animal locked in a cage during their most active hours. The last rat I had was free to leave her cage whenever she wanted. I was home a lot & went to bed quite late, so we spent tons of time together. The bond we shared was very special.

    It's best to get them in pairs if you can (so they have a friend to play with) and the bigger the cage, the better!

    Another thing to keep in mind is that rats don't usually live very long. They're genetically predisposed to a high incidence of tumors. The last one I had died at 3.5 years old (which is pretty ancient in rat years).

    If you can't find a non-releasable squirrel, I would definitely recommend considering a rat or two.
    Current wild (outdoor) crew: Trillingen, Lilltjejen, & Storebror + 5 adorable new babies

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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiHall View Post
    What is it about these little guys that are so special? I was watching Joseph stretch and yawn the other day and it just got me. He stuck his little tongue and flopped on his gut and stared at me. Just something about him- I wish I could define it.
    What you are trying to define, is the reason that many of the people are here on TSB. We all "understand" that intangible something that squirrels offer, that makes life so very special and changes us forever, as well as moment by moment. It's hard to put into words, you've done it well.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiHall View Post
    Their intellect and ability to bond surpasses any human expectation. I am sorry I am rhapsodizing about them, but having Scrappy and Joseph just reminds me just how perfect these little beings are and how much Henry brought into my life. I miss him.
    The essence of a squirrel is truly amazing, I marvel daily at what is contained in these very tiny furry packages, and am so grateful for the opportunity to interact with them, as they live outside. I completely understand what you are saying. And I totally understand why you want to keep them. So glad that you are willing to let them go, as they are healthy, I commend you for that. I trust that you will find an excellent place to give them their freedom. Hopefully, you will be able to care for a non-release that needs a loving home. That would be a win win for all involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiHall View Post
    I do want to find a local rehabber that has better accommodations for releasing them. They will surely die if I release them at this complex. It is very close to a major roadway. I have met up with one of our rehabbers in Richmond, I believe it is chickenlegs, but I am currently bound for a time to my local area. Do you know of anyone here in the Alexandria/Fairfax area that has accommodations for them for release? If you recommend it, I will give them over to the rehabber now since I am becoming increasingly attached to them and prefer not to do so. Especially Joseph. He is too intuitive. I swear, he sees my brain at work and is thinking, uh oh.

    I looked up a rehabber for the Fairfax area, a Pat Chamberlain, but do not know anything about her. Do you know of her? And your thoughts?
    I do not personally have answers for the questions you ask about rehabbers in your area. It looks like redwuff is looking into some of your questions. I would trust her answers.

    Thank you for loving squirrels and caring for their needs.

  20. #15
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Thank you for your thoughts, Lighten Up. Even though I know I am not alone in my sentiments with these guys, it still makes me feel better for you to share your thoughts with me. I am emotional when I think of Scrap and Joseph.

    Ekorre, your information on the rats was very helpful. I am concerned about the nocturnal aspect simply because I am more a day person than night. So, hmm. And this is good to ground me so I don't rush in to anything. I will wait to see if there are any NRs available. I know the wait will be worth it.

  21. Serious fuzzy thank you's to NikkiHall from:

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  22. #16
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Please know there is no shortage of NRs. Will keep u in mind.

  23. #17
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    I appreciate it. Thank you. If you need any background reference for me, I ran a very long thread, geez, I think it was 8 years ago with Henry and Rhubarb. My husband is a tree climber and found them as pinkies in a lot that was being cleared. Any rate, their time with me until both were released is tracked in full on TSB. At that time I lived in Alexandria. Since then, my husband and the men frequently bring me babies that they find that are stranded. Until I kept Scrappy and Joseph, I primarily only kept squirrels until a rehabber could be gotten a hold of. I moved away for about a year to OK and when I transitioned, all of my local contacts were lost. Most recently I met up with chickenlegs in Fredericksburg to hand off to her some pinkies. And that brings me to recent.

    If you think there is a NR out there that will be a good fit for me, I am wide open for one.

  24. #18
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    Default Re: Release Question/Request for my babies, Scrappy and Joseph.

    Hello all, Joseph and Scrap are doing wonderfully. I am guessing they are about 13 weeks old. Still on formula regularly and very active. Just wanted to check in. I definitely need to take it seriously finding a rehabber that can release them properly. Can someone in the No VA area contact me that has plenty of release space for them?

    Thanks!

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  25. #19
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    Default NEED EXPERIENCED RELEASE REHABBER OPINIONS

    Experienced Rehabbers, question for you.

    My squirrel babies are coming up on 14 weeks, approximately. I'm having trouble finding a local rehabber that can take them, wild them up, and release them properly. What I'm considering doing and I'm hoping you all can give me your opinions, but I am moving back to Oklahoma in about 6 months. I have property there with my family (about 20 acres). I have looked into import licenses and wildlife licenses and have considered applying for both and taking Scrappy and Joseph there to be released. In the meantime, because I am in an apartment complex, I thought I would get a very large birdcage to house them until it is time to move.

    Is this a smart plan?

    And as always, thank you! You all have never steered me wrong.

  26. #20
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    Default Re: NORTHERN VA: Need Rehabber for Soft Release of my 2 Babies!

    NikkiHall, I've edited your thread title to draw more attention from those in your area who may be able to help. I will also send PM's to our VA members directing them to this thread. You may have to go with someone who is not right in your backyard, but whom you can trust to do the right thing for your precious boys.
    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."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

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