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Thread: Our New Grey Squirrel

  1. #1
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    Default Our New Grey Squirrel

    We've had "Tito" since just before Christmas when my husband tried to chase a tiny Squirrel back up an Oak Tree to save it from some feral cats. Well... it wouldn't budge... and instead walked right up to my husband and climbed onto his shoe. We took it home and have had this squirrel ever since.

    Started Tito off in a large 4 level ferret cage feeding him fruits, nuts and rodent block. He's now just about full grown and can roam freely in our large screened-in outdoor covered deck. He loves me and I play with him and handle him just like I would play with a kitten. He tolerates my husband and daughter..... and hates strangers. We have 2 cats and Tito chases them back thru the cat door when they come out on the deck. We were originally worried about the cats hurting Tito but that's certainly not an issue.

    A few weeks ago Tito found a weak spot high up in the corner of the enclosure and disappeared. We were quite sad and depressed but thought it was for the best since he must have wanted the freedom. Tito was gone all day and into the night. We had company that night and for some reason my husband went out to the screened-in deck. THERE WAS TITO.... clinging to the outside of the screen. He was circling around the perimeter of the deck trying to locate the hole he escaped from.

    My wife stood on a barstool and waved her hand thru the hole and in he came. He ran to his open cage... and into his bed. The next day I had the screen repaired andName:  IMG_1935.jpg
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    Last edited by BellaOrlando; 04-03-2019 at 07:50 PM. Reason: add picture

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Tito's story continued.....

    We had the screen repaired where Tito got out and a week later we rescreened the entire enclosure with "Tuff-Screen" heavy duty screening that is probably designed to keep squirrels out... instead of in.

    At this point we've basically decided that Tito is going to be a permanent member of our family. Tito has no fear of cats and there are a lot of feral cats around our house in addition to hawks, owls and other predators. We just don't want to risk releasing him.

    But here's my question for the board. Is Tito a boy or girl?? We named Tito as a boy but we're starting to think that Tito is a girl. Tito is obsessed with gathering nest materials and every loose leaf... napkin... piece of cloth... stuffed animal... cat toy... etc etc etc... is gathered up and incorporated into Tito's nest.

    And if Tito IS a girl could she have become pregnant when she escaped for one day?? I'm hoping that some knowledgable person here can look at Tito's picture and tell.

    Anyway... happy to be here on the Squirrel Board with all you squirrel lovers.

    BellaOrlando

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Tito is a girl. All squirrels build nests so that doesnít indicate gender.
    I doubt that she mated in the one day she was out.

    We have a saying around here regarding gender.... If you have to ask, itís a girl!
    Boys are quite obvious.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Here is a link to the healthy diet.
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Pet-Squirrels

    A healthy diet is the single most important thing you can do for Tito.

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Wow... have already received some great advice in regards to our grey squirrel "Tito" whom we apparently need to rename.... because Tito is a girl squirrel. I saw another member's picture of a young male squirrel and there was some pretty obvious hardware that's missing on ours. I guess "Tito" is now "Tita." I'm thinking Tita Marie.

    Also got some great advice on nutrition. We've been doing okay with diet but we can obviously improve. Tita Marie gets rodent block , apples, avocado, carrots, broccoli, walnuts, pecans, almonds and other assorted nuts. She does have a huge stash of nuts in her nest that we'll have to deal with. There's also almonds and other nuts stashed throughout our screened-in porch.

    Tita Marie gets plenty of exercise running around the deck and chasing us or the cats. She likes to run around and around on us so we've learned not to wear shorts out there.
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Hi Bella,

    Welcome!

    Tita is beautiful! What kind of block do you feed? Could you post a picture of the block?

    I hate to say this but you are creating a monster with the nut stashes around the house. One day you will go by a stash and she will whoop **s on who ever is closest. The nuts are also extremely unhealthy for her. Way limit the amount of nuts to a treat every once in awhile. Nuts are to be given only as a treat every once in awhile.
    redwuff
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Redwuff....

    you are so right about the nut stash!! Yesterday I walked out onto the deck and got ambushed by Tita who launched onto me from somewhere. When she's seriously NOT playing she makes a short grunting sound that tells me she's not happy... not to mention nipping you or clawing you with her sharp claws.

    That being said.... she's never broken skin when she gives her little warning nip. We're going to eliminate the endless supply of nuts... and the stashed nuts. She's eating Envigo Harlan Global Rat Block.

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Tina Marie 😂

    Make sure she isnít around when you remove the stash. She will go ballistic. She might not have broken the skin YET but if she catches you messing with her stash .... well, letís just say she has teeth and she knows how to use them. Seriously, itís a bite like no other. They will bite you to the bone and for good measure grind the bone just a tad.

    The Envigo block is an excellent block. The problem is that if they have nuts they arenít likely to eat the block. They just hide it like a two year old that hates broccoli.

    You might want to read up on Metabolic Bone Disease. Iím not saying she has it but it will help you understand why the diet is so critical. Almost daily someone comes to this board with a squirrel that is seizing or dragging the hind legs. They are frantic and hysterical. The first question we ask is whatís the diet like. Invariably they will say something like almond, pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds. When a captive squirrels is fed nuts and seeds in abundance they WILL develop MBD. If not treated, it is fatal.

    I didnít say that to scare you. I just want you to have information that will guide you with Tita Marieís diet. MBD can be avoided.

    Iím looking forward to seeing pics of Tita now that we have established that she is a girl.

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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    One other thing I wanted to mention. I know Tita is the sweetest thing ever. They all are at that age. If you got her before Christmas she is likely 5-6 months old. I wanted to give you a heads up. Squirrels make lousy pets. You might want to consider releasing her at some point. Many will reach a point where they start wilding up. When and if that happens they can be aggressive and bitey even with your family. They have a tendency to select ONE person as their person. That person can do anything with them but others learn quickly to stay away. We have had many incidents of ‘pet’ squirrels viciously attacking family members.

    They also don’t mind at all destroying your home. Any wood is fair game. They will even eat the drywall, especially the corners. SO, just thought I would let you know. I have released MANY former pets that became too much to handle in the home. They do fine and frankly, overwhelmingly they prefer the trees to our home. After helping many to the trees I can say I LOVE THEM dearly but I prefer them in the trees instead of destroying my home.

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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    https://youtu.be/K_nQpWb0b10

    Tita gets exercise when her mom gets home from work.

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  18. #11
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Your girl looks great. You have done a great job Mom!


    The only thing I will caution you is that she eats an overwhelming part of her diet as Harlan teklad block.
    redwuff
    State Licensed
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  19. #12
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Thatís an awesome video. I can tell she is a spoiled, loved young lady. I can also tell that she rules the roost around your place.
    She looks great.

  20. #13
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel... Soft Release??

    Tita Marie is still lots of fun but now she cannot be unsupervised out on the screened in deck. We were hoping she'd be happy in her 23' by 12' habitat but now ... if left alone out there.... she'll chew holes in the Tuff-screen in an effort to get out and play (mate?) with the many squirrels in the area. Last few days we've had to put her in her ferret cage before we leave for work... and she's not liking that.

    She actually did get out once before.... but came back that night looking for a way back in. Now... we're contemplating giving her an exit hole from the screened deck so that she could leave and return at night. We really don't want to expose her to the hawks, owls, feral cats, and other hazards around our home but if she's going to be regularly chewing her way out thru the screen we don't know what else to do at this point.

    Very hard decision for us... and yesterday the feral cats outside our house were tossing around a baby squirrel that they had caught and killed. That makes it even tougher.... especially since Tita is unafraid of our two indoor cats. We're afraid that thia would put her at risk outdoors.
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Her non-fear of cats will certainly put her at risk once released. Can you trap the feral cats with a safe hav-a-Hart trap? I would be very hesitant to release her, or even let her venture out and in the screened enclosure, given your current circumstances. Would you consider letting someone else do a slow release in a more desirable area? There are lots of folks around Florida that could help you out with a release. I’m along the east coast south of Cocoa Beach, so less than 2 hrs from you. There’s also some licensed rehabbers in Orlando I can put you in touch with if you’d like.

    An alternative to your screened area would be to reinforce all the screening by covering it with half inch hardware cloth. She won’t be able to bite through it.

    I can tell you love her a lot and would hate to see anything happen to her. Releasing her there, or letting her roam in and out, would be like throwing her to the wolves. IMO

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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Thanks Mel1959.... appreciate your response. Ironically... we've already trapped some of the feral cats and had them neutered. In fact.... the one seen with the dead baby squirrel was a female that we had previously neutered. We feed some of the ferals and so do several neighbors so they're not killing squirrels to eat... but they will instictively kill things they run across.... snakes, baby ducks, etc. Actually that's really the first squirrel we've seen them kill. Passing cars are the main hazard for the squirrels.

    Several of our regular ferals have leaped on the screen trying to get at Tita. With the Tuff-Screen I installed.... a 15 pound feral cat can climb on it and it doesn't even show a mark. Imagine my dismay when Tita started gnawing holes in it.

    I think relocating all the ferals is probably out but I may try reinforcing the screening. Since Tita only seems to be chewing on the north side of the deck... and specifically on one particular corner I may try reinforcing just that panel. I'll keep updating the situation.... and once again... thanks!!

  23. #16
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Tita update..... she now chews holes in our screened in deck to get out. She's gotten out 3 times but always comes running home when my wife calls her... or when it gets dark. Since its impossible to keep her in... and because we don't want to keep her cooped up in her ferret cage.... we've purposely cut a small exit hole in the screen and run a little wooden squirrel ramp to a large tree about 18 inches away. Hopefully she can now come and go as she pleases.

    When she's comes back she's thirsty and hungry so she obviously has not totally figured out how to access water and food out there. Hopefully... we can transition her with this "soft release." Its difficult... because Tita absolutely loves my wife who can pick her up... play with her.... and do just about anything to her without fear. The rest of us not so much. I've been ambushed on the deck.... scratched and nipped just because Tita was in a mood. But as I've read.... squirrels tend to choose one human to bond with.

    Tita might be happy living on the deck if my wife did not work and could play with her all day. I think Tita gets bored during the day and that's when she chews her way out. My wife showed her the exit ramp this morning and she took off up the tree. Hopefully she'll be safe out there and remember how to get safely back inside if she wants to. I guess at this point she's like an outdoor cat.

  24. #17
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    Default Re: Our New Grey Squirrel

    Update: Tita likes her freedom now and spends her days mostly outside. When it gets dark she comes in her entry hole and goes to sleep in her nest. The problem we now have is 2 of Tita's new friends have found their way into our screened-in porch and are eating Tita's rodent block. We've chased them out several times but they keep coming back.

    My wife wants to mark Tita's head with something so we can quickly identify her and distinquish her from one of her new friends that is about ths same size. The other ""friend" is much bigger and easy to distinquish. The other issue is... we don't know if Tita even likes these 2 squirrels coming around. I could trap and relocate them.

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