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Thread: Can my boy be released?

  1. #1
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    Default Can my boy be released?

    Hi guys, I've got about a 7 week old male grey squirrel that I've had since he was only a day or two old. It's just him and me. I want to know if he is 'releasable.' He hasn't been around other squirrels, and he's been around my family. He's only comfortable around me, not so much them but being that close to people worries me. Also that he hasn't had any relations with any other squirrels that he wouldn't survive in the wild. Its also winter, which couldn't be a worse time it feels like to release a baby in the next couple months. I want him to be a squirrel and get a squirrel life in the wild if he can, but if not, I'm 100% up for giving him a good safe home where he will be spoiled and loved and up for all high maintenance he requires. What are your thoughts?

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    RockyPops (11-20-2019)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Hi
    No. He is no were ready to be released yet. He is too young and has not gained any survival skills yet. Have you been using the pre release protocol with him such as a pre- release cage outside ect?. If not that has to be done before he could ever be released. Yes your right, winter is the toughest time for squirrels even those that have never been in captivity. Frankly he would not survive releasing him now. The time to release a squirrel would now be in the spring when it is warmer, he can hone his skills such as forging, building a nest ect; This is why pre release protocol is so important and is a must do. Also your right since he has become used to humans he just might not be releasable. If your not sure how to start getting him ready for release let us know and I am sure you will get all the help you will need right here. This board has some of the best people around with so much knowledge and I know will guide you step by step.

    Even after pre-release he still may not be releasable, but if that turns out to be the case you have gained one incredible little baby to love and care for. Just let the board know what help you need and I a sure you will get it !
    Good Luck and thank you for caring for this precious baby
    Squirrels Do Matter

    If you Were Lucky Enough To Have Loved and Taken Care Of A Squirrel Then
    You Showed Him Or Her More Love Than They Would Have Ever Known In The Wild
    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    Member Of WRAM ( Wildlife Rehabbers association Massachusetts)

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Quote Originally Posted by cass_ran View Post
    What are your thoughts?
    My thoughts:
    Yes he is releasable provided the proper release protocols are followed. This requires a"soft release" in which he will spend weeks outdoors in a large release cage, limited human contact and this allows him to wild up as well as observe other squirrels and other wildlife.

    I'll let the FL folks confirm, but I believe they release through the winter except maybe in the most northern parts of FL? I am still releasing at this point (through the first week of Dec). I am in the South, but maybe not the deep south... certainly not Florida. I overwinter squirrels outdoors in the release cage and find this is a much better option than overwintering indoors in small cages (which some of my crew will have to endure... the outdoor ones are the lucky ones IMO).

    Squirrels, specifically healthy squirrels, do not make good pets. Rarely will they tolerate more than one person.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Your boy is 7 weeks right now? Correct? I wouldnít consider releasing him until 16+ weeks which would be in January. Considering the fact that you live in the northern part of the state where temperatures are cooler, and you live inland, I would not release in January. I think you should keep him until March/April time frame when temperatures have warmed. There will also be some coverage on the trees by then and your little guy, being older and a singleton, will have a MUCH greater chance of survival.

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    RockyPops (11-21-2019)

  9. #5
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Being a spoiled singleton doesnít rule out release when he is older. I have released several singletons and they do fine. In FL some rehabbers release year round. I donít. I am in Central FL. I donít release in Jan or Feb. We have some really cold days in those months so I prefer to hold them. I know the northerners are laughing when I say that. I have released in March. It might still be cool but most of the colder weather is passed and the trees start budding out. Itís hard to predict the weather in FL. Some years we have almost NO winter at all with just a few cool days. Other years we have some bitter cold day so I just prefer to wait until closer to spring.

    I always cringe when I hear northerners talking about April and May releases because it stays very cold for SO long. Talk about a long winter overwintering squirrels! Now THAT is a long winter.

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  11. #6
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Your boy is 7 weeks right now? Correct?
    I agree he is too young to release right now, I was only addressing the question about his having been interacting with people and no interaction with other squirrels. Definitely needs to be a few months older before considering release!

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    Thank you everyone for the advice!

    I don't think I was clear however, I certainly will not be releasing him anytime soon, as he's too young and its too cold, as I am in the northern most part of FL, and its only a high of 50s today. I was just wondering with being raised alone without other squirrels, and the human contact hes currently getting with me is he in the future time would be able to be released. I just want him to have a good life w/ all the other squirrels, and if not well then I'm happy to give him a home and keep him happy and safe!

    I have read the pre-release protocal, but even that seems too difficult to follow right now, as it would be that I keep him outside in the pre-release cage very soon, and its too cold to do that right now, so what steps should I be doing with I'm at 7/8 weeks currently, if I wont be releasing him until March? (if he can be released)

    Again, thank you so much for all your advice!! I'll post a pic!

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    Nancy in New York (11-25-2019)

  15. #8
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    Default Re: Can my boy be released?

    I think most folks keep their rehab squirrels in a cage inside the house or facility till transferring to the outside release cage at about 14 weeks old. For your little guy he will be much older when he’s able to go to the RC and that’s fine. Older squirrels do much better when released. I have a large release cage and have kept mine in there for 2-3 weeks before releasing at 16-18 weeks. Others only keep them in the RC for a week before release.

    So, you will want a nice sized cage for your little guy to learn to climb and jump in, if you don’t have one already. Many folks use either double or single Critter Nation cages. Hang a fleece cube and wooden bird toys, provide fresh oak or maple branches and maybe a larger limb secured to the cage for him to climb. Allow some out of cage time daily till he’s older and the weather is warm enough for him to go to the release cage. I bought an inexpensive 70” cat tree on the internet. Squirrels love to race on it and jump from it during out of cage time.

    Most squirrels will wild up when they’re transferred to the release cage and interaction is limited, so you don’t have to limit your interaction while he’s inside over the winter. And those that may remain friendly will usually change their tune when they’ve been released for awhile.

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    RockyPops (11-25-2019)

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