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Thread: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Hello all! My non-releasable Eastern gray squirrel, Autumn, has suddenly become very aggressive with me. I'm not exactly sure of her age. I think she was 4 weeks old when I got her because her eyes weren't open yet. They opened about a week later and she imprinted on me. I'm guessing she is around 5 months old.

    She has always been very sweet. Loved snuggles and pets. Would put her teeth on me to play but never broke the skin. Until a couple of days ago! I reached into her cage like usual to pet her and she grabbed my hand and bit the hell out of me! I got so upset because she has never been aggressive with me except for some minor food aggression. She would never actually hurt me when she was being food aggressive, just would lunge at me and pretend like she was going to get me but would never do anything once she actually got to my hand lol. I gave her a couple of days to calm down and just let her out to play today. She ended up attacking me and jumped on my face, knocking off my glasses and scratching me pretty badly on my nose. I'm in tears right now because I am so nervous around her now. I never was before and I hate this feeling. I'm scared to handle her but don't want her to be cooped up in her cage. I'm so worried this is a permanent behavior change.

    She isn't releasable because she has seizures that I thought might be MBD but she has always gotten plenty of calcium. I feed her 2-4 Henry's blocks a day, that she always eats before her other food, arugula, collard greens, green onions, blackberries, papaya, pineapple, celery, etc. Anything that has a higher calcium to phosphorus ratio, with some of the lower ratio foods as treats every now and then. I also put a bit of Henry's calcium powder on her first Henry's block that I give her in the morning. Her poop and pee are normal and she is very active, so I know she is getting the right amount of calcium. I'm assuming her neuro issues are from falling out of the tree. She never stashes any food so I don't think that's it.

    Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance or maybe some kind of explanation. I'm so upset right now. I can't stop crying. Autumn is my heart. I want my little girl back.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Forgot to mention that she just got moved into a bigger cage this past week. It's 5x3. She seems to love it because she is all over it, turning flips and running in circles. There are tons of branches and she has toys and a pillow with a pillowcase that she likes to sleep inside of. Could the new cage be the issue? Is it making her wild up to have more space? Idk. I just know I miss my sweet squirrel girl.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Iím sorry to hear this Mayhaps but your situation can be quite common. There are a few things we like to rule out. I would make certain that she hasnít stashed some nuts. They can become very aggressive if they have a stash they are protecting.

    Another issue is new scents. Have you changed soap recently? What about new hand cream or shampoo? They all seem to go berserk if you donít smell right. Something as benign as taking a shower and approaching them is often enough to get a nasty bite. This would be easy enough to change if itís something this simple.

    Of course, there is the issue of Ďwilding upí. 5 months seems a little young for this but anything is possible.

    Does she still have seizures or is this an issue from the past?

    The new cage might have triggered this. Give her some time and see if your sweet little girl re-emerges BUT please use caution. Iím sure I donít have to tell you they can cause serious injuries.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Just a note on the diet... I have never heard of a squirrel eating onion.

    The healthy diet is a guideline but you donít have to be married to it. You can add sugar snap peas, kale, avocado, butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet potato to the diet. As long as they get the block and nuts are limited, the veggies are not a huge player in MBD. The veggies are just part of the healthy diet. Of course, the veggies with a 2:1 Calcium to Phosphorus ratio are ideal but I donít exclude other healthy veggies due to this factor alone. Avocado is a source of healthy fat in the diet while others bring other vitamins and nutrients. Variety is the key along with the block and limited treats.

    I wouldnít feed a 5 month old grey squirrel 4 blocks. That is too many. The Henryís blocks are a supplement block and are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Too many blocks can led to over-supplementation. I would give 2 blocks a day. If some is wasted by crumbling the maximum I would give is 3.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Thank you for your reply. I definitely give her other veggies and such too. I was just emphasizing that I'm pretty sure she doesn't have MBD because I'm so careful with her diet. I actually have acorn and butternut squash for her right now lol. She gets up to two nuts a day. I tried giving her green onions for the first time this week because I saw them on the calcium/phosphorus chart and they had a higher ratio. I've been giving her more calcium the last few days to try to completely rule out MBD. Normally I give her more variety but I'm experimenting to make absolutely sure her seizures are not due to a calcium deficiency. I'm 98% sure they're not.

    Also, she definitely does not have a stash. She has never stashed anything and I double checked to make sure. There's nothing. I'm starting to think it's her new cage because her behavior started changing within a few days after I switched her cage. I haven't changed my soaps or anything like that. I do occasionally use a different one but I have always rotated between the same 2 or 3 so she is used to my variety of smells lol.

    I say 4 Henry's blocks but, when I say 4, I mean more like 2 and then an extra one or two if the first ones were the super small ones or the ones that are broken. She doesn't get more than 2-3 regular sized ones.

    As far as I know, she hasn't had a seizure in the last week. She had one last week right after I took her out. She was super excited and all of a sudden started seizing. Seems to mostly happen when she gets overexcited. This last one was particularly scary because she started foaming at the mouth a bit and she has never done that during her seizures.

    I am hoping it is just the cage and that she will start acting like herself again soon. I hate that I am so scared of her hurting me now. I'm worried she can sense my fear and that it's making her react more aggressively.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    It sounds like you have a very good grasp of the diet and squirrel behavior.
    You are correct in that over stimulation can trigger a seizure. I have a flyer with a past seizure history. Even now, 6 years post seizures, a stressful event with over stimulation can trigger a seizure.

    I hope when Autumn settles down in the new cage she will return to your sweet girl.
    Give her a little time and get your armor prepared like a thick bathrobe and gloves (oven mits )and a blanket or something to cover your face if needed. Make sure that she canít bite you through the gear. Maybe if she can explore you without being able to hurt you she will settle down. Whatever you do, protect yourself!
    Good luck to you. I know how heartbreaking this must be.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Iím sorry to hear this Mayhaps but your situation can be quite common. There are a few things we like to rule out. I would make certain that she hasnít stashed some nuts. They can become very aggressive if they have a stash they are protecting.

    Another issue is new scents. Have you changed soap recently? What about new hand cream or shampoo? They all seem to go berserk if you donít smell right. Something as benign as taking a shower and approaching them is often enough to get a nasty bite. This would be easy enough to change if itís something this simple.

    Of course, there is the issue of Ďwilding upí. 5 months seems a little young for this but anything is possible.

    Does she still have seizures or is this an issue from the past?

    The new cage might have triggered this. Give her some time and see if your sweet little girl re-emerges BUT please use caution. Iím sure I donít have to tell you they can cause serious injuries.

    Scents can be a big thing with squirrels. I've mentioned this in other posts, like above, some squirrels only like your "natural" scent, no soap, perfume or otherwise. My Cracker Jack did not like anything other than his squirrel lady scent. Hand creams drove him wild. No body spay or scent of any kind, he would not put up with it.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    I am definitely going to have to try the full body gear thing. I just tried to let her out again and within minutes, she attacked my hand. I used to let her out every single day and now I'm afraid of her so she doesn't come out. She does still let me love on her at night, inside her cage, when she is drowsy but if I even try to let her out during the day, she is inmediately aggressive. Problem is, during my son's nap is the only time I can let her out. I have no other room but my bedroom where she can be safe because of our cats and dog. At night, my husband is in the room sleeping because he wakes up super early for work. So, my squirrel playtime is limited. I know her being cooped up isn't helping at all and is probably making it worse but I am at a loss.

    The worst part of this is feeling afraid of my baby when I never flinched at all before. I have no clue what I can cover my face with. I have bad vision so I have to wear glasses. She is definitely a face jumper so I have to figure something out.

    What do I do if she never calms down? I would feel terrible keeping her cooped up in a cage for the rest of her life, but, if I can't let her out safely, what are my options?? I used to be a licensed wildlife rehabber so I have experience with squirrels but I have never had a non-releasable one so Idk what to do long term for an aggressive NR.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Gonna buy this and give it a try lol.

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    I just know my husband is going to die laughing at me when I am all covered up but it'll be worth it if I can get my squirrel girl to start being nice again! The first step is eliminating my fear of her. Bathrobe, oven mitts, and face mask/goggles CHECK. Haha

    I'll let you guys know how it goes once the mask and goggles come in! Thank you for all your help.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    You know we will need pics, right?

    Hey, that’s some awesome face gear. You will be the envy of TSB in that.

    Here is a homemade version. Let’s just say that Rama doesn’t like his dad.

    Name:  EE296D8A-8D96-49E8-BEDD-8B17F28B56D8.jpg
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    Yeah, needless to say, we ain’t exactly right!

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    While youíre ordering on Amazon you might want to add this to the ensemble. You donít want those ears hanging out.

    https://www.amazon.com/NEEDOON-Knitt...r%2Bmuffs&th=1

    You will look AWESOME! Hubby is gonna die when her sees you.

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    When a squirrel attacks outside the cage it is vying for dominance over you.

    Magnesium is known as the calming mineral. If the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet is high it can support aggression. A female squirrel I know of had a problem of being aggressive, yet after raising the magnesium, and the cessation of feeding the squirrel by hand, this changed. Now she is a snuggle bug again. Best for now to let the magnesium do its job before let your squirrel out with you in the same room.

    A closer ratio of Calcium to Magnesium in the diet has also been found in rat studies to more optimally support bone density, and inhibit Calcium stone formation.

    https://www.amazon.com/Frontier-Magn.../dp/B000UYC3MY

    Magnesium citrate can be added to the diet in a food including baked squash, and plain yogurt.

    It can take time for the body to adjust to an increase in magnesium, so don't be too concerned if the stool is just a bit softer than normal when increasing the amount of magnesium in the diet.

    Begin by adding 1/64 Tsp. of magnesium citrate from "Frontier Naturals" , if then after 3 to 4 days the stool is still firm, add an additional 1/64 Tsp. totaling 1/32 Tsp., giving 1/64 Tsp. each to the AM and PM meals. If after another 3 to 4 days the stool is still firm, then add a third 1/64 Tsp. again splitting the dosage, 1/32 to the AM meal, and 1/64 the teaspoon to the PM meal. If then the stool is still firm after 3 to 4 days, then add a forth portion 1/64 Tsp., a total of 1/16 Tsp. daily, again splitting the dose between the AM and PM meals daily, adding half the measure 1/32 Tsp. to the AM meal, and 1/32 Tsp. to the PM meal. If the stool is still firm after 3 to 4 days, then keep it there. If not then reduce the measure by 1/64 Tsp. and see if the stool firms up.

    Using a set of mini Teaspoons is needful to measure the dose.

    https://www.amazon.com/New-Star-Food...mini+spoon+set

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    [QUOTE=Diggie's Friend;1283980] If the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet is high it can support aggression.

    Sorry, I am still learning how to use the quote thing effectively. Noob alert.

    I appreciate the input! However, I'm not sure it is a magnesium issue. I already try to give her foods that are higher in magnesium because of her seizures. She gets almonds, papaya, blackberries, etc. daily, since they're both high in calcium and magnesium.

    I've started thinking about it more and I think she is just plain ol' mad at me. When I look back, the week I got her new cage was the week I was throwing together my candle business and getting it ready to be opened on Etsy. That was the first week I ever went more than a day or two without letting her out. It clicked today when I was thinking about how much I hated her being cooped up. So, looking more and more like it's a case of me slacking on the baby squirrel girl entertainment. =(

    Diggie's Friend, I think you are absolutely correct in that she is trying to assert dominance over me now. I think that she was originally angry with me because of not being able to let her out for a couple of days so she bit me as an "eff you" lol. Then I think she started sensing my fear and thought it would be a grand opportunity to start trying to be the alpha in the squirrel-human relationship.

    But, that ain't gonna fly (no flying squirrel pun intended)! I will don my squirrel armor and restore my place as the alpha squirrel mommy. I WILL have a sweet baby Autumn squirrel again. Hopefully...

    As for my ears, I have a hoodie that I already wear when I handle her. I am going to wear it under a bathrobe and pull
    the hood up so she can't get to them.

    I got dis, you guys.

    P.S. I shall try to take a picture in which I do not feel absolutely whalish once I get my full armor on

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Be assured the magnesium level in the diet is involved; you see the cultivated soils in N.A. have over 80 years been depleted in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus also. Magnesium is the number one macro mineral deficiency in human diets. In rodents it is both calcium and magnesium that are deficient in foods, but magnesium also in rodent block. In my whole foods diet research for N.A. tree squirrels, I came across this data on the drop in mineral content of our cultivated soils in N.A. For this cause the cultivars grown in our soils no longer comes close to supplying enough magnesium, nor calcium of course. (see chart file)

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    Default Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Another issue is new scents. Have you changed soap recently? What about new hand cream or shampoo? They all seem to go berserk if you don’t smell right. Something as benign as taking a shower and approaching them is often enough to get a nasty bite.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mayhaps View Post
    I've started thinking about it more and I think she is just plain ol' mad at me. When I look back, the week I got her new cage was the week I was throwing together my candle business and getting it ready to be opened on Etsy.
    This is also something you may need to consider....
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


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    Question Re: My baby girl is suddenly very aggressive with me!

    I have recently had the same issue.
    The first time she attacked my hand, I was cleaning her litter box knowing she had Nuts stored in her nest under it (never been an issue with me). I let her calm down for a few days and she was back to normal.

    She was running around again on Thursday and after about 45 minutes I took my boots off and she immediately attacked my feet, then climbed up on me and continued biting my shoulder and down my arm. I got her off and tried to put the boots back on when she bit my hand she drew blood and it wasn't stopping. At the time I was home alone so I was crying, freaking out and trying to get her back in her cage all at the same time. I didn't really care if I hurt her at the time as I was in pain ( she is fine, I didn't hurt her).

    I was aware that she hates my bare feet but has never had a problem while wearing socks (as long as they are not black and they weren't). This has made us think long and hard on whether we need to release her, but I have major concerns with that.

    I will try giving her more magnesium to see if that helps. Any other advice/ideas/opinions are appreciated.

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