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Thread: Not Eating - Just Shredding

  1. #1
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    Default Not Eating - Just Shredding

    My daughter rescued an Eastern Grey Squirrel after a tropical storm knocked him out of his nest in November. He's appox 17 weeks old and has been fully weaned off of formula for the last week and a half. He seems happy and healthy and definitely brings us a lot of joy. We're working towards the goal of being able to release him. I have some concerns that I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with. First, we feed him squirrel blocks and he seems to enjoy them but I don't think he's actually eating them. He just shreds them and then doesn't seem interested in eating the shreds. He's like this with most solids (apples, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots.) The only thing that he definitely eats are nuts. He seems to be at a normal weight (just eyeballing) but I'm worried about his nutrition. Second, he's not able to crack open the nuts. We have to crack them a little and then he can usually finish opening it. Is this normal? About what age are they when they can open the nut themselves? Any and all help is appreciated!

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Can you post up a photo showing his teeth? If he has ready access to nuts, he probably will not eat anything else. Remove any hidden nut caches and stop giving him nuts. Offer just squirrel blocks and veggies. When he gets hungry enough, he will start eating the blocks and veggies. Once he has been consistently eating the blocks and veggies for a week or so, you can start to reintroduce nuts but mainly as a special treat after he has eaten his block/veggie breakfast. I know it sounds odd to limit nuts in a squirrels diet but this is what is needed for a captive squirrel.

    If his teeth are healthy, he should be able to open a shelled nut which is why a photo of his teeth would be helpful.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz83 View Post
    My daughter rescued an Eastern Grey Squirrel after a tropical storm knocked him out of his nest in November. He's appox 17 weeks old and has been fully weaned off of formula for the last week and a half. He seems happy and healthy and definitely brings us a lot of joy. We're working towards the goal of being able to release him. I have some concerns that I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with. First, we feed him squirrel blocks and he seems to enjoy them but I don't think he's actually eating them. He just shreds them and then doesn't seem interested in eating the shreds. He's like this with most solids (apples, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots.) The only thing that he definitely eats are nuts. He seems to be at a normal weight (just eyeballing) but I'm worried about his nutrition. Second, he's not able to crack open the nuts. We have to crack them a little and then he can usually finish opening it. Is this normal? About what age are they when they can open the nut themselves? Any and all help is appreciated!
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    I've been trying to get a picture of his teeth for the last 10 minutes! So far no luck but I'll keep trying.

    He doesn't store his food. He acts like he's starving all day and eats his nuts immediately. We give him 2 squirrel blocks in the morning (which he shreds), lunch is a squirrel block (which he shreds) and veggies, dinner is again 2 squirrel blocks (which he shreds), and 2 nuts before bedtime (which he devours.)

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Try introducing cooked butternut squash and sweet potato. Also give some ripe avocado, just small chunks. No skin, no pit (these are toxic.) Also, try some whole milk, plain Greek Yogurt. (Cabot's has been well received by my rehab.)

    Please read this link top to bottom. The Foods to Avoid list is equally important.

    https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Monkey View Post
    Please read this link top to bottom. The Foods to Avoid list is equally important.
    https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/
    One should also pay attention to Group #3 which is recommended to be fed in
    limited amounts which includes; Avocado, Squash, (all kinds) and Sweet potato.
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    It is not unusual for a squirrel to struggle to figure out how to open a nut. Eventually, they will figure it out.

    However, as you suspect, his diet is currently out of balance.

    Also, it is not usual for a squirrel just to shred the block initially. The nuts need to be withheld so that the squirrel will be hungry enough to eat the other food offered, particularly the block.

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    I wasn't able to get a picture of his top teeth. The bottom two teeth look fine but it looks like he's missing a top tooth and the one that he has is much smaller than the bottom. How serious is this? Is there anything I can do?
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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Just confirmed... he is definitely missing his top right tooth.
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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Teeth issues can be very serious for a squirrel. Basically, the two top and bottom front teeth in a squirrel are always growing. So the top and bottom teeth wear down with use which keeps the teeth at the correct length over the life of the squirrel. If a top or bottom tooth is missing, the tooth on the other side may not wear properly, the tooth can become overgrown and can even grow long enough to puncture into the mouth of the squirrel which eventually causes a slow, painful death. Sorry to be so blunt. The top teeth are normally shorter than the bottom teeth, the bottom teeth are about twice as long as the top teeth.

    There are a number of possible outcomes here. The best outcome would be that the missing top tooth grows back in correctly and the teeth reset properly. It can take many weeks for this to happen. Can you see any bit of the missing tooth? Even a little stub?

    If the bottom tooth starts to get too long as the top tooth grows back in, it may be necessary to clip down the long bottom tooth so they are even. This is not difficult to do, we can provide directions and info about what clippers are best etc.

    If the tooth does not grow back in and the bottom tooth starts to become too long, it will need to be cut about 1x/month. This means the squirrel can not be released to the wild unfortunately. It means committing to providing or finding this squirrel a home for as long as it lives. A rehabber or vet may judge the squirrel to be unreleasable and might euthanize the squirrel to give it a painless, quick death which would be better than releasing it and having it pass slowly and painfully outdoors. There are some vets who can remove teeth but a squirrel really needs front teeth to be able to survive in the wild.

    Teeth OFTEN do grow back so hopefully his will. Sometimes they grow back in, but due to trauma to the tooth, it takes longer than usual for them to grow back in. Again, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But I do want to emphasize that the tooth may grow back in so give him some time to see what happens.


    This link shows a photo of healthy looking squirrel teeth, this is about what you want you want to see in terms of length, color, orientation. Also know that squirrels can move their teeth like chopsticks so don't be overly alarmed if they seem to be pointing a bit off what you would expect.

    http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2011/...rels-chew.html
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    He is the darling of our family and we just want to do what's best for him. No, there is no nub as far as I can tell but it's difficult to get a good look.

    I was looking around for a vet that would be able to look at his teeth but I just reread your post TubeDriver. "A rehabber or vet may judge the squirrel to be unreleasable and might euthanize the squirrel to give it a painless, quick death." Do I run the risk of a vet euthanizing our Chuck (the squirrel) if I take him? Would it be better to avoid the vet?

    Do you think this interferes with his ability to eat the Henry's Healthy Blocks? As I mentioned before, he just shreds them. As of yesterday we've stopped giving him all other food and he's not too happy with us! He's still just shredding them. Or do you still think it's his stubbornness because he wants his nuts?

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    He is super cute! I hope his teeth issues are resolved naturally very soon! (sending prayers and good luck!)
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    You live in FL which is one of the very few states that allow squirrels to be "pets". In most states, I would be VERY hesitant to bring him to a vet or rehabber because the most likely outcome is euthanasia. Being in FL is a big plus.

    There is a vet in Fl who is probably the best vet in the country for squirrel tooth issues.

    If he has 3 teeth, he should be able to eat Henrys blocks. Squirrels are very stubborn. It might take him a couple days before he gets hungry enough to really start eating the blocks but tough love is what is needed here. He is definitely holding out for nuts. If he can eat nuts, he will have no problem with Henrys block. Just keep an eye on the length of his bottom teeth, don't want them to get too long and also watch for any growth in his broken tooth.

    I will check in with one of our FL members who would be a great source of info and advice for your squirrel. Thanks for rescuing him, he is a little cutie!


    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz83 View Post
    He is the darling of our family and we just want to do what's best for him. No, there is no nub as far as I can tell but it's difficult to get a good look.

    I was looking around for a vet that would be able to look at his teeth but I just reread your post TubeDriver. "A rehabber or vet may judge the squirrel to be unreleasable and might euthanize the squirrel to give it a painless, quick death." Do I run the risk of a vet euthanizing our Chuck (the squirrel) if I take him? Would it be better to avoid the vet?

    Do you think this interferes with his ability to eat the Henry's Healthy Blocks? As I mentioned before, he just shreds them. As of yesterday we've stopped giving him all other food and he's not too happy with us! He's still just shredding them. Or do you still think it's his stubbornness because he wants his nuts?
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Where in Fl do you live? There are several squirrel friendly vets throughout the state. I will point you in the right direction once I know your location.

    There is one vet who specializes in squirrel dental issues. She is located in northeast Florida in Port Orange. If you are close to her, she would be my first choice.

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Tinker, I will share my experience with a squirrel with only one upper tooth.

    I agreed to release a couple of squirrels for another rehabber. Within a month of release the female injured herself and was having difficulty climbing. I captured her and made a trip to the vet and the diagnosis was a ruptured spleen, lung contusions and a broken top incisor. The tooth bed was damaged so the vet recommended pulling what was left of it because she said it would decay and cause an infection. I asked if the squirrel could still be released. She assured me that she could. This was no ordinary vet. This was one of the best squirrel vets in the country who specializes in teeth issues. I will say that in the 8-10 weeks that I had her before re-releasing her, the bottom teeth never overgrew. The movement of the top tooth as she ate kept the bottom teeth worn down, I suppose.

    An X-ray will show what is going on with your baby’s tooth. My concern would be that it could be decayed. An infection once released would be terrible.

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Mel1959 We live in the Northern Tampa Bay area but would be willing to drive to Port Orange to see a good vet

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Tinkerbelle - wow! My kudos on the awesome teeth pictures. You'll have to teach me your trick!!!! I hope everything turns out well.

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Dr. Alicia Emerson in Port Orange is definitely the best. Not only is she a knowledgeable vet, she’s an exceptional human being....and she loves squirrels. Her clinic is Ravenwood Vet Clinic, 4540 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. 386-788-1550.

    There is also a very good vet that treats squirrels in Tampa. Dr. Zellner at Avian and Animal Hospital, 727-877-1400. She has referred patients and conferred with Dr. Emerson on multiple occasions.

    Best of luck. Please keep us updated.

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    Default Re: Not Eating - Just Shredding

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz83 View Post
    Tinkerbelle - wow! My kudos on the awesome teeth pictures. You'll have to teach me your trick!!!! I hope everything turns out well.
    Jazz, thanks! Practically the first time they have turned out good. I held her, my daughter handled the phone.

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