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Thread: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

  1. #1
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    Default Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Hello,

    So by now I've realized by raising my first singleton I've got a huge issue on my hands. He's imprinted on me and while he is foraging and building nests and perfectly fine exploring on his own, the area we are in doesn't seem to have too many wild squirrels he could have interacted with. He came to me with eyes closed and barely any fur showing.

    He's been raised on FoxValley squirrel formula and then Henry's Hi-protein blocks, mostly mixed fresh veggies , some nuts , and the occasional fruit for treats. So he's healthy. Just not so socially healthy.

    He's also my first fall born baby. I've got him used to the outdoors in his enclosure and after 2 weeks he has moved into a large oak tree and sleeps there on his own after I saw him building his own nest in a cavity. But most squirrels in fall overwinter with the parents/siblings and he has none. I am also planning to feed him all winter since he doesnt have any reserves/stashes built up.

    I know I've screwed up and for that I feel incredibly guilty. But I am committed to making sure this baby has the best life he possibly can.

    His contact with other people is minimum if any but we do live in a dead end residential area. I worry he's not going to be fit for release on his own or that the other wild squirrels may reject him when he finds them. I've not been able to see any coming by but he's very alert and will hide from strangers or if he hears birds warning or sees any flying by.

    I'm looking for advice. Would it be better for him if I just built him a safe enclosure and kept him as more of a pet? Or would it be possible to introduce him to other squirrels slowly somehow for a wild release? Whatever the case I just want him to live a healthy happy life.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Most if not all of the squirrels that folks here release, are imprinted to their caretaker human. Sometimes, babies are overwintered when they need extra time or it is too late in the season to release. But these squirrels do wild up and are just fine in the wild. Your fellow might always remain friendly towards you but he will wild up as he spends time outdoors. We normally do not release until a squirrel is 14 weeks old, 12 weeks is a bit young. You might try getting him back into his release cage and giving him an extra 2 weeks? If this is not possible, just try to help provide some food when possible but he should be able to forage on his own as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by FoxLogic View Post
    Hello,

    So by now I've realized by raising my first singleton I've got a huge issue on my hands. He's imprinted on me and while he is foraging and building nests and perfectly fine exploring on his own, the area we are in doesn't seem to have too many wild squirrels he could have interacted with. He came to me with eyes closed and barely any fur showing.

    He's been raised on FoxValley squirrel formula and then Henry's Hi-protein blocks, mostly mixed fresh veggies , some nuts , and the occasional fruit for treats. So he's healthy. Just not so socially healthy.

    He's also my first fall born baby. I've got him used to the outdoors in his enclosure and after 2 weeks he has moved into a large oak tree and sleeps there on his own after I saw him building his own nest in a cavity. But most squirrels in fall overwinter with the parents/siblings and he has none. I am also planning to feed him all winter since he doesnt have any reserves/stashes built up.

    I know I've screwed up and for that I feel incredibly guilty. But I am committed to making sure this baby has the best life he possibly can.

    His contact with other people is minimum if any but we do live in a dead end residential area. I worry he's not going to be fit for release on his own or that the other wild squirrels may reject him when he finds them. I've not been able to see any coming by but he's very alert and will hide from strangers or if he hears birds warning or sees any flying by.

    I'm looking for advice. Would it be better for him if I just built him a safe enclosure and kept him as more of a pet? Or would it be possible to introduce him to other squirrels slowly somehow for a wild release? Whatever the case I just want him to live a healthy happy life.
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    See the sisters Pip and Nip!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-(Pip-and-Nip)!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    He does appear to be wilding up a bit as he goes. Ive got his release cage next to his tree but he hardly spends any time there. We were doing the introductions to being outside with the doors open and he just decided to make his permanant home in the tree instead. I will see how much of an additude he gives me trying to get him to stay in the cage for a bit longer.

    What do you think of him being a singleton in the winter though? Will he be ok on his own without anyone to share body heat with?

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    Most if not all of the squirrels that folks here release, are imprinted to their caretaker human. Sometimes, babies are overwintered when they need extra time or it is too late in the season to release. But these squirrels do wild up and are just fine in the wild. Your fellow might always remain friendly towards you but he will wild up as he spends time outdoors. We normally do not release until a squirrel is 14 weeks old, 12 weeks is a bit young. You might try getting him back into his release cage and giving him an extra 2 weeks? If this is not possible, just try to help provide some food when possible but he should be able to forage on his own as well.

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    What state are you in? Hard winters etc.?

    You may want to try to overwinter him indoors.

    He'd be about 8 to 10 months old next spring and a much better chance of survival.

    He'd have all winter off and on to get aquainted with the wild squirrels if you could put him in his release cage on nice days. When all leaves are off trees this fall, he has less hiding places.

    Thanks for rescuing this baby. And pics would be nice!

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxLogic View Post
    He does appear to be wilding up a bit as he goes. Ive got his release cage next to his tree but he hardly spends any time there. We were doing the introductions to being outside with the doors open and he just decided to make his permanant home in the tree instead. I will see how much of an additude he gives me trying to get him to stay in the cage for a bit longer.

    What do you think of him being a singleton in the winter though? Will he be ok on his own without anyone to share body heat with?
    Sounds like he is already released? Is his ‘tree’ in an enclosure? I don’t understand your posts.
    redwuff
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    We are in North Carolina. I'm not sure how harsh our winters are comparatively, but they usually do not get bad until January to February.
    I think I would feel much better having him overwinter indoors and putting him out on nice days as well. That would at least help me not feel as anxious and worried for him and it would give him more time. I could hang bird feeders nearby and see if I could attract any wild ones to his cage as well.

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    Here are some photos of my baby. I call him Chopsticks.

    Quote Originally Posted by RockyPops View Post
    What state are you in? Hard winters etc.?

    You may want to try to overwinter him indoors.

    He'd be about 8 to 10 months old next spring and a much better chance of survival.

    He'd have all winter off and on to get aquainted with the wild squirrels if you could put him in his release cage on nice days. When all leaves are off trees this fall, he has less hiding places.

    Thanks for rescuing this baby. And pics would be nice!

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    No he is 'released' and exploring on his own right now. I feed him every morning and see him every morning. His release cage is next to the tree. But given he is a singleton and a fall baby, I wanted to know about his chances over the winter and also his odds being imprinted and me not having confirmed his interaction with any wild ones in our area yet.

    I've read that they can get rejected and that fall babies usually overwinter with their parents and siblings. As mine does not have that I was concerned for his odds and what I should do overall to make sure he survives.

    Quote Originally Posted by redwuff View Post
    Sounds like he is already released? Is his ‘tree’ in an enclosure? I don’t understand your posts.

  12. #8
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxLogic View Post
    No he is 'released' and exploring on his own right now. I feed him every morning and see him every morning. His release cage is next to the tree. But given he is a singleton and a fall baby, I wanted to know about his chances over the winter and also his odds being imprinted and me not having confirmed his interaction with any wild ones in our area yet.

    I've read that they can get rejected and that fall babies usually overwinter with their parents and siblings. As mine does not have that I was concerned for his odds and what I should do overall to make sure he survives.
    12 weeks is too young to be released.
    Most everyone releases at a minimum of 16 weeks.
    With a fall singleton, it's even worse. They never
    had a mom or siblings to help them learn.
    If he encounters another squirrel in your area, he
    will have a rude awakening. He's still small, and "dumb",
    they all are at this age.
    I have overwintered many squirrels and the difference
    come spring is astounding.
    They are more fearful, smarter, more alert, larger, stronger
    and overall have a much greater chance of survival than at this age.

    Your little one is precious, but if he were mine, he wouldn't be allowed
    to explore, (even though I'm sure he loves it) at this age.

    A very wise rehabber, Barbara Bellens-Picon, told me years ago,
    that if don't overwinter fall babies, you are just raising hawk food.

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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Ok thank you very much for the input. After reading a few of these very helpful comments I will return him to his enclosure asap and overwinter him to give him the best chance of survival. As well as try to attract some wild squirrels to the area and get him introduced safely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy in New York View Post
    12 weeks is too young to be released.
    Most everyone releases at a minimum of 16 weeks.
    With a fall singleton, it's even worse. They never
    had a mom or siblings to help them learn.
    If he encounters another squirrel in your area, he
    will have a rude awakening. He's still small, and "dumb",
    they all are at this age.
    I have overwintered many squirrels and the difference
    come spring is astounding.
    They are more fearful, smarter, more alert, larger, stronger
    and overall have a much greater chance of survival than at this age.

    Your little one is precious, but if he were mine, he wouldn't be allowed
    to explore, (even though I'm sure he loves it) at this age.

    A very wise rehabber, Barbara Bellens-Picon, told me years ago,
    that if don't overwinter fall babies, you are just raising hawk food.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    The problem with trying to attract other squirrels would be that your little one
    is competition and an intruder to THEIR territory, so I wouldn't attract them. He will encounter them soon
    enough when released.
    I had a squirrel once that I overwintered and like you, I thought it was
    better to have other squirrels around.
    A very wise lady, island rehabber (owner of this board) was visiting, and she told me to stop
    feeding the squirrels as Fluffer is competition when released and they will not accept
    an interloper on their territory.
    This is Fluffer his first week of release. He came home with a broken leg.

    ISLAND REHABBER WAS RIGHT.



    This was his rerelease about 2 weeks after his broken leg. A dominant female nailed him.
    Poor baby.


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  18. #11
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    Default Re: Imprinted singleton 12 weeks old

    Oh my poor baby! Ok I won't try to attract any then. Thanks for the tip!
    Would mine not just run into these problems at a later date as well? What should I do so he doesnt get wounded or rejected like this? As he is a singleton as hasnt had contact with other squirrels?


    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy in New York View Post
    The problem with trying to attract other squirrels would be that your little one
    is competition and an intruder to THEIR territory, so I wouldn't attract them. He will encounter them soon
    enough when released.
    I had a squirrel once that I overwintered and like you, I thought it was
    better to have other squirrels around.
    A very wise lady, island rehabber (owner of this board) was visiting, and she told me to stop
    feeding the squirrels as Fluffer is competition when released and they will not accept
    an interloper on their territory.
    This is Fluffer his first week of release. He came home with a broken leg.

    ISLAND REHABBER WAS RIGHT.



    This was his rerelease about 2 weeks after his broken leg. A dominant female nailed him.
    Poor baby.


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