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Thread: Hi everyone

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I'm not worried about my budgies as 93% of the people here are expats and some have 'easy pets' like budgies to fight loneliness so far away from home. Budgie feed is easily accessible, but no one in the UAE owns squirrels (with some exceptions, but not enough for widely accessible food and so on)

    Vegetables of course are available and I will definitely check that list out to get him as much veg as possible! I found he likes tomato.

    I can try and find the rat food you guys mentioned before, but rats are also not often held as pets in this country.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Red really seems to come alive, he's running around in his cage at evening time (zoomies!) and he seems to want social contact. Though, when I let him out from the cage he ran behind the couch and it took me quite a while to get him out of there.
    When he's playing in his cage, I go to sit next to his cage to make him familiar with me, but when I put my hands close to the cage he seems to growl?
    Is he playing or angry? I'm a bit scared to get bitten hard (he's so quick and fast!) but I do want to give him social interaction. I'm a bit unsure about Squirrel Body language still...

    At times I can pet him while he lies still in his cage, but sometimes he seems to kind of jump at my hands. He doesn't chase me and I suppose if he wanted to bite he would've already (as I said, quick and fast) but I'm not quite sure...

    I can go around his cage with my hands when he doesn't have zoomies, take his food, replace his water etc, he seems kind of scared still but he's not running away or angry. I had to take him out of a nest with my hands and I can pick him up no problem, but when I want to pick him up (because he's on top of my table and he has to go to this cage for example) he doesn't appreciate it. He hasn't /bitten/ but certainly tries to get away (which I totally understand, I'm just trying to picture his behavior for you guys to explain the growling situation and jumping...)

    Any thoughts?

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  5. #23
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    The more he observes you and gets his food and comfort from you the more friendly he should become. A tip for picking up your squirrel: Don't restrain him. Don't wrap your hands around him in such a way to make him feel like he is being restrained. Eventually he will likely jump up onto you if you offer him your arm. Until then, if you have to pick him up, scoop your hand under his tummy and lift - no hand on the back. He should ALWAYS feel like he can get away if he wants to. He is a prey animal and there is NOTHING that will end his acting like one if you inadvertently put him in a position where he feels like he has been "caught" because his brain will tell him that the next thing after "caught" is "eaten."

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  7. #24
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Thanks, that's helpful! Would it help to not keep his veggies available 24/7 but rather feed him veggies from my hands? He's not so interested in snacks from my hand as he has food available all the time.

    I don't have to support his butt when lifting him under his belly, like you'd do with a rabbit, right? Just scoop him up from under his belly and lift him around and he'll just kinda... hang there?

    I think they're not naturally aggressive animals but it's hard to learn body language of a new animal, it's fun though! He likes to hang from the bars of his cage by his back feet and just stretch his whole body and little arms all out, so cute!

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  9. #25
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Also, does anyone know what type of squirrel Red is? He has fluffy ears and his back is kinda black-grey ish. There's a picture earlier in this topic... His tail is rather short, maybe 3/4th his body size

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  11. #26
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    Thanks, that's helpful! Would it help to not keep his veggies available 24/7 but rather feed him veggies from my hands? He's not so interested in snacks from my hand as he has food available all the time.

    I don't have to support his butt when lifting him under his belly, like you'd do with a rabbit, right? Just scoop him up from under his belly and lift him around and he'll just kinda... hang there?

    I think they're not naturally aggressive animals but it's hard to learn body language of a new animal, it's fun though! He likes to hang from the bars of his cage by his back feet and just stretch his whole body and little arms all out, so cute!
    You can support his butt, but likely he won't give you the chance. They regard us as "trees" and usually will climb your arm and sit on your shoulder. Or head.

    We try to give our squirrels a choice of healthy vegetables and healthy rodent blocks and they are every bit as enthused about these as a young child is when faced with healthy () food! So if you find a veggie he really likes he may eat them from your hand but I usually just leave those in the cage. Don't leave nuts and sunflower seeds in there ever - those are your bribes and rewards. My little guy gets a hazelnut in the shell every evening, and he knows it will be there and he knows where it will be and I simply am unable to get him to his cage fast enough in the evening to suit him!

    We need to observe him for a bit to identify what he is. My feeling is that he is a European red squirrel - this is normally what ends up in the animal markets in that part of the world. They come in a variety of colors - bright red with white tummy, red and darker brown like your guy, even grayish with red, but what they have in common is that in late fall/early winter they develop really LONG tufts of fur at the ends of their ears that are so freaking cute you can't stand it. I can't believe that nobody has come up with ear extensions for our squirrels over here! Even in your hot climate that should happen - my guy has air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter so his temps are fairly constant all year round, but he develops and loses his thick winter coat at the same time the outdoor squirrels do.

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  13. #27
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    Thanks, that's helpful! Would it help to not keep his veggies available 24/7 but rather feed him veggies from my hands? He's not so interested in snacks from my hand as he has food available all the time.

    I don't have to support his butt when lifting him under his belly, like you'd do with a rabbit, right? Just scoop him up from under his belly and lift him around and he'll just kinda... hang there?

    I think they're not naturally aggressive animals but it's hard to learn body language of a new animal, it's fun though! He likes to hang from the bars of his cage by his back feet and just stretch his whole body and little arms all out, so cute!
    Ooooh, that hanging upside down and stretching the little arms out in the air is my absolute FAVORITE squirrel move! Some people like the DPT (Double Paw Tuck) best, but I really love the stre-e-etch.

    Sounds like you're at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    Were you able to find a rat feed (rodent block) or are you using the food you have? The reason I ask is if you separated out the "junk food"-- the nuts and seeds etc. and are just giving him the pellets and vegetables as his main food, you can use the junk food (just a tiny bit) as the bribe CritterMom mentioned to get him back in the cage after playtime.

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  15. #28
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I found kale, parsley and broccoli in the supermarket today, he seems to like those! Or well, he took a nibble to taste it which in my opinion is an achievement on its own ha ha! Someone else told me he could be a Douglas squirrel but I have no clue, they all look similar but nothing like Red. Unfortunately I haven't found the rat pellets yet but I have ordered the squirrel food online and I'm still browsing online for rat food that's not mixed with other snacks.

    I'll make some new pics of him to share with you, he's soooo cute!

    He's way friendlier than yesterday already and even took a cashew from my hand and eats before mentioned broccoli from my hand too. He does really seem to want to explore outside his cage and I'd love to let him, but as I said, he goes under my couch and if he climbs inside it from the bottom I'm scared I'm never able to get him out again... Would it be cruel to put him in a harness with a leash so I can let him roam around my house? I have a gigantic balcony that he could spend time on but once again, I don't want him to escape and jump down as I'm 5 floors up...

    I have put my rabbit in a harness before and know to never pull on the leash, but I'm not sure if it's okay to do this with squirrels...

    I love the little ear fluffs, the extensions are a great idea

    What are double paw tucks? I'd love to see that!!!


    edit: Speak of the devil, my husband just came out with old bedsheets that we rolled and tucked under the couch. Now he can come out to play if he pleases.

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  17. #29
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

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    He seems to be enjoying himself. My birds are way slower than he is and I almost wet myself laughing at this photo:

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  19. #30
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    I found kale, parsley and broccoli in the supermarket today, he seems to like those! Or well, he took a nibble to taste it which in my opinion is an achievement on its own ha ha! Someone else told me he could be a Douglas squirrel but I have no clue, they all look similar but nothing like Red. Unfortunately I haven't found the rat pellets yet but I have ordered the squirrel food online and I'm still browsing online for rat food that's not mixed with other snacks.
    Good, I hope you can find rat food. Meanwhile did you separate the pellets from the junk in the food you have now? It's hard to get them to eat the healthier stuff once they're hooked on junk.

    I'll make some new pics of him to share with you, he's soooo cute!
    You are SO right, he's cute AND beautiful! We LOVE pics, please keep them coming!

    He's way friendlier than yesterday already and even took a cashew from my hand and eats before mentioned broccoli from my hand too. He does really seem to want to explore outside his cage and I'd love to let him, but as I said, he goes under my couch and if he climbs inside it from the bottom I'm scared I'm never able to get him out again... Would it be cruel to put him in a harness with a leash so I can let him roam around my house? I have a gigantic balcony that he could spend time on but once again, I don't want him to escape and jump down as I'm 5 floors up...
    I don't know how to post links, but if you go to the Nursery forum check out the thread "Grover." Just a warning it is sad because we just lost Grover very recently, but there are pics of him wearing a harness.


    What are double paw tucks? I'd love to see that!!!
    Well you may have seen the single paw tuck, also adorable, where they pull one paw up close to their chest. So the DPT is when they do both at the same time. If you haven't, you will soon.


    edit: Speak of the devil, my husband just came out with old bedsheets that we rolled and tucked under the couch. Now he can come out to play if he pleases.
    Excellent! Just watch those wires.

    This is so nice. Red is so lucky you saved him from his situation.

    P.S, Love your budgies. I currently have a Lutino and a standard green.

  20. #31
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Aw. He is definitely a european red. Here are about 50,000 pics in all colors and coats. THAT is what his ears will look like eventually!
    https://www.google.com/search?q=euro...w=1600&bih=789

    At some point, likely while he was trapped in his little cage at the pet market, he lost the end of his tail. It should be longer. They are designed to "break away" when grabbed by a predator, sort of like a lizard, but cage pinch points take a lot of them, too. My first squirrel had this happen and his tail did so many facinating things at each molt. At times it was fan shaped, then it would grow out flat at the end like it had been cut with scissors. Lots of times it forked like a little devil tail. His last tail before he died was a perfect corkscrew, as though someone had worked on it with a curling iron. I always told him I liked his modification better than the original!

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  22. #32
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Yikes and they're endangered? I wonder if pet trade trafficking is contributing to it.

    RedBen, there are a lot of pics of the DPT at that site.

  23. #33
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    Yikes and they're endangered? I wonder if pet trade trafficking is contributing to it.

    RedBen, there are a lot of pics of the DPT at that site.
    To some degree. Mostly it is habitat loss. Not a whole lot of huge, contiguous forest areas left in Europe.

  24. #34
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    The food I am giving him now isn't mixed food, it's green and orange feed that (according to the box) has all nutrients in it. Rabbit pellet, maybe? Looks like super tiny cookies. We're really careful with wires etc and the ones he can easily reach are tucked away!

    He's done the paw tucks! Now I know what it means, I recognized it. He also washes his face after licking his little hands, sooo sweet.

    Wow, he's gonna have huge ear fluffs! That's to make up for his tiny tail. You're saying he must've lost it then, I hope it didn't hurt him much...

    I'll definitely check out Grover (may he rest in peace) and try to get Ben in his harness so he can explore even more! I found out he likes chestnuts too. I'll try and post more pics.

  25. #35
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I would think many, many times before you try the harness. Grover was a wee baby when the harness was introduced to him by the person who had been his mama from well before his eyes opened. Trying to harness a grown squirrel is pretty much the definition of "restraining" him and may erase all of the trust he is gaining in you. I have tried with a grown squirrel that just adored me and to say it was a "no go" is the understatement of the year. In the very least, please wait for a long time until his trust in you and the bond you have is a lot stronger. You guys are doing so good, I would hate to see you destroy that by doing something that has about a 5% chance of working anyway.

    The other thing is his food. I know you are having issues finding something appropriate, but rabbit food isn't it. They may be vaguely similar looking but they are no more similar than a squirrel and a wildebeest. Bunnies are lagomorphs - grass eaters - with bizarre digestive tracts and totally different nutritional needs. Squirrels don't eat grass. Have you been able to find anything else, even online? Mazuri is another type of food - Mazuri is owned by Purina, the largest animal food manufacturer in the world. Most zoos feed Mazuri foods. I actually feed it to my outdoor wild squirrels. They have several rodent foods. Do you have zoos? Perhaps some phone calls and begging would help you find a source if they do. The other food we recommended, the Teklad rodent food, is called a "lab diet" because it markets mostly to producers of rats and mice for lab experimentation (yeah, I know) and to the labs that buy the mice for their work. I know this because Jackson Labs is one of the largest producers of lab rats and mice in the US and is in my state - and used to be my customer at a former job. I remember having to go there and seeing Teklad bags everywhere. Do they do anything like that in the UAE?

    I know, I am Debbie Downer, but getting him on the right diet is like 1 through 4 of the top 5 things to be successful here.

    Oh yeah, while I am on a roll here, be really careful with the chestnuts. They can mold inside and present as a picture perfect chestnut from the outside - and the mold is a killer. They are really wet and it fosters the mold growth. Make sure you cut them in half so you expose the white meat inside and if it isn't perfect, discard them.

    Slinking away now...

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  27. #36
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    I would think many, many times before you try the harness. Grover was a wee baby when the harness was introduced to him by the person who had been his mama from well before his eyes opened. Trying to harness a grown squirrel is pretty much the definition of "restraining" him and may erase all of the trust he is gaining in you. I have tried with a grown squirrel that just adored me and to say it was a "no go" is the understatement of the year. In the very least, please wait for a long time until his trust in you and the bond you have is a lot stronger. You guys are doing so good, I would hate to see you destroy that by doing something that has about a 5% chance of working anyway.
    Thanks for adding such a detailed explanation about the harnessing issue. I wasn't trying to suggest RedBen immediately try to get Red "harness trained" but just wanted to show her that it had been done, but shouldn't have put it out there as though it's as easy as harnessing a ferret.

  28. #37
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBen View Post
    The food I am giving him now isn't mixed food, it's green and orange feed that (according to the box) has all nutrients in it. Rabbit pellet, maybe? Looks like super tiny cookies. We're really careful with wires etc and the ones he can easily reach are tucked away!
    Oh. I thought you were feeding him the squirrel food from Post #18. What happened to that? If you pick out the other stuff and just give him the pellets that would probably be the best short term until you can get Mazuri or Envigo Harlan Teklad.

    That was a great idea CritterMom had about checking if you can get Mazuri from a zoo or their supplier. Crossing my fingers you can get some.

  29. #38
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    To some degree. Mostly it is habitat loss. Not a whole lot of huge, contiguous forest areas left in Europe.
    True that.

  30. #39
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    I'll answer in more detail later but I have written before that the squirrel food has been ordered and is on it's way. It's taking a few days as, as I said, I don't live in the US and 'next day delivery' is not a thing. Especially now with the whole Covid-19 situation going on. Weekend here is Friday-Saturday, not Saturday-Sunday so I expect it tomorrow at it's earliest.

    I know rabbit food is not ideal, I feel terrible about it but that's the only thing immediately available until the squirrel food arrives. The other option was not feeding him food at all.

    I don't mean to be neglectful or abusive but I have ordered the food few days ago and it's on the way...

    Zoos are closed, 90% of receptionists around the country have been fired so no one will be there to answer the phone. I couldn't even reach HR of my own company due to this. Once again, it's not the US...

    I doubt we have such a
    thing as mice/rat labs here that are available to be contacted by the public. I can try and order online but please read my
    first paragraph...

    Regarding the harness, I'm obviously not going to force Red into a harness but if he allows me to put it on him that would be an option, I just wanted to know if it would be fair to him. I'm not planning to walk him around like a dog, I just want to be able to expand his habitat and explore...

    Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it and keep it coming! So far the 'more detail later' heh heh...

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  32. #40
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    Default Re: Hi everyone

    Quick update, I contacted a friend of mine who works in the only zoo here in Dubai and they don't even have any squirrels... Suppose the public is only interested in the big stuff...

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