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Thread: Missing Murphy

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Milton, FL
    Posts
    2
    Thanked: 3

    Unhappy Missing Murphy

    We live in northwest Florida. Our dogs found a week old squirrel in our pampas grass in early March. We tried to reunite him with the mom more than once, she came, but would not take him back. His other two siblings didn't make it probably because of the dogs. Not sure why she had her nest that low. Anyway, we decided to name this little guy Murphy since it was close to St Patrick's Day and researched how to care for him.

    Murphy needed feedings every few hours so he went to work with me every day. Everyone loved him and after COVID19 he was the star of all our zoom meetings. At first I kept him in boxes and totes then we borrowed a bird cage from our neighbor. As he became more active we had to get a bigger cage and lucked into a large used parrot cage. We sanitized branches and got hammocks and toys for him. We kept the cage in the office until he was about 12 weeks old.
    We then moved the cage to the back patio room so he could get used to being outside. I left him out except when we had a tropical storm a few weeks ago. I had him out every day trying to give him some more freedom. He loved running on the screens of the patio and playing in the flowers. When I would try to take him further out he would always jump down and run back to the patio room. I finally got him to enjoy playing in the ferns at the base of a date palm, then got him to run on the fence and play in the crepe myrtles. He never would get too far from me and if he got startled he would fly back up my leg. He was always cautious and never went out into the open yard. Until Saturday..... my neighbor has a small peach tree maybe 9' tall and more wide than tall. There's nothing else around it except it's a few feet from our privacy fence. I took his picture, looked down at it and then he was gone. We've looked everywhere for him and cannot find him. The other side of the neighbor's yard has a medium oak and a larger male squirrel lives in it. I have seen him watching curiously as Murphy played in our smaller trees. I never saw or heard any commotion but am worried something startled him and he ran too far to find his way home.

    We don't have that many tall trees right around us but I have visited them all calling for him and shaking his favorite treat bag. I really believe he would come to me if he saw or heard me. I've gone out 4 or 5 times a day between 6 am and dusk. There's a dry retention pond behind us and I climb the fence and walk the perimeter, there's a small patch of woods on the other side. My husband thinks I have lost my mind worrying and trying to find him. I just want to know that he is okay. I had built him a house and it was in his cage; he slept in it every night. In my perfect world in my head we were going to do a soft release in the small field behind our property that has a few oaks and be able to place the house in a tree so we could keep tabs on him.
    I have some feeders on the fence. I have seen the larger male run off a smaller male about Murphy's size more than once. We have two females with babies in the area but I haven't seen him mess with them when they visit. Should I keep the feeders out or is it making this large male more territorial? Is there any hope of somehow leading Murphy back home? I've attached a few pics of him. He is 17 weeks old now.
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  2. Serious fuzzy thank you's to wvlldist1 from:

    Diggie's Friend (06-29-2020)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    6,364
    Thanked: 9005

    Default Re: Missing Murphy

    Murphy could be the small squirrel the larger male is running off....its hard to say. At 17 weeks hes old enough to be in the trees. A soft release would have been ideal, but...... You could always put his nest box in a tree and hope he finds it, but it would certainly be up for grabs by any squirrel. Id suggest continuing to feed all the squirrels at a feeding station out at the tree line with the hopes that he will get some food.

    What happened to Murphy is why we never recommend taking a squirrel outside without being in a cage until the squirrel is ready to be in the trees. Luckily Murphy was old enough, but if hed taken off several weeks earlier it would be a different situation. They are hard wired to be in the trees and its just a matter of time before they venture far enough to accomplish that.

  4. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    Diggie's Friend (06-30-2020), RockyPops (06-30-2020)

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Milton, FL
    Posts
    2
    Thanked: 3

    Default Re: Missing Murphy

    Thanks. I do know the smaller squirrel is not Murphy because he has two distinctive spots/splotches on his side in the white fur on his belly. I have seen him running on our fence before. I had decided Saturday morning, before losing Murphy, to get my zoom camera out to make sure I could identify the squirrels coming to our yard so I wouldnt mistake one of them for him when he was released. So, he was easy to rule out. There is one small female who has voiced her displeasure at being mistaken for Murphy a few times LOL!
    I moved the large cage outside with his house in it and opened the small feeder door. I got him in and out of this so hes familiar with it if he should happen to make it home and wants to sleep in his house.

  6. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to wvlldist1:

    Diggie's Friend (06-30-2020), Mel1959 (07-01-2020)

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