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Thread: Nasty biting, is this normal

  1. #1
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    Default Nasty biting, is this normal

    Hello all,
    I have a 1 yr old, fixed, male squirrel named Parkour whom Iíve raised since his early, early infancy.
    Iíve heard of ďwilding up,Ē I know how squirrels play, and (Iím new but) Iíve seen post on here about biting. But the thing is, sometimes he bites hard. Itís an angry biting almost as if I had hurt him or startled him. Today, he jumped into my hands as he always does, let me quietly stroke and scratch him, then he snapped and bit my hand. Thereís a was a distinct crunch (ya know, when it breaks skin) and thisíll be the second, maybe third, time he nailed a vein.
    I really just want to know if this is common, part of the squirrel-owner experience, or if this can be avoided.
    Also, heís been to the vet and heís in perfect health, not even overweight, so I donít believe thereís an ailment thatís irritating him.

    Tl;dr Pet squirrel with good health bites hard enough to break skin, all to often. Is it ďnormal?Ē

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    to TheSquirrelBoard HardcoreParkour

    Unfortunately, some squirrels do bite... and they bite HARD! It is often one of the big problems with having a ‘pet’ squirrel. All squirrels are different. Some will never bite and others do. It’s just part of being a squirrel. It’s difficult or impossible to retrain a biter. Squirrels don’t accept discipline like a dog would. It would actually make him more angry and more aggressive. No one wants to be on the receiving end of an angry, aggressive squirrel as you have already found out.

    There are a few things that can initiate aggression in a squirrel. Make sure he isn’t protecting a stash of cherished nuts. A squirrel with a stash to protect can be very aggressive. Another issue is your smell. They will get very agitated if you don’t smell right. You never want to try to cuddle your squirrel after taking a shower. It makes them crazy and can cause an unprovoked attack. New soap, perfume, hair spray or basically anything that makes you smell different confuses them. It can also cause them to bite. I would avoid petting him on the back. I’m not sure what that’s about but I had a friendly release that would ALWAYS bite me if I tried to stroke her back. If I tried to ‘sneak’ a pet, I got bit every time.

    It’s one of the reasons we discourage people from keeping them as pets. Frankly, they just don’t make great pets. Of course, we recognize that some do make that choice and we try to give support in any way that we can. One thing we always like to go over is the importance of the diet. Can you give us an idea of the diet? By far, the diet is the most important part of maintaining their health.

    Again, welcome to The Squirrel Board.

    PS...love the name.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Has anything changed for you since this post?? Iím trying to get an understanding. My almost 3 year old girl just started to attack the hell out of me for the last month. She bites me anytime I try to interact with her and now Iím just afraid of her. She doesnít have a stash, sheís just being mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by HardcoreParkour View Post
    Hello all,
    I have a 1 yr old, fixed, male squirrel named Parkour whom Iíve raised since his early, early infancy.
    Iíve heard of ďwilding up,Ē I know how squirrels play, and (Iím new but) Iíve seen post on here about biting. But the thing is, sometimes he bites hard. Itís an angry biting almost as if I had hurt him or startled him. Today, he jumped into my hands as he always does, let me quietly stroke and scratch him, then he snapped and bit my hand. Thereís a was a distinct crunch (ya know, when it breaks skin) and thisíll be the second, maybe third, time he nailed a vein.
    I really just want to know if this is common, part of the squirrel-owner experience, or if this can be avoided.
    Also, heís been to the vet and heís in perfect health, not even overweight, so I donít believe thereís an ailment thatís irritating him.

    Tl;dr Pet squirrel with good health bites hard enough to break skin, all to often. Is it ďnormal?Ē

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    I am having this issue as well. It's a young male, approximately 8-12 weeks. Not sure, I've had him about a month. He fell out of the nest from a pine tree best we can tell. Eyes open and active when found. No Injuries but it was right at dark so ....... Anyway plan is to release in spring but may have to do it sooner. Fortunately we live in a very mild climate. He was so sweet and loved to be with me and snuggled in my shirt. Suddenly and without any warning he bit me hard, blood everywhere. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I thought maybe something out of the corner of his eye startled him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Three days later he did it again as I was putting fresh water in his cage. This time it was on my knuckle and you want to talk about "crunch" , it did , really hurt bad, swelled up like it was broken but not. That was a couple of weeks ago. Today I gave him some goodies and some acorns and as I was putting his water bottle back he jumped on my hand, dropped his acorn and it the end of my thumb, more blood dripping everywhere. I understand completely that he's a wild animal and we have no plans to keep as a pet. I just wanted to wait till spring since it was so late in the year. Since he has bitten me 5 times now, drawing a lot of blood each time, is it likely to change or not? It breaks my heart that he's biting me, but I want to do what's best for him. As I said we live in a mild climate, just a little north of Houston Texas. If I released him now with shelter and supplemental food would he be ok. I have three fairly large oak trees close enough together he could run from one to the other and never hit the ground. I was going to put his "house" in the middle tree and give him food and water to get him through winter. Any and all suggestions and info GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!! Oh...... And yes he has a name, not very original but..... Peanut , my husband's idea🥴🤣🤣

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Word of caution to the wise: never, ever get your hand close to a squirrel while he's holding food or eating. Also, my NR males every year from around now to the end of January are much more temperamental and edgy. Not so sure what I can attribute it to other than being in estus - their package starts to swell and the moodiness matches.
    "In the midst of our lives we must find the magic that makes our souls soar."
    My sweet Scooter, my darling Hami, my dear gentle Simon... YOU are the ones who brought that magic in my life. You've changed the way I see all things around me now and, because of you, I want to be a better person. This is not goodbye, my sweethearts. You be at peace, your work here on earth is done now and you can enjoy your freedom. We'll meet at the Bridge again some day. I will always love you.
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooterzmom View Post
    Word of caution to the wise: never, ever get your hand close to a squirrel while he's holding food or eating. Also, my NR males every year from around now to the end of January are much more temperamental and edgy. Not so sure what I can attribute it to other than being in estus - their package starts to swell and the moodiness matches.
    One of these guys is fixed and one is a girl.

    Haven't we seen this sometimes when people change toiletries or perfumes? Shampoo, conditioner, skin cream, ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU SMELL DIFFERENT! Likewise petting or handling other animals can provoke jealousy, and male squirrels do not like the smell of other males of whatever species.

    Then, stashes are another trigger.
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    My squirrel,Squirrelagirl (4 month old female eastern grey) bites me daily but never maliciously. Sheís very playful and her favorite ways to play are to be chased, be flipped on her back and wrestled(only by someone she trusts), and for me to give her peices of food for her to eat and hide. Sometimes she gets excited and starts to bite too hard and I say , ďEasy, Squirrelagirl, EasyĒ calmly but seriously and stern. usually she becomes gentle instantly but Iíve been training her since she was a baby. If sheís really worked up and continues to bite hard I stop playing with her and only resume once sheís gentle. Sheís very demanding and if I donít pay her enough attention by her standards sheíll bite hard to get my attention or tear up my cigarettes or do something else distructive or painful, like run across my face with her claws. In these cases the only way I can get her to stop is to leave the room or give into her

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby momma View Post
    I am having this issue as well. It's a young male, approximately 8-12 weeks. Not sure, I've had him about a month. He fell out of the nest from a pine tree best we can tell. Eyes open and active when found. No Injuries but it was right at dark so ....... Anyway plan is to release in spring but may have to do it sooner. Fortunately we live in a very mild climate. He was so sweet and loved to be with me and snuggled in my shirt. Suddenly and without any warning he bit me hard, blood everywhere. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I thought maybe something out of the corner of his eye startled him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Three days later he did it again as I was putting fresh water in his cage. This time it was on my knuckle and you want to talk about "crunch" , it did , really hurt bad, swelled up like it was broken but not. That was a couple of weeks ago. Today I gave him some goodies and some acorns and as I was putting his water bottle back he jumped on my hand, dropped his acorn and it the end of my thumb, more blood dripping everywhere. I understand completely that he's a wild animal and we have no plans to keep as a pet. I just wanted to wait till spring since it was so late in the year. Since he has bitten me 5 times now, drawing a lot of blood each time, is it likely to change or not? It breaks my heart that he's biting me, but I want to do what's best for him. As I said we live in a mild climate, just a little north of Houston Texas. If I released him now with shelter and supplemental food would he be ok. I have three fairly large oak trees close enough together he could run from one to the other and never hit the ground. I was going to put his "house" in the middle tree and give him food and water to get him through winter. Any and all suggestions and info GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!! Oh...... And yes he has a name, not very original but..... Peanut , my husband's idea🥴🤣🤣
    How old is this little guy right now? I understand your situation, but if heís less than 16 weeks old I wouldnít release him...especially because heís a singleton and itís almost winter. At about 14 weeks he should go to an outdoor cage where he can get used to the sounds and smells of nature. When heís 16 weeks he can be released, but if you live in an area that gets cold, itís best to wait until Spring. There is no guarantee he will stay in your yard when released. A young, single squirrel released in winter with no nut cache or established home is a recipe for disaster.

    Try moving his water bottle to the outside of his cage so you donít have to reach your hand inside his cage. Consider putting his food in his cage while heís still asleep early in the morning or very late at night. If you limit the number of times you have to make contact with him you might be able to make it till spring. Sometimes if theyíre older when found they are more cautious and aggressive.

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby momma View Post
    I am having this issue as well. It's a young male, approximately 8-12 weeks. Not sure, I've had him about a month. He fell out of the nest from a pine tree best we can tell. Eyes open and active when found. No Injuries but it was right at dark so ....... Anyway plan is to release in spring but may have to do it sooner. Fortunately we live in a very mild climate. He was so sweet and loved to be with me and snuggled in my shirt. Suddenly and without any warning he bit me hard, blood everywhere. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I thought maybe something out of the corner of his eye startled him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Three days later he did it again as I was putting fresh water in his cage. This time it was on my knuckle and you want to talk about "crunch" , it did , really hurt bad, swelled up like it was broken but not. That was a couple of weeks ago. Today I gave him some goodies and some acorns and as I was putting his water bottle back he jumped on my hand, dropped his acorn and it the end of my thumb, more blood dripping everywhere. I understand completely that he's a wild animal and we have no plans to keep as a pet. I just wanted to wait till spring since it was so late in the year. Since he has bitten me 5 times now, drawing a lot of blood each time, is it likely to change or not? It breaks my heart that he's biting me, but I want to do what's best for him. As I said we live in a mild climate, just a little north of Houston Texas. If I released him now with shelter and supplemental food would he be ok. I have three fairly large oak trees close enough together he could run from one to the other and never hit the ground. I was going to put his "house" in the middle tree and give him food and water to get him through winter. Any and all suggestions and info GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!! Oh...... And yes he has a name, not very original but..... Peanut , my husband's idea🥴🤣🤣
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    How old is this little guy right now? I understand your situation, but if heís less than 16 weeks old I wouldnít release him...especially because heís a singleton and itís almost winter. At about 14 weeks he should go to an outdoor cage where he can get used to the sounds and smells of nature. When heís 16 weeks he can be released, but if you live in an area that gets cold, itís best to wait until Spring. There is no guarantee he will stay in your yard when released. A young, single squirrel released in winter with no nut cache or established home is a recipe for disaster.

    Try moving his water bottle to the outside of his cage so you donít have to reach your hand inside his cage. Consider putting his food in his cage while heís still asleep early in the morning or very late at night. If you limit the number of times you have to make contact with him you might be able to make it till spring. Sometimes if theyíre older when found they are more cautious and aggressive.
    Hi Mel, my best guess is he's probably old enough. We are building him a house to put in the tree for him and I would provide food and water. The house will be made of cedar , is that ok !?? I'm going to put it in his cage so he can get used to it and "claim" it as his own. Besides natural things, leaves etc, what can I give him to make his best. I know nothing that he can catch his claws on and injure himself. The time before yesterday that he bit me so hard, I didn't spend any time with him other than to feed him and make sure he has fresh water. After a few days he was pouting I think. He would come up to me and lay his head against the cage so I would pet him. It's heartbreaking to not love and cuddle with him. He's begging me to let him out again and play with him. I'm sitting here crying like a baby just thinking about how he looked at me. Like I was abandoning him. It's horrible but the bites are really bad and extremely painful. He play bites all the time but then he goes to bone. My hands are very thin and boney with the veins and arteries at the surface. I want nothing more than to open his cage and let him run all over me so can love on him and cuddle with him. The bottom line is I want to do whatever is best for him and if that means keeping him locked up till spring then that what I do, but the betrayed look in his eyes and laying his head against the cage is a killer

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Hi. Just a suggestion if your not ready to give up on him. Can you get a pair of rehabber gloves ? if not a pair of welders gloves will work. I am not sure how he will react to the gloves but at least you will not get bit. I would use them for a while and see if he settles down. If he stops trying to bite, then I would hold my breath and try it again without the gloves ??? Your story is sad and I am sure he is feeling it. He just dose not understand what is going on. Let us know how you make out. I feel so bad for you both.
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by frankc View Post
    Hi. Just a suggestion if your not ready to give up on him. Can you get a pair of rehabber gloves ? if not a pair of welders gloves will work. I am not sure how he will react to the gloves but at least you will not get bit. I would use them for a while and see if he settles down. If he stops trying to bite, then I would hold my breath and try it again without the gloves ??? Your story is sad and I am sure he is feeling it. He just dose not understand what is going on. Let us know how you make out. I feel so bad for you both.
    Thank you so much for your reply. I have gloves and welder gloves. I'm willing to try anything . I may be mistaken but I don't believe his biting is malicious. There isn't any of what I would call aggressive behavior. I'm working on his "house" so he can get used to it and "claim" it before it's time to move outside. This site has been my saving grace. I've been a sucker my whole life for animals of all kinds and have recued and cared for many over the years. Thank you so so much for the advice. It is very much appreciated. Peanut is my first squirrel and while I know they live their lives in the trees, I have always enjoyed watching their antics. I'm hoping after all is said and done with he will remember me and maybe visit from time to time. Thank you again !!!! God bless!!

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby momma View Post
    The house will be made of cedar, is that ok !??
    Best to avoid cedar as it can cause respiratory irritation...

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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    Best to avoid cedar as it can cause respiratory irritation...
    This is true for all rodents -- whether it's their house or their bedding, 'aromatic' woods are NOT healthy for them. We have used plain white pine (sold for shelving at Home Depot) for our nest boxes; they have no aroma at all.
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    Default Re: Nasty biting, is this normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrelagirl View Post
    My squirrel,Squirrelagirl (4 month old female eastern grey) bites me daily but never maliciously. Sheís very playful and her favorite ways to play are to be chased, be flipped on her back and wrestled(only by someone she trusts), and for me to give her peices of food for her to eat and hide. Sometimes she gets excited and starts to bite too hard and I say , ďEasy, Squirrelagirl, EasyĒ calmly but seriously and stern. usually she becomes gentle instantly but Iíve been training her since she was a baby. If sheís really worked up and continues to bite hard I stop playing with her and only resume once sheís gentle. Sheís very demanding and if I donít pay her enough attention by her standards sheíll bite hard to get my attention or tear up my cigarettes or do something else distructive or painful, like run across my face with her claws. In these cases the only way I can get her to stop is to leave the room or give into her
    This describes my 5 month old Zeb to a T!!! She latches on and has me twirl her on her back all the while biting my hand. Granted itís prolly harder than a normal bite because she gets so excited but she doesnít break skin, her nails are the culprit for all my scratches lol!!

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