Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Newbie squirrel mom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Mountains
    Posts
    31
    Thanked: 33

    Default Newbie squirrel mom

    My husband and I rescued an approximately three week eastern gray from our burn barrel. We were burning limbs only to hear her scream. Momma had made a nest in the bottom of the barrel. She had severe burns down her back, her right leg and tail. We didnít expect her to survive the night but when she did we decided to try and rehab her. It was in the beginning of my countyís covid19 quarantine so the rehab person didnít seem inclined to take her and couldnít really help me.they suggested my vet. My vet said he could not take her. Well long story short I started reading everything I could find on caring for her and tomorrow she will be nine weeks. I treated her burns as best as I could and she eventually healed except her tail died. She has a little furry nub thatís bald on top like a cute little jellybean and a big scar down her back that is now partially furred. My intention has always been to release her. Iíve read everywhere that not releasing a wild squirrel is cruel. My concern is is she gonna survive without it. Can she balance, communicate, stay warm and all the squirrel things without it? I donít want to release her if itís more dangerous for her. We try to take great care for her and have a large 6x2x3í enclosure we built with a tree for her to climb that we made from branches. She plays with us lots. Jumps, darts around snorts and kinda purrs and eats really well. Sheís starting to wean now. Really only wants one good bottle daily. Blocks, seeds, some pecans, fruit, greens, flowers and leaves etc... Of course right now sheís still taking a little formula too. if it it too risky to release her with this ďhandicapĒ I could just make her a bigger enclosure so she has a lot of room. Its just hard to know what is really best for her. We have hawks, owls, dogs,cats, coons and coyotes in my area. Itís getting close to time to make this decision and now Iím getting really nervous. We are terribly in love with her and would rather keep her safe as our ďpetĒ than release her for eminent death. Am I being ridiculous?

  2. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Newbiewnc:

    Mialouise (04-27-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Rivendell
    Posts
    665
    Thanked: 1093

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    Hi! No, you're not being ridiculous. You're a caring SquirrelMom who has done your best for your baby and want to keep doing that. You got her this far, she did her squirrel thing and took your heart, and now you weigh and reweigh what's best.

    As for the lack of tail, is it a handicap? To an extent. Sure she won't have it to use like the others, but will it be a hazard or just an inconvenience? Yes and yes? There are probably plenty of stories about tailless squirrels getting along just fine. I have them here from time to time. Could the lack of a tail mean the difference in dodging a predator? Maybe. But plenty of "whole" squirrels are taken every day.

    So the aching decision you have to make is whether to let her be a squirrel and hope she will stay safe, or try to make her happy staying with you. She will tell you what she needs. Maybe you'll be lucky and she'll be one of the odd ones who chooses you over the trees. It does happen. If you can, maybe have several nest boxes put up in the safest places you can find, like in trees with good cover from hawks, etc. Maybe as close to the house as you can get to deter the ground varmints?

    Maybe you can try the HUGE cage and see if she's content. She will let you know if she needs the trees. The bigger you can make it though, and the more opportunity she has to practice climbing/jumping/balancing, the better her chances once she's in the world.

  4. 4 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Chirps:

    HRT4SQRLS (04-26-2020), lukaslolamaus (04-26-2020), Nancy in New York (04-27-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Mountains
    Posts
    31
    Thanked: 33

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    Thank you so so much. She is just such a miracle after those awful burns I really want her to have a happy life. I still have some time so Iíll just take your advice and see how she is advancing with her squirrellyness. you are right. I can tell when sheís outgrown her habitat. She gets...well...squirrelly. Then we move her up in size and sheís very content. Iíll just keep watching and see how she is behaving around 14 weeks. Do you have any suggestions on teaching her survival on her own. Iím not really sure how to teach her to search food and water and shelter...again if she just knows it in her own forgive my ignorance here. Any advice is appreciated. I can see why everyone on here is in love with these babies. We are too!

  6. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Newbiewnc from:

    RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  7. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,521
    Thanked: 11582

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    to TheSquirrelBoard

    This is a tough one. Because of the tragic circumstance that brought her to you Iím sure your bond is even more intense than normal. I have no doubt that your heart ached because of her suffering. Iím also sure that she has a bond with you as well. Under normal circumstances I am always in favor of releasing healthy squirrels. I feel they need to be returned to their world and given the chance to be free and live the life God intended.

    Usually I donít feel a missing tail is enough of a handicap to prevent release. I released a girl with a 3 inch tail and she did great. This case is a little different. She has a button tail from a traumatic injury. Basically her spinal cord ends at this nub close to her butt. Thatís a little concerning in terms of future issues with the nub. The tail does function in balance and also serves as an umbrella when itís raining and a fur coat when itís cold. Poor girl has no cover, not even a little short tail.

    The problem is that squirrels overwhelmingly prefer freedom in the trees to life in a house. Most will reach a point where they begin to wild up and make it abundantly clear that they want to be free. They can get mean and aggressive. They will accept one person as Ďtheirí special person and will get nasty to everyone else in the house. A story that we hear often on this board is that a pet squirrel attacked the kids or the spouse. By attack, I mean a viscous attack with blood and bite wounds that can be pretty serious. I remember a story from the older kids of parents that had a pet squirrel. The squirrel would sit up high on the furniture and chatter the teeth and flick the tail at them. They were terrified of the parents squirrel. I canít even imagine living like that.

    I think this is a borderline case. There isnít a clear cut right or wrong answer. She is clearly at a disadvantage with no tail at all but she could survive as long as the nub remains stable. If the nub had problems in the future it would be quite serious. I think if you are willing to put up with all that is involved by having a house squirrel I think she could be kept as a pet. IF at some point she wilds up she could be released at that time. IF she adores you and is content to be kept I see no problem with keeping her.

    You would need to become familiar with the healthy diet for captive squirrels. The diet is critical.

  8. 5 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to HRT4SQRLS:

    Chirps (04-26-2020), lukaslolamaus (04-26-2020), Mialouise (04-27-2020), Nancy in New York (04-27-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  9. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Rivendell
    Posts
    665
    Thanked: 1093

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    I've only had one, so am no expert. I agonized over the same things you are, like how will she find food etc. Thankfully a lot is instinct, so that will help her a lot. Also you're going to have the big prerelease cage outside when the weather is more stable, right? So she will observe the wilds and learn a lot like alarm calls etc. Actually they seem to instinctively know those from what I saw with my baby. It's useful for her to learn the bird alarms too. And they do.

    Also once you do finally release her, the best that can happen is she stays right there and has you to support her, like with good food like blocks etc. especially in bad weather. Lots of people here have their babies that just live out their lives seeing their people every day, having the next generations of babies, carrying on the legacy. Yes there is a lot of heartbreak, can't deny it, but there is also a lot of happiness if it works out that your baby can be a squirrel who still keeps you in her life. You have a bit of advantage in that you will always be pretty sure when you see her out and about, unless other bobtail squirrels start coming around.

  10. 4 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Chirps:

    HRT4SQRLS (04-26-2020), lukaslolamaus (04-26-2020), Nancy in New York (04-27-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  11. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Rivendell
    Posts
    665
    Thanked: 1093

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    Oops, sorry, HRT4SQRLS, didn't see your post.

    Newbiewnc, what HRT said.

    Also, depending on where you live, be very careful about who knows you have a squirrel. Preferably no one.

  12. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Chirps:

    lukaslolamaus (04-26-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

  13. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,521
    Thanked: 11582

    Default Re: Newbie squirrel mom

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    Oops, sorry, HRT4SQRLS, didn't see your post.

    Newbiensc, what HRT said.

    Also, depending on where you live, be very careful about who knows you have a squirrel. Preferably no one.
    Your post was spot on Chirps. There isnít a clear cut answer for this one. I will say that as someone that has released many in my yard it is one of my greatest joys seeing my releases daily for treats. They make the decision to allow me to share just a tiny portion of their life. It is also one of my greatest heartbreaks when they relocate and I no longer see them. The heart always agonizes over those.

    Yours is a tough call.

  14. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to HRT4SQRLS:

    Chirps (04-26-2020), lukaslolamaus (04-26-2020), RockyPops (04-26-2020)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •