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Thread: Should I bring him inside??

  1. #1
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    Default Should I bring him inside??

    I have one teenager/adult squirrel that I’m overwintering in my outside release cage (his first winter).. Usually, our winter temps don’t dip below mid-30s.... The release cage is huge with a very well built squirrel box which contains fleece for bedding.... Today, we are expecting unusually low temps and possible snow... It’s easy texas tho, so it will be minimal... my question is, should i bring my squirrel inside for a couple days or leave him outside?? I’m leaning toward leaving him outside because i know he’s already been outside for a couple months and has developed his winter coat already and i don’t want him to overheat in the house... plus he needs to learn to weather all temps.... but my heartstrings are telling me i should bring him inside so he’s not cold.... advice??????

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    My Buddy Boy is also overwintering in an outside cage. His cage is not that big, but it's much bigger than his inside cage and I think he is learning a lot by watching other squirrels and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood. I observe that he reacts to certain sounds (predator calls etc) the same way the wild squirrels do.

    We're in northern suburbs of Chicago, so it could get really cold.

    I got this from Amazon and we put it underneath his nest box. It really helps. Even when it's cold, it keeps the bottom of his nest box cozy.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HML9QJ5

    I bring him inside during the night time. Not because he might be freezing but I don't want him to be totally wild in the release cage before spring. So he gets some "family time" with us in the evening, usually 30 min to 1 hour and also when he wakes up in the morning.

    I'm also wondering if that's not advisable (keep bringing him inside). I found Buddy on July 27th, when he was 12 grams. So he is almost 6 months.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    I would love to add a heating pad to his nest box, but alas, our release cage is too far from our house or any other electrical outlet... however it’s definitely something to keep in mind for future release cages that might be closer to the house!!!! ��

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Honestly, I don't know how to answer your question. I hope others that live in cold climates will chime in about how they deal with cold weather for their singletons.

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    I live in Texas with winters similar to those described by cloverleaves but I spent my childhood in Northern Michigan and know "real" winters very well! Squirrels are remarkable creatures in many respects including their adaptations for winter. In fact there are Arctic Squirrels who have adapted to one of the harshest climates on earth. Squirrels in regions with significant seasonal changes which include cold do some significant Fall eating, their fur can also modify to some degree to provide better insulation and they are masters at shivering. Most of us humans hate to become so cold that we shiver as cold and the shivering response are perceived as adverse and very uncomfortable; but shivering has a purpose and the purpose is the same for us as it is for squirrels and that is to generate heat. From observing Squirrels in winter environments, I sometimes wonder how much they actually feel the cold but I must assume they do at least to some extent. When it is particularly cold or the environment becomes somewhat hostile, Squirrels also cozy up with their squirrel-friends in at least somewhat protected constructions in tree forks called dreys or in hollows of trees. By being with other squirrels and also being protected from winds they minimize heat loss to the environment from direct exposure to the cold and evaporative chilling that come from exposure to the wind. I really like the idea of the Heating Pad of Buddy's as this being present in his "nest box" (which I assume is a covered structure that offers protection from wind exposure and resultant chilling) serves a similar function as squirrels gathering close together in a drey or den during inclimate cold weather which of course is to conserve heat and with the "nest box" enclosed the air in the box will be heated as well. The sad thing is that winters, especially those in the Northern regions are probably responsible for a loss of Squirrel life and some of the estimates I have seen are agonizing in their project loss of Squirrel life in the winter! Summarizing my responses to cleolovelee and Buddy: I apparently live in a very similar region of Texas as cleolovelee, but with no means for providing at least the equivalent heat conservation as the body contact of other Squirrels provides for heat conservation, I too would recommend at least bringing the Squirrel in at night or when the cold weather or winter conditions becomes noticeable worse or forecast so. I also see nothing wrong with bringing them in at least occasionally during the winter and I, having developed a relationship with every Squirrel I have had the privilege of caring for and feel (and am) responsible for them and while it certainly is not what they may have had available if born and raised in the wild; I bring them in frequently in the winter anyway as at least I feel better. For Buddy, your little Squirrel is destined to live in a much harsher and longer winter environment than cleolovelee's Squirrel and it is great that you are able to provide protection from the direct wind, a warm and protected place to "hole-up" (the nesting box) as needed in the cold and you probably don't need to bring the Squirrel in except possible in severe environmental conditions. Both of you are able to to control another variable for your Squirrels in winter and that is providing daily food. This will benefit them tremendously during the winter but upon release, especially in Chicago, the availability of Winter food is often poor, sporadic, and "luck of the draw." On behalf of your Squirrels, thank you so much for your concern and care for these amazing creatures.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel2018

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by cleolovelee View Post
    I have one teenager/adult squirrel that Iím overwintering in my outside release cage (his first winter).. Usually, our winter temps donít dip below mid-30s.... The release cage is huge with a very well built squirrel box which contains fleece for bedding.... Today, we are expecting unusually low temps and possible snow... Itís easy texas tho, so it will be minimal... my question is, should i bring my squirrel inside for a couple days or leave him outside?? Iím leaning toward leaving him outside because i know heís already been outside for a couple months and has developed his winter coat already and i donít want him to overheat in the house... plus he needs to learn to weather all temps.... but my heartstrings are telling me i should bring him inside so heís not cold.... advice??????
    I would offer additional paper towels or napkins to see if there is any interest. If they are feeling cold I think they will take you up on the offer. Fold them up into 3"x 3" pieces and present the folded side to the squirrel's mouth. Keep giving until they stop taking them.

    Since they have been out that long, I would leave them out there. If they are well fed, protected from wind and rain and have plenty of insulating materials, they should be just fine. I think the older they get, the more they prefer to be independent and may become sullen and hostile if brought back in.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Ive been wondering the same thing, except my squirrel has already been released. But ive been thinking about grabbing her up and taking her back home for the week as the forecast is calling for HI: in the teens and LO: single digits for the next 7-10 days along with snow. Today it is currently 39į and raining, temp is supposed to drop & rain turn into frozen mixture. Ive also considered putting a heater in her tree 🤣 I have an extension cord running to her tree for her heated water bottle. Or even considered putting a heat lamp on the nest box but she doesnt use the nest box. She stays in a drey that she built. She has added cotton to her drey. There is an old mattress nearby that she picked cotton off and took to her drey. She has also taken the newspaper, paper towels, etc from one of her old nest boxes from home. I wouldnt be so worried if it was just gonna be a couple days of extreme cold, but a week is just too harsh.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Can you catch her? How long has she been released? I agree thatís pretty cold, especially in a drey with no buddies to snuggle with.

    The extension cord in the tree is very concerning, unless itís protected. Squirrels will definitely chew on it....thereís something in that wire that they love. An electrocution would be terrible.

    Within weeks of releasing two boys several years ago we had an alert that a hurricane was expected to come close to us. I re-caught both of them and put them in a cage and actually evacuated with them. After returning home I kept them in the cage for a few more days because I was concerned about the noise of the generators and the chainsaws in the neighborhood. They did fine and I had peace of mind.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Can you catch her? How long has she been released? I agree that’s pretty cold, especially in a drey with no buddies to snuggle with.

    The extension cord in the tree is very concerning, unless it’s protected. Squirrels will definitely chew on it....there’s something in that wire that they love. An electrocution would be terrible.

    Within weeks of releasing two boys several years ago we had an alert that a hurricane was expected to come close to us. I re-caught both of them and put them in a cage and actually evacuated with them. After returning home I kept them in the cage for a few more days because I was concerned about the noise of the generators and the chainsaws in the neighborhood. They did fine and I had peace of mind.
    Shes been released since July. She comes to me everyday for nuts and climbs on me, but she doesnt let me pet her so it would have to be a quick grab and run with her. I dont have the great big cages we had her in before releasing her & her sisters, but i have a small one that would have to work until we built another big one.
    The extension cord is mostly covered. All of it that is on the treenis covered and the part that runs across the ground, but not the part that is along the fence. She hasnt seemed to mess with it and i havnt seen any chew marks in it.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Since July is a pretty long time. Have her sisters moved on?

    I guess you have to weigh the stress of catching her and bringing her inside versus leaving her out.

    One of the two squirrels I wrote about always used to get beat up which resulted in injuries. I did bring him in several times by himself over the 2 years he hung around. He didnít like it, but he tolerated it. Releasing them again reinforces their trust in you.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Since July is a pretty long time. Have her sisters moved on?

    I guess you have to weigh the stress of catching her and bringing her inside versus leaving her out.

    One of the two squirrels I wrote about always used to get beat up which resulted in injuries. I did bring him in several times by himself over the 2 years he hung around. He didnít like it, but he tolerated it. Releasing them again reinforces their trust in you.
    One sister (Pink) we never seen again (which i expected) and the other sister (Blue) i kept a month longer. Then it was like 5 days after release before i seen her again. For a few weeks i would only see her like once a wk and then it got to where i would whistle and Blue and Runt would come to me everyday. Runt would always chase Blue though. Then one day Blue never came when i whistled. Still havent seen her. That was almost 4 months ago. Blue would let me pet her and kiss her. I hope she just moved on to get away from Runt chasing her and hopefully she is doing ok.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    I didnt bring Runt home yesterday as she didnt seem too bothered by the cold yet. She was adding onto a different drey, but then took paper towels that i gave her up to her drey and stayed there. Even with the cold wind chill, yesterday was the warmest day we are going to have for awhile though. 🥶 We now also have 2-4 inches of snow coming with cold winds following it. I think im going to try to grab her up in the morning. I tried petting her again today as she sat on my arm eating a pecan. She grabbed (attacked) my hand and growled at me. I told her she better quit it and be nice and she got on my shoulder and turned her back to me. Lol. Its probably not gonna go too smooth, but ill at least know i tried. Im more worried about how shes gonna act once i get her in the house. Thinking might just give her the whole spare bedroom cuz i think she will go nuts in a little cage. Also worried about her attacking my dogs now. Blue was the one that chased everyone in the house. Now Runt is the mean one in the wild.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    I'm thinking about those hand-warmer packets that you can put in your pockets or in gloves - that warm up chemically when you snap them. No electricity required, but I suppose they could decide to chew them open.... If you have access to the nest box and can get one in there, or put one in a mitten and see if the squirrel will drag it inside sensing the warmth of a fuzzy buddy. ?

    I also am thinking of an additional box over the existing next box, maybe with some straw inside to insulate between the layers? I just think this could provide additional wind-break. ?

    All that being said, where I live it's a major weather event if it drops into the 20's. HaHa - so what do I know???

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    I agree with Mel. I would not do an extension cord. They see electrical cords as branches and if they are in the way, they chew through them. Just because Runt is currently ignoring the cord that does not mean she will continue to do so. That is my personal experience. Helen loves to chew on cords of all kinds. She even continue to chew them up into small pieces after severing one. So, I don't leave cords around, plugged in or not. The cords to this computer will be unplugged and stored after I am done with them. I don't think it is worth the risk.

    I would offer paper towel and napkins until she stops taking them. I fold the napkins into 3 x 3 squares and present the folded side to her mouth.

    Secondly, I would provide plenty of high calorie food. These measure taken together should allow her to weather the cold.

    Since she has been free so long I think she will be miserable if you recapture her and I think she will like tear up your spare room, trying to get out and because she is aggravated.

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Monkey View Post
    I agree with Mel. I would not do an extension cord. They see electrical cords as branches and if they are in the way, they chew through them. Just because Runt is currently ignoring the cord that does not mean she will continue to do so. That is my personal experience. Helen loves to chew on cords of all kinds. She even continue to chew them up into small pieces after severing one. So, I don't leave cords around, plugged in or not. The cords to this computer will be unplugged and stored after I am done with them. I don't think it is worth the risk.

    I would offer paper towel and napkins until she stops taking them. I fold the napkins into 3 x 3 squares and present the folded side to her mouth.

    Secondly, I would provide plenty of high calorie food. These measure taken together should allow her to weather the cold.

    Since she has been free so long I think she will be miserable if you recapture her and I think she will like tear up your spare room, trying to get out and because she is aggravated.


    I will go get some more supplies tonight and completely cover the cord tomorrow. I dont want to take away her heated water bottle. Although the spicket froze up on it tonight. Im going to try taping some cotton or fabric around it and see if that stops it from freezing. If not, its outv there.

    I gave her some paper towels this morning and a few tonight. I will make sure to take plenty more tomorrow morning.

    She mostly eats pecans and english walnuts and a few peanuts. I also offer hazelnuts and acorns but she usually wont take them. There are walnut trees in her woods so she may have some black walnuts stashed away, too.

    I agree on her being miserable and tearing everything up. Plus i think it would make her not come to me anymore once i released her again. If i still had the big cages, i would probably already have her here. We had one cage inside and one outside on the porch. There was a little circle tube thing in the window that they could go through to get from one cage to the other.

    Im just gonna take it one day at a time. As long as she seems ok, ill leave her be. I think she might just kick my back over the fence if i try to grab her up anyways 🤣

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by jessijuju View Post
    I will go get some more supplies tonight and completely cover the cord tomorrow. I dont want to take away her heated water bottle. Although the spicket froze up on it tonight. Im going to try taping some cotton or fabric around it and see if that stops it from freezing. If not, its outv there.

    I gave her some paper towels this morning and a few tonight. I will make sure to take plenty more tomorrow morning.

    She mostly eats pecans and english walnuts and a few peanuts. I also offer hazelnuts and acorns but she usually wont take them. There are walnut trees in her woods so she may have some black walnuts stashed away, too.

    I agree on her being miserable and tearing everything up. Plus i think it would make her not come to me anymore once i released her again. If i still had the big cages, i would probably already have her here. We had one cage inside and one outside on the porch. There was a little circle tube thing in the window that they could go through to get from one cage to the other.

    Im just gonna take it one day at a time. As long as she seems ok, ill leave her be. I think she might just kick my back over the fence if i try to grab her up anyways 🤣
    Run the electrical cord through some PVC pipe or metal conduit.

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  28. #17
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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Wow! That's cold... We're having similar temperature here in Chicago. When there's no wind and lots of sunshine; it's not as bad... I'm sending prayers and heart warming vibes to all...
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Wow! That's cold... We're having similar temperature here in Chicago. When there's no wind and lots of sunshine; it's not as bad... I'm sending prayers and heart warming vibes to all...
    Thank you! Unfortunately its cloudy and we have a wind advisory. Right now it is 0į / feels like -13į 🥶

    I didnt see Runt this morning. Hopefully she is just stayn in bed to keep warm. The reds were out though. I might have to climb up tree to her drey with a blanket, heater & bedtime story. Maybe a little hot cocoa too. Lol

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Idea. Find the largest metal, water bottle or flask that will fit in the box. Fill with boiling water and wrap with material like a wool sweater and put in the box. We are actually solar/carbon saving enthusiasts. We take a large pot of water, heat it on our solar stove, then set in under my desk and with blanket draped over it and my knees and it keeps my feet warm all day.

    I can't even believe I didn't think about this for our own release, so I'll be trying it out too!

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    Default Re: Should I bring him inside??

    Quote Originally Posted by sundoesshine View Post
    Idea. Find the largest metal, water bottle or flask that will fit in the box. Fill with boiling water and wrap with material like a wool sweater and put in the box. We are actually solar/carbon saving enthusiasts. We take a large pot of water, heat it on our solar stove, then set in under my desk and with blanket draped over it and my knees and it keeps my feet warm all day.

    I can't even believe I didn't think about this for our own release, so I'll be trying it out too!
    Ill try it. Maybe she will start stayn in the box then. Once the flask cools down though, will it have the opposite effect and be like putting an ice pack in there?

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