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Thread: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

  1. #1
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    Default juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Hi. There is a young squirrel that visits/ lives in my backyard. I am slightly concerned about it, and want your opinion.
    I first noticed it November 5th (today is the 21st.) I am working minimally these days, so I have a lot of time to observe. It has come every single day but two, and has lived through temperature swings, and a really bad wind storm. So it seems to be a survivor.
    But here is why I am worried: while it shows no signs of injury, it is very small, and moves and eats slowly. I have watched it for hours, and it will eat about 10 sunflower seeds where another squirrel would eat piles. (I first noticed it under our bird feeders. Since then, I have put sunflower seeds out for it.) It spends a great deal of time buried in leaf piles (sometimes foraging for seeds deep in the pile, sometimes just resting/hiding.)
    It grunts at me if I get too close (but is slow so I think I could catch it without difficulty.)
    There is an excellent wildlife center nearby, and I contacted them-- they said, "could be ill, could be injured-- we'd be happy to look at it." But I have very mixed feelings about trapping something that keeps making it to another day, and moves about the yard at its own volition.

    Please let me know your thoughts on whether I should intervene (more than giving the sunflower seeds.)

    In short: small, slow squirrel, not eating a ton, winter approaching. (And isn't it even weird to have a young juvenile this late? From doing some online research, I would size this little thing at 10-12 weeks.)
    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Please post a picture of the squirrel so that members of the board can assess its condition and age and size.

    It may be struggling with some sort of infection or issue that could be treated with antibiotics. A picture could help with that assessment. Sometimes a squirrel can be treated while allowing it to remain wild and free by giving it food that has been dosed with the appropriate amount of antibiotics.

    Regarding the wildlife rehabilitation center, if you did decide to try to go that route, you would want to ask them about their policies, how they assess the animal and what they would do if the animal had conditions that would require long term care. Some places would euthanize the animal in those instances. Unless the condition of the animal is very grave, this should probably be an option of last resort.

    You can also provide the animal with a source of clean water changed daily. The water level of the container should be one eighth of an inch or less and the side shallow. The lid from a jar will serve the purpose. Otherwise there is the risk that the young animal will aspirate itself, water going down the wrong, which is a very serious problem. Young squirrels are not very good at drinking liquid water.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Name:  IMG_20201114_105034885_HDR~2.jpg
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    I included the piece of paper one to give sense of size. That was a week ago.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    One more. This was yesterdayName:  IMG_20201120_094635291.jpg
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Size:  158.3 KB 11/20.

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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    It looks like a very young squirrel. Something could have happened to its mother. I am concerned about it surviving it’s first winter alone. Most young squirrels stay with mom or have siblings to snuggle with for warmth during the winter.

    Do you know where it goes at night?

    You might offer some more nutritious foods like broccoli, sugar snap peas, avocado (no skin or pit), fresh coconut chunks or fresh corn chunks. Sunflower seeds in abundance are not a healthy food for squirrels.

    I have asked a rehabber/member to take a look at your thread and offer advice.

  7. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    Buddy (11-21-2020), stepnstone (11-21-2020)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    I hope someone can intervene and take this baby in...
    Outside a low chance of survival on it's own due to weather and lack of nutrition
    it's immature young age puts it at a high risk to predators, hawks, cats, etc.
    Shelters are very risky as they don't have the manpower for individual attention.
    They are even more risky since covid and layoffs, many shelters and facilities are
    simply euthanizing on in take.
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


  9. Serious fuzzy thank you's to stepnstone from:

    Mel1959 (11-21-2020)

  10. #8
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    As Step said, is there any chance you can catch it and keep it over the winter and release in the spring? It’s chances of survival over the winter are slim.

  11. #9
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Quote Originally Posted by Susanimallover View Post
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    Aww... Little baby... Looks so cute!

    Hope you can help him/her...
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  12. #10
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    The fur around the mid section looks a little funky. It could be an artifact of the light, but I don't think so. Might be some degree of dehydration.

    Like Mel said, sunflower seeds are not the best as a primary diet source. Don't get me wrong, it is better than nothing. Also consider putting out some cooked sweet potato or butternut squash and see if it has any interest in those.

    You could also put out some plain, whole milk Greek yogurt, because it would likely still be nursing from mom at this age and the probiotic in the yogurt will help with digesting food because mother's milk provides more than just calories.

  13. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Rock Monkey from:

    Buddy (11-22-2020)

  14. #11
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    While I'm no squirrel expert, I do have a nr squirrel and it just happens to be a red squirrel like your little buddy. I also have a ton of reds in my yard that I've been able to observe them all summer. Red squirrels tend to be smaller than the other grey or black squirrels. They make up for it by being feisty, on high alert all the time and territorial. I often see them foraging under pine trees looking for pine cones seeds or under maples for "helicopters".

  15. #12
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    You can order raw pine nuts -- a red squirrel's most important food -- from nuts.com! When I realized we had reds where I work, I bought these and gave out a dozen or so every day. The little reds scarfed them up and now I have four where we only had one. These are for wildlife consumption (birds, red squirrels),
    Not cheap, but a pound goes a LONG way.


    https://nuts.com/nuts/pinenuts/in-shell/1lb.html
    Island Rehabber
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    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
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  16. #13
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Thank you all so very much. Sadly, it has not come back since I posted the photos.

    I will keep looking out for it, and will let the Board know if it comes back. (I could indeed catch it and help it through the winter.)

    Take care, everyone!

  17. #14
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    Default Re: juvenile squirrel ok but not thriving

    Quote Originally Posted by Susanimallover View Post
    Sadly, it has not come back since I posted the photos.
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


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