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Thread: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I'm not really sure where it should be. The squirrel in question is little boy, I donít think I can age him because his body is about the size of a maybe 8-10 week old but he has a magnificent tail, stocky arms, huge hands and feet. He is fully furred but has no winter coat coming in. He looks like he has the tell tale orphan fuzz but in some ways he just doesnít look like a baby to me. Weíre in central FL with nights in the mid to low 40s.

    I met him yesterday morning and he touched my hand immediately to take nuts and will let me stand with my face inches from him. He hopped on my arm twice for a brief a second, the hopped back off. Heís NOT following or clinging to me. He likes to touch me and play with my fingers but I canít initiate contact. I went out to feed 4 separate times yesterday and he came to see me every one. He was waiting for me first thing this morning as well.

    His face looks completely different that the rest of our squirrels so I know I would have noticed him had he been coming around while I was out. He almost looks mildly dwarf-ish. Huge eyes, unique high chubby cheek bones, eats haunched over versus upright 60% of the time. Is there such thing as levels of dwarfism? Fortunately he can eat - so far he has eaten an almond, pecans, walnuts, avocado, a piece of a cherry. I just went out with a small squirrel friendly salad bowl and he chose a Henryís block first and ate it over nuts. Curious.

    Do you think he's okay and just needs access to healthy food which is actually easy for me to do because he will eat right out of my hands and comes when I click so I can just hand him food. No bullying issues with this method since the other wilds do not come anywhere near me. He can climb, he hides excess nuts. He can walk the fence, but heís not fast at all. In fact SLOW would be the word I would use to describe everything about him. Heís doing generally okay at squirreling though. He responds (slightly) to the squirrel alarm and to dogs. He has ZERO fear of humans, my husband and the family behind us both approached him on the fence and he doesnít run.

    Is this a juvenile asking for help and Iím just dense/not getting it? I was under the impression they would cling to you or follow you around, heís perfectly content snacking and then going back up in his tree and watching me. We have never released here so this is not a squirrel that knows me at all. Of course the pictures are sideways smh. Obviously it's difficult to show his features in a photo, but I don't know what to do with video here. Any input highly appreciated!
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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    It does not sound like he is asking for you to bring him inside but some of this behavior could be a problem for him. Is there an chance that he was released by a rehabber (which might explain his lack of fear)?

    There are varying degrees of the "Dwarfism" syndrome from mild to severe. He does not look especially "dwarf" like to me in those photos (he is very cute). He might have taken a fall and be suffering from some mild TBI which could explain most of his behavior. I fthis is the case, it sounds like he will eventually recover and be more wild squirrel like in his behavior.

    What worries me a bit is the description of him being "Slow". Being slow and not alert to threats means he is at a higher risk of being killed by a predator or encountering a mean-hearted person.

    I have 3 juveniles (very lat fall babies) that are still living with mom in a nest box. They sound a lot like your little one. Mine look like 10-12 week old squirrels, no real winter coat, pretty lean looking. I worry about them and the upcoming winter (our winters are MUCH colder) than yours. I am giving them tons of almond treats, trying to fatten them up. I just hope they stick around so I can help provide additional food as the naturally occurring food disappears.

    I would probably watch over this little one as best as possible and provide extra treats. Perhaps stop playing with him as much, provide him with food but don't get him accustomed to be handled or touched by people. He is lucky that he has a caring person watching over him!
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    He is a juvenile, do you have any idea where he is nesting?
    I doubt he has any substantial stash out there at his age and the time of year.
    Supportive nutrition (outside nuts) I'm sure would be beneficial to him.
    The thinning hair on tail could be associated to nutrition or mites, looking at both
    tail and ear I would be concerned with mites and personally would want to treat
    him before it goes any further.
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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    It does not sound like he is asking for you to bring him inside but some of this behavior could be a problem for him. Is there an chance that he was released by a rehabber (which might explain his lack of fear)?

    There are varying degrees of the "Dwarfism" syndrome from mild to severe. He does not look especially "dwarf" like to me in those photos (he is very cute). He might have taken a fall and be suffering from some mild TBI which could explain most of his behavior. I fthis is the case, it sounds like he will eventually recover and be more wild squirrel like in his behavior.

    What worries me a bit is the description of him being "Slow". Being slow and not alert to threats means he is at a higher risk of being killed by a predator or encountering a mean-hearted person.

    I have 3 juveniles (very lat fall babies) that are still living with mom in a nest box. They sound a lot like your little one. Mine look like 10-12 week old squirrels, no real winter coat, pretty lean looking. I worry about them and the upcoming winter (our winters are MUCH colder) than yours. I am giving them tons of almond treats, trying to fatten them up. I just hope they stick around so I can help provide additional food as the naturally occurring food disappears.

    I would probably watch over this little one as best as possible and provide extra treats. Perhaps stop playing with him as much, provide him with food but don't get him accustomed to be handled or touched by people. He is lucky that he has a caring person watching over him!
    To my knowledge there are no licensed rehabbers in my city, every time we've tried to track one down it has been a complete failure and we've ended up driving to neighboring counties. However both times today I've offered him veggies and a Henry's block he takes the Henry's block. And he actually eats it. So I suppose there's slim possibly someone down the road released him and we don't know about it? The fact that he knows a HHB is food would indicate a human in his life or he has more instincts than I am giving him credit for.

    Regarding slow... he just kind of spaces out, even mid eating. He doesn't take his food and go to safety, he'll sit right on top of the fence and take 3-5 minutes to savor whatever he's eating, and stop and randomly daydream in the middle. He's completely oblivious and it worries me. Our other adjoining yard has a horrific dog who chases them when they run that side of the fence, we have a hawk family of 4 fly over way more often then I'd like. So the predators are a very real concern, and I don't even want to think about the other horrible humans.

    I definitely don't want to try to grab him if that's not what is necessary. Just to clarify I wasn't trying to play with him at all. He just has to touch and inspect my fingers before taking anything from my hand. So I am going to start going out with food in a dish I guess. I definitely don't want him touching anyone else for his own safety. I am worried about him being warm overnight and I am going to offer him a nest box to inspect. I hope he has friends even though he seems to be very bullied (of course).

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by stepnstone View Post
    He is a juvenile, do you have any idea where he is nesting?
    I doubt he has any substantial stash out there at his age and the time of year.
    Supportive nutrition (outside nuts) I'm sure would be beneficial to him.
    The thinning hair on tail could be associated to nutrition or mites, looking at both
    tail and ear I would be concerned with mites and personally would want to treat
    him before it goes any further.
    Name:  Tail & Ear.jpg
Views: 247
Size:  105.9 KB
    I do not know where he's nesting. I actually offered him a small handful of polyfil last night thinking we could follow the fluff to track him down and he wasn't interested in it. I will cut him some fleece strips. He primarily hangs out in an oak tree where one of the branches partially overhangs my backyard and if he's not down visting / eating / burying he is sitting there watching me. We have a lot of squirrel traffic, I'm sure there are several dreys in that tree, I just don't think he belongs here since he appeared out of nowhere yesterday a.m. and as of now never leaves except for dark.

    I know nuts are not good for them... supportive nutrition being Henry's guide style salads? He's taking and eating the blocks which I think is surprising.

    Talk to me about mites and treatment. I will try to get some better photos of his ear. Probably in the morning. Right now the sun sets behind where he hangs out primarily so I doubt I will be able to capture anything helpful.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenP View Post
    I know nuts are not good for them... supportive nutrition being Henry's guide style salads? He's taking and eating the blocks which I think is surprising.

    Talk to me about mites and treatment. I will try to get some better photos of his ear. Probably in the morning. Right now the sun sets behind where he hangs out primarily so I doubt I will be able to capture anything helpful.
    Wilds can pig out on them but he's a "baby" yet, if you can supplement him hhb's in addition to other
    things, that would be good for him.
    Mites can be easily treated in the wild with either Revolution or Ivermectin by lacing a nut and making
    sure they are the one who gets it. It just takes a drop or two in the crevice of pecan or walnut, or you
    could crave out a channel in whatever nut he likes to eat best and do it that way. I do almonds like that.
    Let it dry, smear a thin bit of almond or p-nut butter over the crevice and let him have at it.
    It's recommended to treat again in 10 days or as soon after 10 when you see him again.
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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenP View Post
    I do not know where he's nesting. I actually offered him a small handful of polyfil last night thinking we could follow the fluff to track him down and he wasn't interested in it. I will cut him some fleece strips. He primarily hangs out in an oak tree where one of the branches partially overhangs my backyard and if he's not down visting / eating / burying he is sitting there watching me. We have a lot of squirrel traffic, I'm sure there are several dreys in that tree, I just don't think he belongs here since he appeared out of nowhere yesterday a.m. and as of now never leaves except for dark.

    I know nuts are not good for them... supportive nutrition being Henry's guide style salads? He's taking and eating the blocks which I think is surprising.

    Talk to me about mites and treatment. I will try to get some better photos of his ear. Probably in the morning. Right now the sun sets behind where he hangs out primarily so I doubt I will be able to capture anything helpful.
    Iím not sure a wild will eat much of the ďhealthyĒ greens. My yard squirrels will eat sugar snap peas, though, and they all eat avocado (no skin or pit), fresh coconut and fresh corn dusted with calcium carbonate powder. Boo balls, and occasionally Henrys blocks, round out their diet.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    I'm still wondering just how old this baby really is and if he should even be out there at all.
    I keep looking at your first two pictures posted and he reminds me of a little I received in
    November last year. He had all the attributes of being grown but still too young to be on
    his own. He was walked right up to in the middle of a highway with cars rolling by eating
    on an apple, he was named Fugi by his finders. I overwintered him for a spring release.
    If you look at his picture you can see the similarity in the not quite grown facial structure
    between your guy and Fugi, their small paws/fingers are similar also. Your little even looks
    like he could be a bit younger.
    I have a pretty good idea on the size of the hanging bench, if you can get another picture of
    him in the bench stepping back to get the whole thing in it could give a better idea of his size.
    The one of him on the 2x4 suggests he's quite young also.

    Fugi-
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    QueenP boy -
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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    I agree that this one is young. But, keep in mind, this little guy is in Central Florida. When I had May up to the vet and she was within 2 weeks of delivering 3 babies, she weighed 428gr. Our full grown squirrels look like northeastern juvies!

    With that said, I will share my observation with May and her babies. Since she had her last litter in the release cage before we could return to see Dr. E, I know exactly when they were born. She moved them up to her nest box when I opened the portal about a week after delivery. The next time I saw them stick their heads, and bodies, out of the box they did not have floofie tails. May didn’t seem concerned. They climbed around on the box, but didn’t venture out onto the branches. Within just a few weeks, with floofie tails, they were climbing all around the top of the tree, but did not venture down the tree. Within a week after that they were going everywhere with May’s blessing.

    My point is that from my observations with May, she let her babies out far sooner than we would. I’m sure it’s because as a momma she oversees them and guides them, to a degree. This baby may be older than it seems. The friendliness of it is what is unusual and concerning. Only two of May’s babies have warmed up to me, but are still quite skittish. The friendliness of this one makes me wonder if it was raised and released nearby.

    Here’s a picture of May’s babies.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Another picture of one of her babies out and about.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by stepnstone View Post
    I'm still wondering just how old this baby really is and if he should even be out there at all.
    I keep looking at your first two pictures posted and he reminds me of a little I received in
    November last year. He had all the attributes of being grown but still too young to be on
    his own. He was walked right up to in the middle of a highway with cars rolling by eating
    on an apple, he was named Fugi by his finders. I overwintered him for a spring release.
    If you look at his picture you can see the similarity in the not quite grown facial structure
    between your guy and Fugi, their small paws/fingers are similar also. Your little even looks
    like he could be a bit younger.
    I have a pretty good idea on the size of the hanging bench, if you can get another picture of
    him in the bench stepping back to get the whole thing in it could give a better idea of his size.
    The one of him on the 2x4 suggests he's quite young also.

    Fugi-
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    QueenP boy -
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    I ordered the Ivermectin from Chris' Squirrels and I'll call to see if they can ship it today so I'll have it Sunday. I will see what I can do about getting some zoomed out pictures today or if I can screen grab from some video. He is a so small and I'm very worried about him. I'm just not one to grab an animal if I'm not positive it needs it. I definitely wouldn't mind keeping him for the winter and fattening him up. He walked up to my neighbor this morning and took a cracker from her hand which is not good. He brought me the cracker and traded it for an avocado wedge. It's just not safe for him to being accepting handouts like that, our other neighbor would probably hand him poison which is why I don't release here.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Iím not sure a wild will eat much of the ďhealthyĒ greens. My yard squirrels will eat sugar snap peas, though, and they all eat avocado (no skin or pit), fresh coconut and fresh corn dusted with calcium carbonate powder. Boo balls, and occasionally Henrys blocks, round out their diet.
    I offered him all of those things yesterday except corn, he only took the Henrys and avocado. I was surprised he didn't go for the boo ball! I'll make him another salad when I make Penny's to see if I can get him to try any other veggies.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenP View Post
    I ordered the Ivermectin from Chris' Squirrels and I'll call to see if they can ship it today so I'll have it Sunday. I will see what I can do about getting some zoomed out pictures today or if I can screen grab from some video. He is a so small and I'm very worried about him. I'm just not one to grab an animal if I'm not positive it needs it. I definitely wouldn't mind keeping him for the winter and fattening him up. He walked up to my neighbor this morning and took a cracker from her hand which is not good. He brought me the cracker and traded it for an avocado wedge. It's just not safe for him to being accepting handouts like that, our other neighbor would probably hand him poison which is why I don't release here.
    This isnít normal for them to be this friendly...unless they need help. The wild babies in my yard have never approached me. Going from human to human is a heads up for me. The baby needs help.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I agree that this one is young. But, keep in mind, this little guy is in Central Florida. When I had May up to the vet and she was within 2 weeks of delivering 3 babies, she weighed 428gr. Our full grown squirrels look like northeastern juvies!

    With that said, I will share my observation with May and her babies. Since she had her last litter in the release cage before we could return to see Dr. E, I know exactly when they were born. She moved them up to her nest box when I opened the portal about a week after delivery. The next time I saw them stick their heads, and bodies, out of the box they did not have floofie tails. May didnít seem concerned. They climbed around on the box, but didnít venture out onto the branches. Within just a few weeks, with floofie tails, they were climbing all around the top of the tree, but did not venture down the tree. Within a week after that they were going everywhere with Mayís blessing.

    My point is that from my observations with May, she let her babies out far sooner than we would. Iím sure itís because as a momma she oversees them and guides them, to a degree. This baby may be older than it seems. The friendliness of it is what is unusual and concerning. Only two of Mayís babies have warmed up to me, but are still quite skittish. The friendliness of this one makes me wonder if it was raised and released nearby.

    Hereís a picture of Mayís babies.
    I agree it would seem it knows humans and obviously not released properly to still be this trusting. It's very concerning our other neighbors are NOT friendly. With as cold as our nights have been I sure wouldn't have booted him out yet. Everyone bullies him of course, so I think he just clung to the first thing (me) who didn't charge or yell at him

    The other weird thing is he doesn't leave. He just sits up in a tree where he can see my back door and he's always there except at night. Like he doesn't have squirrel work to do, no interest in exploring, doesn't hunker down for the midday nap. I just don't know what to do. I could easily catch him but I don't know if its absolutely necessary and I don't want to do more harm than good.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    My fear too, with one so friendly, is if he approaches kids.
    We have seen/read some horror stories on the board about
    what some kids will do to animals, just for kicks.

    If this little one should accidentally bite someone, I'm sure it
    wouldn't take much to catch him and have him tested (and we KNOW how
    they test for rabies.) The only way is by examination
    of the brain tissue of a dead animal.
    Rabies is everyone's fear, even though we have never heard of a squirrel
    carrying rabies.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    I agree that in the one pic his face does look slightly dwarfish. I donít see a down side to taking him in and offering aid. Maybe he is a slow bloomer and just needs more time to grow up a little. I think we all know that Ďimmaturityí this time of year will make him vulnerable. The first hawk that sees him sitting on the fence will take advantage of his inexperience. Youíre in Central FL so the good part is that you can re-release him soon. I donít release in Jan & Feb but it would be a short overwinter here.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    So I will try to catch him either this afternoon when I get back or this weekend, I just went out to check on him and he now has a scratch above his eye and he fell off the fence at my feet being chased off the fence by the bad neighbors. I didn't realize it was him at first or I would have grabbed him while he was frozen in place.

    Few questions - In the event he has mites how long would he need to be quarantined for? We have a NR girl- QueenP (Penny) who is about to be 11 months. She is cage free and has a room, can they bunk together if he's in a cage and she's running around? Obviously he could take one of her unused cages. I could also put him in a cage on our back screened in porch if he needs be quarantined away from her. If he can't be near her for their safety would he be able to overwinter with a foster home and I can satellite watch him? I don't feel like from a feeding perspective I can't handle a second temporarily since we have spare cages and supplies (assuming he's just slow) but a lot of that hinges on hopefully allowing him to be in a squirrel friend indoor playground since I don't have another spare room.

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    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Oh wow, that sounds like a bad situation with the neighbor.

    Mites and fleas die rapidly after treatment. If you suspect mange I would certainly retreat. I know you ordered the ivermectin. I can’t dose that as I have not used it. I use Revolution.
    I don’t think being in the same room will be a problem. I wouldn’t put him in her room the first day. Wait a day or two and then move the cage in her room. I wouldn’t let them interact during out of cage time. They would probably fight and I think Penny will have fit. It is her territory you know.

    He seems friendly enough but it’s hard to tell how he will react to captivity. Try to reduce his stress by covering part of the cage and make sure he has a pouch, cube or nest box to hide in.

    Edit... I thought about that and think maybe quarantine for a week would be a good idea. I doubt there is anything wrong with him but for Penny’s safety, best practices are to quarantine. If there are no issues with him after that they can be in the same room but not same cage.

    Something else to consider is that Penny might start ‘acting out’ if she views him as an intruder.

  36. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to HRT4SQRLS:

    Nancy in New York (12-06-2019), QueenP (12-06-2019), RockyPops (12-06-2019)

  37. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    837
    Thanked: 1359

    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Oh wow, that sounds like a bad situation with the neighbor.

    Mites and fleas die rapidly after treatment. If you suspect mange I would certainly retreat. I know you ordered the ivermectin. I canít dose that as I have not used it. I use Revolution.
    I donít think being in the same room will be a problem. I wouldnít put him in her room the first day. Wait a day or two and then move the cage in her room. I wouldnít let them interact during out of cage time. They would probably fight and I think Penny will have fit. It is her territory you know.

    He seems friendly enough but itís hard to tell how he will react to captivity. Try to reduce his stress by covering part of the cage and make sure he has a pouch, cube or nest box to hide in.

    Edit... I thought about that and think maybe quarantine for a week would be a good idea. I doubt there is anything wrong with him but for Pennyís safety, best practices are to quarantine. If there are no issues with him after that they can be in the same room but not same cage.

    Something else to consider is that Penny might start Ďacting outí if she views him as an intruder.


    Coming from an inexperienced squirrel lover...

    I agree!!

    At least give you a chance to see how he tolerates captivity and to keep him safe in the meantime.

    Thanks for helping him! He is so adorable!

  38. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to RockyPops:

    Nancy in New York (12-06-2019), QueenP (12-06-2019)

  39. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    44
    Thanked: 106

    Default Re: How do you judge when a wild is asking for help?

    I have him. Iím such a dummy we also have a release cage. Is he okay in it for the night so I can steal Penelopeís spare cage tomorrow when she is distracted or does he need to be inside? I didnít expect to get him that easily and I was unprepared. He will easily chew through the cat carrier he is in so thatís obviously very temporary. Temp tonight is 48 for the lows.

  40. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to QueenP:

    HRT4SQRLS (12-06-2019), Nancy in New York (12-10-2019)

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