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Thread: Release myself or send to Rehabber?

  1. #1
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    Question Release myself or send to Rehabber?

    I need some help deciding how to proceed with two 10.5-11 week old fox squirrels. Do I release them myself in my backyard (where they came from), or send them to a rehabber who can, ideally, release them in a more rural area? (I'm definitely not a rehabber, I just had the time and means to care for them, so I did.)

    Releasing myself, Pros:
    • I have everything I need to do a soft release; namely, a very large cage that needs just a little cleaning and maintenance to be squirrel ready.
    • I have had them since Jan. 29th. They still had scabs from umbilical cords, guessing 1wk old or less. (How attached are they to me? Will they be ok if I give them to someone else?)
    • Definitely came out of a nest that was in the tree over our patio.
    • Mom squirrel is still around, and probably dad and more distant relatives. (I've read they can ID family by smell, and they live in small family groups? How important is this to their well-being?)


    Releasing myself, Cons:
    • I live in a neighborhood. Not too many dogs, but fairly busy roads, and a major road only a few blocks away.
    • We may be moving in the fall/winter, so I won't be able to leave a nest box and/or the release cage up for them to use or not use.
    • I will be compelled to check on them, and if they stop showing up or something happens to them I will be Sad. (If I send them to a rehabber, I'll never know and can just assume that they are doing well, right?)


    Other info:
    I've kept them away from our dogs. They have seen the dogs a couple of times while sitting on my shoulder and have seemed appropriately concerned.
    They are shy of my parents. (However, I can NOT keep them off of ME.)
    I'm feeding Fox Valley 20/50. Usually 15-20ml 3 times a day. They are starting to eat solid foods (carrots, celery, kale, lettuce). (I did start them on Teklad 2018 Rodent Blocks... idk if I introduced veggies too quickly or what, but if I give them a block now they chew on it for a second and then go hide it somewhere.) I might not have enough FV left to get them through weaning, if I am going to release them myself I will need to order more soon.

    Also, hello I am new. Ended up here a few times when searching for care info, and I joined specifically to get some advice on this.
    What would you do in my place? I'd like to do what is best for them, but I'm not sure what that is. Any advice for coping with letting them go after having them and caring for them for so long?

  2. Serious fuzzy thank you's to applecrisped from:

    Buddy (04-07-2021)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: Release myself or send to Rehabber?

    to TSB!

    Just for future, if mom is still around reuniting them is always the best outcome. I realize these are too old for that now, but as I said this is for any orphans that may appear in the future. Mom usually has a back-up nest ready should something happen to the primary nest, and if not she'll make one.

    The NEED to be eating rodent block, it is not optional for their well being. Block cannot be introduced too early, block should be the first and only solid food introduced and nothing else until they are eating the block well. If it is Teklad block, it should be a majority of what they eat. Most of us use Henry's, which is a supplemental block which requires they only eat 2 blocks a day and they eat it more readily. Here is the link to buying Henry's Healthy Block (HHB) and I suggest the Picky block, you can buy FV 20/50 there was well:
    https://www.henryspets.com/squirrel-diet/

    At 11 weeks+ they are at risk of MBD, so you might want to review this if you have not already.
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Bone-Disease)

    No mention of seeds or nuts in their diet so that is good, just in case here is the healthy food pyramid:
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Pet-Squirrels

    Finally, the soft release process... maybe review this to confirm you have all that is needed for a proper soft release:
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...t=soft+release

    If you share your general area someone may be able to refer you to a trusted person / group.

    Answering some of your direct questions:

    1) Yes, they would be okay to be turned over to someone else, the larger concern is being certain you are turning them over to a person that will do things correctly.

    2) I hate busy roads, more dangerous than natural predators IMO, but you'll need to make that assessment. They do have the advantage of having one another, which is huge versus a single baby.

    3) Fox squirrels do not live in small family groups. Siblings may stay together for months, even with mom over the winter months and *sometimes* they'll share nests with neighbors and friends for warmth in the winter but they are largely solitary.

    My last advice is that you do what is best for the squirrels.

    If I overlooked anything or the info provided brings up other questions, please post them and we'll do what we can to help.

  4. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Spanky from:

    Buddy (04-07-2021)

  5. #3
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    Default Re: Release myself or send to Rehabber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post


    Just for future, if mom is still around reuniting them is always the best outcome. I realize these are too old for that now, but as I said this is for any orphans that may appear in the future. Mom usually has a back-up nest ready should something happen to the primary nest, and if not she'll make one.
    We did try to reunite them with mom, both shortly after the nest came down (late in the afternoon) and the next day. No luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post

    The NEED to be eating rodent block, it is not optional for their well being. Block cannot be introduced too early, block should be the first and only solid food introduced and nothing else until they are eating the block well. If it is Teklad block, it should be a majority of what they eat.

    Answering some of your direct questions:

    1) Yes, they would be okay to be turned over to someone else, the larger concern is being certain you are turning them over to a person that will do things correctly.

    2) I hate busy roads, more dangerous than natural predators IMO, but you'll need to make that assessment. They do have the advantage of having one another, which is huge versus a single baby.

    3) Fox squirrels do not live in small family groups. Siblings may stay together for months, even with mom over the winter months and *sometimes* they'll share nests with neighbors and friends for warmth in the winter but they are largely solitary.
    I will stop offering veggies and try to get them eating the block. They were very interested in it at first, but in hindsight I'm pretty sure they were just chewing it up, not actually eating it. I think I found that food pyramid earlier, so I haven't offered nuts or seeds (just, miscalculated on when to offer veggies :/ )
    They only other thing I've given them is small tree branches... which I might remove temporarily too b/c they seem to have started eating those.
    Just reviewed the symptoms of MBD. These two are plenty active so I think we're okay so far.

    So it sounds like there's no benefit to releasing them here, where they came from, as opposed to anywhere else. Thank you, that all makes me feel a LOT better about finding a rehabber for them. Not 100% sure yet; I'll sleep on it. (I'm in the Dallas TX area, if anyone has recommendations for me.)

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

    Buddy (04-07-2021)

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    Default Re: Release myself or send to Rehabber?

    I've stopped offering veggies and they are very interested in the blocks again. They make a huge mess, so I'm not sure how much of it they are actually eating right now.

    While we do have quite a bit of traffic, this neighborhood also has a LOT of trees, and the speed limit is low. We've lived here 30 years and very very rarely see squirrels that have been hit. So... eeeehhh.

    Checked the soft release thread Spanky provided. I'm not 100% sure the size of our cages right off, but at LEAST 6'H, 5'W, 2'D and there are two - I can take sides off and stick them together if needed. They are predator proof and I've got everything else I'll need.

    At this point I'm still not sure. I think if I can find a semi-rural rehabber in the next week who will do a soft release, great. If not, I'll do it myself.

    Any other thoughts, anyone?

  8. Serious fuzzy thank you's to applecrisped from:

    Buddy (04-10-2021)

  9. #5
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    Default Re: Release myself or send to Rehabber?

    One measure of how well suited an environment is suited to squirrels is the squirrel population density.

    One of the principle causes of death of wild squirrels is yearly variations in the mast crop. Some years the nuts are plentiful and some years they are not. This can continue for multiple years. While starvation does occur sometimes, it is often disease and cold and bugs which take a heavy toll in the lean years, as the squirrels are tremendously weakened by lack of food. A squirrel can cope with many things if it is well fed.

    Suburbia provides food with less annual variation. Think of people with their gardens, fruit trees and bushes, and last, but not least, bird feeders. Also lawns provide squirrels a clear field of view of what's about and the ability to run fast.

    If you see lots of squirrels, it is probably a pretty good place to be a squirrel.

    Nobody will look out for and provide for this squirrel as diligently as you will.

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

    Buddy (04-10-2021)

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