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Thread: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

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    Default Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    I have a previous post that talks about all my releases from 2012 and then Holly in July 2017. In July 2017, I released a female squirrel named Holly in my release cage for a friend that lived in the city. Holly was born in February of 2017. She is kind of a mean squirrel, but she has bonded with me and she has never really went very far from our home. I shouldn't say she is mean, but kinda bitchy . She is destructive, although she is a bit better, she totally destroyed the release cage . She has now made her nest in the log my husband made that is in the release cage - I don't lock up the release cage so all squirrels are able to come and go as they please.
    She had her first litter in February of 2018. She had five babies! Which I thought was a lot, especially for her first litter. All the babies were born without ears, or partial ears. She nested in our wood pile by the house, so they all lived in there until they got older. Two of them had no ears, two of them had only one ear and then one had both ears, but very small. These photos were taken in May of 2018.

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    She had babies each season, but never as many as she did for her first litter. Her ears are totally fine, here is a photo of Holly. These were taken in Nov 2019.

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    This year, I only saw two babies. Not sure when they were born, but they have become friendly with me so they are around the home a lot. Here are some recent photos of one of them.

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    Other than the weird thing about their ears, they appear perfectly fine and healthy. I just find this so strange that every litter Holly has have no ears or partial ears. Has anyone ever seen anything like this before? Any ideas of why this is?

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Pictures are great! Wow, too weird! Next time I see my vet I will see what he has to say. Thanks for sharing.
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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Thanks Redwuff.

    Well, the two of the little guys were at my window playing so nicely, but of course when I went out to take their photo, they weren't as cooperative. Here is a couple of photos of both of them together.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    They are beautiful squirrels even with...
    I would suspect a chromosome abnormality.
    Do they appear to hear and react to sound ok?

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    I was going to ask the same question about hearing. If you throw a nut behind them without them seeing, do they respond to the sound?

    Have you noticed a male squirrel with no ears or small ears?

    There was a grizzly, tattered male that used to come to my yard when my released female was in estrus. He had exceptionally large ears. I assume he went around mating with various females because there are some younger squirrels that frequent my yard now who also have very large ears and look like him.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    They are adorable though! I wonder if it is possible that mama may be doing this?

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    That is sort of what I am wondering about too. A chromosomal abnormality that causes missing ears would almost certainly have other observable phenotypic features but they look otherwise normal? Maybe mom is chewing her babies ears for some reason?


    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    They are adorable though! I wonder if it is possible that mama may be doing this?
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Fascinating. That first pic reminds me of a La Mancha goat. I'd go with a genetic abnormality but the mom-chewing-ear theory is also plausible. Good thing that if she's responsible she stopped at the ears.

    I guess the upside if there is one is that they won't have to worry about cold ears. But they'll be hotter in summer.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    That is sort of what I am wondering about too. A chromosomal abnormality that causes missing ears would almost certainly have other observable phenotypic features but they look otherwise normal? Maybe mom is chewing her babies ears for some reason?
    We see one sort of kissing another on the ear. Could it be the babies themselves suck or nibble on eachother's ears, like some do on the others' penises? So strange. But dang! There just so cute anyway!
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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    This really is interesting. Of course, it made me start researching the problem.
    There actually is a genetic anomaly that causes the ears to be absent (anotia) or smaller than normal (microtia) . It can affect one or both ears. It even affects humans. Sometimes it is just an external birth defect but other times it causes deafness.

    I found it interesting that in humans with the problem, special interest is given to the kidneys because during the embryonic development of the fetus, the ears and kidneys are taking shape at the same time. A study was done on 42 that had ear defects. Renal ultrasound showed the 29% of these had renal anomalies. Wow.

    It was also noted the the drug Accutane (a Vitamin A derivative used for acne treatment) also causes the ears to be defective in humans if taken during the embryonic development of the fetus.

    Environmental causes associated with the motherís diet are also implicated.

    We see the strangest things on this board.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Thank-you everyone, these are really interesting replies, I am siding more with the chromosome/genetic anomaly since it doesnít appear the ears are chewed on at all and sometimes they appear deformed. But it could also be that they are being chewed on, because it is bloody for awhile. I donít know, Iím going to look differently at my photos again and see if anything shows, I have some close ups of the ear. But it doesnít explain the short ears as they do not appear chewed on and they never were bloody.
    Mel1959, all her babies have this, so both female and male.
    You did a lot of interesting research HRT4SQRLS, thanks for this. I will look more at that.
    Iím pretty sure they hear, it appears they hear me when I speak to them, but will try to actually test this.
    This is just so strange, she is a unique squirrel. I think she is having her next litter in the log thatís in the release cage. It will be interesting to see.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by spamrestricted View Post
    Thank-you everyone, these are really interesting replies, I am siding more with the chromosome/genetic anomaly since it doesnít appear the ears are chewed on at all and sometimes they appear deformed. But it could also be that they are being chewed on, because it is bloody for awhile. I donít know, Iím going to look differently at my photos again and see if anything shows, I have some close ups of the ear. But it doesnít explain the short ears as they do not appear chewed on and they never were bloody.
    Mel1959, all her babies have this, so both female and male.
    You did a lot of interesting research HRT4SQRLS, thanks for this. I will look more at that.
    Iím pretty sure they hear, it appears they hear me when I speak to them, but will try to actually test this.
    This is just so strange, she is a unique squirrel. I think she is having her next litter in the log thatís in the release cage. It will be interesting to see.
    I'm wondering what you mean. Bloody for a while when? When they were little, just out of the nest, or they randomly appeared bloody on an occasion you happened to observe when they were older, etc.? Wondering if a bug bite could make it bleed and you happened to be there to see it fresh.

    Btw there was an older teenager that used to go to my church who had no ears, or very small ones. He had longish hair and I didn't notice for the longest time. No idea whether he was hearing impaired.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    This really is interesting. Of course, it made me start researching the problem.
    There actually is a genetic anomaly that causes the ears to be absent (anotia) or smaller than normal (microtia) . It can affect one or both ears. It even affects humans. Sometimes it is just an external birth defect but other times it causes deafness.

    I found it interesting that in humans with the problem, special interest is given to the kidneys because during the embryonic development of the fetus, the ears and kidneys are taking shape at the same time. A study was done on 42 that had ear defects. Renal ultrasound showed the 29% of these had renal anomalies. Wow.

    It was also noted the the drug Accutane (a Vitamin A derivative used for acne treatment) also causes the ears to be defective in humans if taken during the embryonic development of the fetus.

    Environmental causes associated with the motherís diet are also implicated.

    We see the strangest things on this board.

    Interesting!

    I wonder if something in moms environment in her diet could be a connection to the Accutane/ vitamin A direction?

    Something she gets through contaminated food source e.g., that is readily available for consumption and gets ingested at the critical time when the ear development is taking place?

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    This really is interesting. Of course, it made me start researching the problem.
    There actually is a genetic anomaly that causes the ears to be absent (anotia) or smaller than normal (microtia) . It can affect one or both ears. It even affects humans. Sometimes it is just an external birth defect but other times it causes deafness.

    I found it interesting that in humans with the problem, special interest is given to the kidneys because during the embryonic development of the fetus, the ears and kidneys are taking shape at the same time. A study was done on 42 that had ear defects. Renal ultrasound showed the 29% of these had renal anomalies. Wow.

    It was also noted the the drug Accutane (a Vitamin A derivative used for acne treatment) also causes the ears to be defective in humans if taken during the embryonic development of the fetus.

    Environmental causes associated with the motherís diet are also implicated.

    We see the strangest things on this board.


    Quote Originally Posted by spamrestricted View Post
    I am siding more with the chromosome/genetic anomaly
    I'd have to be really convinced if it were otherwise.
    Although probably unlikely, I don't know what the chances are she mated with the same male again.
    It will be interesting to see the results of her next litter.
    Last edited by stepnstone; 02-16-2020 at 12:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by stepnstone View Post




    I'd have to be really convinced if it were otherwise.
    Although probably unlikely, I don't know what the chances are she mated with the same male again.
    It will be interesting to see the results of her next litter.
    As for mating with the same male. I know that the grizzly male with the large ears was here trying to mate with May all three times she was in estrus. At least one of those times she mated with another younger male because I saw them. Living in a suburb with a lack of large expanses of woods nearby, I think the really dominate males just troll the neighborhood looking for mates. As they age their success rate seems to fall but itís not for the lack of trying.....and they have the war wounds to show for it!

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    As they age their success rate seems to fall but itís not for the lack of trying.....
    I know the feeling....
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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of


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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    Thanks everyone. I know it's been awhile, but here is a photo where I cropped the bloody spot - this photo was taken around the time of the others, but earlier in January. Not sure why it was bloody, but as these babies have grown the ears appear more deformed than chewed on. One of them have built their nest in one of the logs my husband made that hangs on the tree by my home. They are healthy and can definitely hear, I've been testing it. I am about to post another topic that I will need help with regarding another baby squirrel that came to us.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    I forgot to update with something else weird, because I'm a bit distraught over this new issue I'm dealing with.

    Holly definitely had babies sometime early/mid March, because she was quite huge and then back to her normal weight. I thought she had them in the log as she was very protective of it. When I would peek in, it almost looked like she was nursing her litter.

    Butchie, another squirrel that I had released for the same person back in 2013, he was born in 2011. Butch always came around, sometimes I wouldn't see him for a month or more, but then he would show. After releasing Holly, I always saw him with her. So, not sure, but I'm thinking Holly's litters were from Butch - who is the most gentlest and nicest squirrel I ever met, at least to me.

    Ok for the weird part, after Holly obviously had her litter, Butch would come around and try to go in the release cage. Then after about a week or more, he started trying to mate with her. I thought this very weird since their mating season is January and July (at least that is what I think to be true). The way he was trying to mate was intense, he was so crazed with trying to mate with Holly, he wouldn't even take a walnut from me - he just wanted to chase and follow Holly. I started to think would Butch hurt the babies in order for him to be able to mate again?

    I don't hear the litter of squirrels in the release cage log anymore and Holly will be in there at night, so I find this weird. I also think I am too busy trying to see if her babies are in there and maybe she moved them, but if so why would she stay in the log.

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    Default Re: Released squirrel having babies without ears - sort of

    After reading this forum and your other one, I would dissemble that log period!
    I would have to know just what is in there and pray like heck it's not deceased
    babies the new little has crawled up to.
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