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Thread: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

  1. #1
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    Default My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    My little boy Pipsqueek is about 8 mos old now and I've had him since his eyes were closed (rescued in terrible shape). I raised him on a homemade milk replacer formula (milk, cream, egg yolk, a tiny bit of corn syrup). He is fluffy tailed and as adorable as anything can be. He is very sweet. He loves helping me with laundy, running around, and trying to convince us he is starving to get more nuts (he isn't starving). He enjoys my phone, playing with water if I turn on the sink faucet a little, my laptop keys (yeah laptop closed is good) and running and climbing on all the furniture. I didn't plan on him joining the family I just didn't realize how personable and smart he would be.

    He doesn't seem like he has any wild instincts and is fine being petted and loves being talked to. I read some scary things about local rehab places. If he starts acting more wild I'll try to figure out how to slowly get him used to that. I'm not sure when he will get more wild, but he just integrated into our life really well.

    He is in a 3 high critter nation cage, and I just got another 2 levels to make him an outside cage with a tunnel from his existing cage. Is that enough space for him if he has daily exercise too? I could add a couple more levels to the outside part if it would be better. He has a large wheel too from someone who makes them on etsy. I think he is okay with his cage because when I ask him to go back he runs right into it.

    Is his diet ok? He sort of eats a picky Henry's block in the am when he is really hungry but he doesn't like it, then he gets during the day 2 nuts, leafy greens like kale/chard/romaine, a few seeds, and a little tiny piece of whole grain bread. We also try to give him a variety of fruit but he just started refusing to eat it (grapes, melon, banana, berries). I give him food at breakfast, a snack every couple hours, then dinner in the evening. Does he need fruit? He doesn't seem to like wild food like dandelions and rose petals etc. I haven't tried bugs or meal worms yet but I could try that.

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  2. Serious fuzzy thank you's to fwill from:

    lukaslolamaus (09-24-2019)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    What a sweet looking baby youíve got!
    Iím not a trained rehabber so hopefully one steps in to give you some authoritative advice here. That being said, are you looking to release him or keep him as a pet? My understanding is California Ground Squirrels are very social animals that live in tight knit communities. Iíve only successfully soft released them (4 weeks of no contact other than food and water in a confined area near the edge of the colony) when they were raised with siblings and back into their original social community of squirrels. My group started to wild up only after being placed in the soft release outdoor enclosure and away from human interaction.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    He is ADORABLE! Since CA is constantly poisoning these little cuties, I would be wary of rehab places, too. Often these littles find themselves acting as raptor food... That he is social means he has a greater chance of permanently adopting you as his "family."

    My only very scant experience is actually with their very, very close (like pretty much identical) relative, the rock squirrel in Arizona. I go to Tucson to visit my mom yearly and am always on the lookout for their version of squirrels. And I have to say that the ONLY places I have seen them are at Tucson's two animal/wildlife related places - Reid Park Zoo and the Tucson Sonoran Desert Museum, where they live seemingly in the various animal habitats, stealing food, sunning on rocks and generally living a life of luxury.

    I would look into prairie dog diets as well, and try adding some of their food to Pipsqueak's diet. They do climb and so I don't think they eat a straight ground squirrel diet but I would bet they eat some of the same things.

    To my knowledge we have never had one of these on the board that lived with humans (when I first came here 10 years ago we had a person who had raised and released one, who reappeared after a year and lived on the periphery of their property for some time) and would love to get to know him better!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    I will keep him as long as he is fine with the arrangement. My neighbors poison, shoot and trap squirrels so I'd hate for anything to happen to him.

    I'll look at Prairie dogs diet and see if we can make some improvements to his diet. But he looks really healthy so far. His fur is nice, soft and glossy. I give him the occasional piece of avocado too since wild squirrels eat lots of avocado.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Just watching what your wild ones eat is a good idea, too. They are so pretty - they look like they have silver sequins in their fur!

  7. #6
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Pipsqueek is adorable

  8. #7
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Cute face overload!

    Someone is really liking the camera; squirrel selfie!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    His fur is really pretty. I could see how it looks like sequins. His face is super cute, especially when he stuffs all his food in his chubby cheeks.

    He takes his food out of his cheeks sometimes to sort through it and pick out what he wants to eat. He puts the food from his cheeks on the bottom of his wheel like a buffet table. He doesn't store food so we have to be careful what we feed him to make sure he isn't overeating because he loves to eat! He was getting a bit chubby so now he gets more greens and less of the food he begs for ALL the time. We recently added a 3rd level to his cage so he has more levels to run up and down to get more exercise when he is in his cage.

    He doesn't like other people, he likes me and loves to be talked to. He likes to eat with me talking to him. He sort of likes my daughter and husband but prefers me, which seems to be pretty normal for squirrels. He is interested in watching our dogs from his cage, but we never let them out together. We have a baby gate separating his cage area.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Now see, I didn't realize that they had cheek pouches like a chipmunk. You mention his wheel - my little flying squirrel, Laz, takes all of his food for a run on the wheel before he eats it. He runs to the dish in the top of the cage, gets it clenched in his teeth, hops down to the wheel and runs a few miles, then stops and sits in the bottom of the wheel and eats it. I find all of his crumbs under the wheel in the morning!

    Do you know what his weight is? I am trying to mentally size him.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    I can only emphasize to not rely on a baby gate to keep your dogs away from your squirrel, as such they haven't been found to always hold up to prevent dogs from breaching them and reaching squirrels, that can have a tragic outcome.

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Diggie's Friend from:

    Nancy in New York (09-26-2019)

  13. #11
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Now see, I didn't realize that they had cheek pouches like a chipmunk. You mention his wheel - my little flying squirrel, Laz, takes all of his food for a run on the wheel before he eats it. He runs to the dish in the top of the cage, gets it clenched in his teeth, hops down to the wheel and runs a few miles, then stops and sits in the bottom of the wheel and eats it. I find all of his crumbs under the wheel in the morning!

    Do you know what his weight is? I am trying to mentally size him.
    Laz sounds cute! No idea what his weight is. He isn't very heavy. He looks a little long especially with his huge fluffy tail. Here is a photo of him by a light switch on a chair, maybe that'll help for a size reference. He runs around the furniture and likes chairs quite a bit. I have no idea how to make photos display the right way here.
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  14. #12
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggie's Friend View Post
    I can only emphasize to not rely on a baby gate to keep your dogs away from your squirrel, as such they haven't been found to always hold up to prevent dogs from breaching them and reaching squirrels, that can have a tragic outcome.
    Pipi is always in his cage in a separate area of my room when the dogs are out. A baby gate is an added device so the pups don't go close to his cage and look at him closely, it may be fine if they do but I don't want Pipi to feel uncomfortable so we don't let the dogs close to Pipi. And the pups are only there when we are home. When we are gone or outside the room door is shut, and the pups are in the other part of the house so it's fine. And when Pipi is out the pups are never, ever around him.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: My little Cali Ground Squirrel

    I hear ya; yet the one time you run out of the room not thinking it will occur, is just when it has been found to do so. Even if in the room, to consider you can control more than one frenzied pup, isn't a reasonable view to hold.

    When it comes to collapsible cages, and bird cages, and wire cages where shallow staples are used, adult dogs, especially larger breeds, can open these cages up with a few bites. Then with the squirrels let out running around, the dogs will chase them to grab them with their teeth, according to their natural predator instinct

    Dogs also can becomes jealous of your attentions to the squirrels. The dogs sniffing the squirrels isn't going to put the squirrels at ease, nor is their scent being allowed in the room either. So much can go wrong, and when it does it occurs so fast that it generally can't be stopped before tragedy occurs.

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