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Thread: Hi everyone

  1. #1
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    Default Hi everyone

    Hey, how are you guys

    I made an account as I saved a squirrel from a pet market here in the UAE. I'm not a big fan of putting anything in a cage but this one was making backflips for a week straight and I felt incredibly bad for it.
    His name is Red, he's in a big parrot cage now and I put tree sticks in the cage.
    I just got him today. He's very timid and sitting still, took a loooong nap early (no surprise after backflipping for so long).

    Will he warm up to me and get used to his cage? He lets me stroke him and doesn't scratch or bite or run away.


    Note: I am NOT in the USA or another westernized, squirrel-adapted country.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    We would love to see photos of him!

    Thank you for rescuing him. Being jammed in a tiny cage in one of those pet markets would be like torture for him.

    First, let's make his home a little homier for him. While the automatic response is to try to provide "wild" looking things in the cage, honestly, squirrels just love luxury! He would really like a place to hide out and sleep that is up high in the cage. You can easily make him a hammock. Cut a piece of fabric into a large square and tie the corners through the cage bars at the top. In the US we use polarfleece material, and I am betting that nice warm fleece is NOT worn very often in Dubai! The idea is to not use fabrics that are woven, because they WILL chew and fabric that ravels into long threads can be very dangerous if it gets wrapped around their limbs. We have seen a lot of amputations caused this way. But I bet you can get some old t-shirts to use. After that, cut some more t-shirt material into small pieces and dump it into the hammock for him to curl up under.

    Use a sheet or something and drape it over the cage so it covers the top, sides and back, leaving the front only open. That gives them protection - they don't have to constantly watch their backs looking for "predators" and will feel MUCH more at ease. As you look through our site you will see lots of photos of cage set ups that you can steal ideas from.

    Food is the absolute most important thing for them and I would bet a small fortune that anything they suggested at the food market is the exact opposite of what he should be eating. Squirrels have a very exacting requirement for calcium, and their calcium to phosphorus ratio needs to be paid close attention to. They need to be consuming 2 parts of calcium to every one part of phosphorus, and once you start looking into this you will find that lots of foods are very high in phosphorus and low in calcium - just the opposite of what he needs. Failure to adhere will result in a condition called metabolic bone disease which will kill. If the calcium is not provided in the diet the body will begin to leach it from the animal's bones, resulting in bone loss, paralysis, seizures and death.

    We are lucky - we have a company in the US that is owned by a member here who makes a very tasty diet designed precisely to avoid all of this. You will need to be more creative. Does anyone keep rats as pets there? There are a number of companies that make rat foods that will do what you need. This is not a food that has a bunch of seeds and nuts and corn bits in it - THAT is what you DON'T want. It is a manufactured diet - often they look like little rods - this link shows a pic: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Teklad-14-P...DiYCAG0cEAylfw .

    Look around and see what is available and try to post the info before you buy so we can see what you have found. They also like fresh greens, limited fruit, and fresh vegetables.

    Let him calm down and get used to you and to his cage. Once that happens, start to let him out to play when you can supervise him. Nuts are a treat that needs to be fed VERY sparingly, but they make wonderful bribes to get naughty squirrels back in their cage. ONLY give him a piece of nut in the cage. If he is out and you need him to go home, show him the piece of nut and then let him see you put it in the cage. They are REALLY smart. He will learn quickly.

    I don't want to overload you with info (whoops, too late!) - start with this and we will be thrilled to help you build from here! And welcome.

    Remember, we need pics. LOTS of pics.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    yea that

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Welcome, and thanks for rescuing Red! I wish you all the best. You're in for a wonderful experience if you can provide everything he needs. There is nothing like a squirrel! The people here are the best at helping people help squirrels.

    Can't wait to see pics. Let me guess. He's . . . RED?

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Hello everyone,

    thank you SO much for sharing all this info; keep it coming! (I am exactly like this when it comes to horses and budgies, I have two birds!)


    They suggested me rabbit food, I got him this : https://www.beaphar.com/en-gb/produc...re-plus-rabbit but that's no good then?


    I also put a few sunflower seeds, cashews, fruit (berries) and lettuce for him to choose from as I wasn't sure what he'd eat.
    Would this be okay? : https://www.noon.com/uae-en/deluxe-s...g/N26722614A/p
    I'm happy to not hear you guys say ''release him!!!'' as he's not native to where I am from and I doubt he'd survive outside besides being (as far as I can tell) healthy... That's a huge relief as I'm just trying to do the best I can...

    His name is Red as he's slightly red, but also because ''Ik red'' means ''I save'' by Dutch (my native language)... Clever little joke there, ha!

    I will try to attach photo's now...

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    Can you see him peeking out from his little house in the top corner?

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    I'll take the rope toy in the corner out as that might fray then...

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  11. #6
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    He is so beautiful! I wonder where he's from. Just was looking at a slew of pics, I guess from all over the world, on Pinterest. A couple look like him but don't say where they're from. Trying to imagine sources who would traffic a squirrel to the UAE. Don't they have laws about importing exotics? Maybe not, or maybe if Red could talk he'd have quite the story to tell!

    He is so lucky you rescued him!

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Just curious, did you buy the rabbit food online or at an actual store? I looked up what you bought but couldn't find an ingredients list or nutrition analysis. The company is based in the UK. The rabbit pellets probably won't hurt him short term but probably don't have nutrients he needs and possibly could have too much of something he shouldn't have or only in limited quantities.

    They also make a rat food. I was going to suggest that instead if you can get it there but the info at the site mentions "animal protein" so I question where they source this protein. I would be nervous about giving him that unless you can find out more. But if you can't get it anyway it doesn't matter. They do have a place on their site to ask questions about their feeds. Maybe you can ask for an ingredients list and/or analysis of the rabbit food or ask about foods suitable for squirrels.

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I just made him a little hammock, he's not using it yet but I'm sure he'll go out to explore.

    I think he's really pretty too! Is he a grey squirrel? I'm not quite sure... This country isn't really focussed on animal health and maybe someone sneaked him over the border in a car? I hope he's happy where he is now...

    I found this food online, it's a brand that I feed my birds also but I'm also not sure about the ingredients... Is the feed I linked on the 'noon' website better? I can order that!

    I'll definitely try to contact them! Thanks a lot!

    Edit: I found this as the ingredients of the rabbit food
    Product Description
    Keep your rabbit in optimum health with beaphar care+ rabbit food. 10 kg this delicious and well balanced food has been formulated to take into account the whole needs of your pet. It has the perfect level of protein balanced by high levels of fibre, a special ingredient, mos which encourages friendly microbes in the gut and this formula makes rabbits less prone to diarrhoea and fly strike. Take good care of your rabbit nutritionally and feed them care+ rabbit food.

    Ingredients
    Cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, seeds, vegetables, minerals, yeasts, Yucca schidigera, algae (spirulina 0.01%).

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  17. #9
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    If you can get a bone like a beef bone for dogs (with no meat or marrow) he can gnaw on it to keep his teeth worn and to get calcium. A big worry with squirrels is that they get enough calcium. Not knowing his story it's a guess whether he's been getting enough. Another source of calcium is Tums antacid or whatever other version is available in Dubai. But it has to be the plain kind, no Vitamin D added. Vitamin D can be toxic to squirrels.

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  19. #10
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Would a cuttlebone do for the time being? My birds are not using it so I have it laying around...

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    I just made him a little hammock, he's not using it yet but I'm sure he'll go out to explore.

    I think he's really pretty too! Is he a grey squirrel? I'm not quite sure... This country isn't really focussed on animal health and maybe someone sneaked him over the border in a car? I hope he's happy where he is now...

    I found this food online, it's a brand that I feed my birds also but I'm also not sure about the ingredients... Is the feed I linked on the 'noon' website better? I can order that!

    I'll definitely try to contact them! Thanks a lot!

    Edit: I found this as the ingredients of the rabbit food
    Product Description
    Keep your rabbit in optimum health with beaphar care+ rabbit food. 10 kg this delicious and well balanced food has been formulated to take into account the whole needs of your pet. It has the perfect level of protein balanced by high levels of fibre, a special ingredient, mos which encourages friendly microbes in the gut and this formula makes rabbits less prone to diarrhoea and fly strike. Take good care of your rabbit nutritionally and feed them care+ rabbit food.

    Ingredients
    Cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, seeds, vegetables, minerals, yeasts, Yucca schidigera, algae (spirulina 0.01%).

    Oh, I didn't find that! That's a bit vague. Can you find a nutrition analysis? You want to see calcium in there or a calcium to phosphorus ratio of at least 2:1.

    They have foods for a lot of different rodents. Usually squirrels are compared most to rats for nutritional needs but ask them about their other feeds. If their mouse food is a pellet like the rat food but doesn't have the "animal protein" source and has the needed calcium it might be a safer choice.

    People here like something called Harlan Teklad. If they ship to Dubai maybe you can try to get that. I think it can only be ordered online so if you're buying online try them. That definitely meets the nutrition needs of a squirrel.

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  23. #12
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    Would a cuttlebone do for the time being? My birds are not using it so I have it laying around...
    You can try it since you have it. My baby showed no interest when I gave her one. I think a few people have used them with varying degrees of interest from the squirrels. I wonder if the texture is an issue. See what he thinks. I'm curious.


    My bad. The other food is Envigo Harlan Teklad 2018.

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  25. #13
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I found this for the squirrel feed I posted earlier...

    GUARANTEED ANALYSIS: Crude Protein (min) 14.0%, Crude Fat (min) 3.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 7.0%, ash 8%, Calcium (min) 1.51%, Calcium (max) 2.01%, Phosphorus (min) 0.62%.

    INGREDIENTS: Ground corn, Soybean Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Dehydrated Apple, Dehydrated Golden Rasins, Dehydrated Papaya, Dehydrated Pineapple, Mono Di-calcium Phospate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Yeast Culture, l. Acidophilus, S. Faecium, S. Cerevisiae, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium, Potassium Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Mineral Oil, Copper Sulfate, Colbolt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Sulate, Ferrous Sulfate, Colbolt Sulfate, Copper Oxide, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pantothenic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine Mononitrate.

    That looks okay to me? It's not too pricey, I can afford that... I hope if I order stuff it comes soon as of the situation right now so I don't think ordering from outside of the country will be helpful on short term...

    If this is bad food I will definitely contact the company for rat and mouse food.

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  27. #14
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Is that feed a pellet or one of those mixes? It compares to the Mazuri Rat and Mouse Diet (a complete feed) :

    Minimum Protein 23%
    Minimum Fat 6.5%
    Crude Fiber max 4.5%

    First ingredient dehulled soybean meal, Ground corn, Wheat middlings, Ground wheat, Soybean oil, Cane molasses, . . .

    Hmm. If yours is a pellet it might be better than Mazuri, at least taste-wise. I wish someone who knows about that brand could weigh in.

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  29. #15
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    I found this for the squirrel feed I posted earlier...

    GUARANTEED ANALYSIS: Crude Protein (min) 14.0%, Crude Fat (min) 3.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 7.0%, ash 8%, Calcium (min) 1.51%, Calcium (max) 2.01%, Phosphorus (min) 0.62%.

    INGREDIENTS: Ground corn, Soybean Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Dehydrated Apple, Dehydrated Golden Rasins, Dehydrated Papaya, Dehydrated Pineapple, Mono Di-calcium Phospate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Yeast Culture, l. Acidophilus, S. Faecium, S. Cerevisiae, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium, Potassium Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Mineral Oil, Copper Sulfate, Colbolt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Sulate, Ferrous Sulfate, Colbolt Sulfate, Copper Oxide, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pantothenic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine Mononitrate.

    That looks okay to me? It's not too pricey, I can afford that... I hope if I order stuff it comes soon as of the situation right now so I don't think ordering from outside of the country will be helpful on short term...

    If this is bad food I will definitely contact the company for rat and mouse food.
    An expert will correct me, but I think the calcium carbonate is the kind best utilized by a squirrel. The calcium iodate not so good. So even if the balance of calcium to phosphorus looks good, the amount of usable calcium may be less.

    But in these times you may be forced to use the lesser evil rather than the best thing you can't get.

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  31. #16
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    If that squirrel feed is a pellet it looks like the maker tried to make something that would provide the right nutrition but would taste good enough that the squirrels would actually want to eat it.

    But if it's just a mix then Red will just pick out the yummier less nutritious bits.

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  33. #17
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Yes, this food is bad for him. The number one ingredient is corn, followed by soybean, which isnít great either. The overall calcium to phosphorous ratio is ok, but is this an actual pellet of food with all the ingredients ground up together and formed into a pellet or is it a mixture of all the different items, like seeds, corn etc. tossed into the bag? The problem with food that isnít in pellet form is that squirrels will pick out the good stuff like corn, sunflower seeds, nuts, etc. and leave the rest. Therefore they arenít getting all the vitamins and minerals that are listed on the bag.

    Critter mom already mentioned the need for proper calcium to phosphorous ratio and if itís not maintained it can lead to metabolic bone disease.

    The rabbit food is not appropriate either. You want a pellet form of rat food. Search online for Envigo Harlan Teklad 2018 or 2014 and see if you can find a source that will send to Dubai.

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  35. #18
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Name:  Screen Shot 2020-04-01 at 10.20.15 AM.jpg
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    This is the food, it looks like pellets and other stuff...

    I understand that ordering from outside of the country would be ideal but we are on complete lockdown and nothing will come in before a month (let alone planes aren't flying to even ship items), and Red does need to eat...

    So 'sending things to Dubai' is not an option right now.

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  37. #19
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    The trick is getting him to eat the "good stuff" as well as the tasty stuff. He will pick out the nuts and forgo the pellets etc.

    If you could smash the mixtures up together into a powder then reconstitute it with a binding agent it may help. Until you can get a more appropriate food.

    And try to find greens that he will eat. Kale, snap peas, etc. They love avocado

    There is a food chart on this site in nutrition section I think.

    Thank you for rescuing this beautiful little squirrel!

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  39. #20
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Yikes, you have a real challenge ahead of you. If this is the only food available, I would pick out the nuts and seeds and just give him the pellets. They will hopefully have all the other things he needs like the calcium. Maybe keep the nuts and seeds to give sparingly as a treat, maybe a couple of times a week. I hope you can still get fresh vegetables. Look at the food chart RockyPops mentioned. Try to feed as many of the vegetables as are available to you.

    I hate to say it, but if this is all you can get and even this may be in short supply you may want to get as much as possible since it will be even less after you pick out all the stuff he shouldn't have. What about your budgies? Are you worried about getting food for them?

    At this time it sounds like you will have to do the best you can with what's available. Hopefully he will stay healthy enough until the world gets back to normal and then you can get the better food like the one Mel1959 mentioned.

    You might want to grab a bottle of calcium carbonate tablets just in case everyone goes crazy hoarding over there like they have been here. Just to have on hand in case you need to supplement his calcium.

    Please keep us posted.

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