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Thread: Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Silver Spring, MD
    Thanked: 2

    Default Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

    We have been feeding nuts to local squirrels for about 2 years now, and have several which have become surprisingly tame. They even seem to respond to my wife's calling them by names she gave to certain ones. So it has been with great disappointment and concern to have noticed, in the past 2 weeks, a fairly rapid disappearance of ALL the ones that were previously coming to be fed. We have considered various explanations, including the natural ones, such as (1) too many hawks in the area, or (2) they're busy with reproduction and baby-tending; and the more disturbing ones such as (3) they're getting a fatal viral disease, or (4) someone is trapping them, or (5) poisoning them.

    Here one observation which, although it may be an isolated case, makes us worry about the disease or poisoning explanations. Last weekend we observed a squirrel sitting at the base of one of their usual large trees, and acting unresponsive. Later we saw one perched on the tree trunk farther up, but also acting uncharacteristically unresponsive. I watched with binoculars and saw the squirrel's eyes only partially open, sometimes closing, and just looking very drowsy. This all seemed very abnormal, as squirrels are usually the epitome of alertness when they're up and about.

    Another observation which may not be related, but is suspicious: Birds that used to come for seeds seemed to have disappeared also. We had blue jays, cardinals, doves, and others, and we didn't favor birds or squirrels over each other, we fed both.

    How should we interpret all this? It is very saddening, because we really loved seeing them every day.

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

    RockyPops (03-10-2020)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    North Alabama
    Thanked: 1757

    Default Re: Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

    Probably need to observe and gather more info. Not entirely out of the question for a squirrel to be taking a siesta splatted out on a limb. Especially if the weather has recently improved.

    It could be that an early growth food source has become available so they are feeding on new diet that's out of your immediate area. Tree buds etc.

    The only thing of concern to me is the one being lethargic at the base of a tree. If they're on the ground they're usually alert.

    See if the weird acting ones will let you approach closer than normal. And keep observing.

    Keep us informed!

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    frankc (03-10-2020)

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thanked: 6132

    Default Re: Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

    Flattening out on a limb in the sun and snoozing is pretty common. Also, this is baby season - they are no being born, and if you have been feeding female squirrels, there is a period of time when they really don't leave the nest much - they have stashed chow close so they don't have to leave their super young babies without warmth. Hopefully you will see them come back slowly as they feel confident leaving the nest again.

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    frankc (03-10-2020), RockyPops (03-10-2020)

  7. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Cumming, GA
    Thanked: 1037

    Default Re: Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

    You are in Maryland. The females just gave birth to their babies.

    Since males are mostly nomadic, they are about 90% of road fatalities. My the time they reach sexual maturity this means that 70-80% of squirrels are female. So when baby season starts the squirrels all disappear for a month.

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    frankc (03-10-2020), RockyPops (03-10-2020)

  9. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    The Cradle of Liberty
    Thanked: 1165

    Default Re: Why have our neighborhood squirrels suddenly disappeared?

    My squirrels all just disappeared and they are all male. The king of the tree seems to be rearranging his clan and all I can do is wait and see what he's planning. We seem to have many more males here than females. They do move around, though, through a territory which I have read could have a 5 mile diameter. Your exact buddies may not be back,but you will soon have more visitors. Then again, I had some stick with me for several years.
    We live in a heaven created by our virtues --- Muktananda

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    RockyPops (03-11-2020)

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