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Thread: 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

  1. #1
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    Default 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

    Hi all!

    I'm new here and so excited to have found this board! I have a 9-10 week old female grey named Bonnie/Bon-Bon. She's been living with me for about a week now and I think a very high functioning dwarf, maybe. She seems very smart, playful and healthy.

    I've been trying very hard to help her get more accustomed to the surroundings and bonded to me. I work from home, so she basically hangs out in my robe (as I'm wearing it and working) for most of the day. Any moment I can, I pet her, snuggle with her, pick her up, hand-wrestle her, and talk softly to her. I know she's feeling more bonded to me than when I first had her, because she seems to seek out my attention, she "grooms" me (licks and lightly nibbles) and snuggles/sleeps on me.

    For 1 or 2 hours a day intermittently (and at the end of the night at bedtime) I put her in a small cat carrier with lots of blankets, water, etc. just so that I can have a short break and also so she has somewhere to sleep. (I'm in the process of getting her a large cage...)

    When I go to get her out of the carrier, as I'm walking over to the door and turning the latch and after opening the door, her immediate reaction is to growl and jump at me. Once I talk softly and slowly put my hand in, she seems to smell me, realize she knows me and I'm safe, and comes out into my hand.

    It just surprises me when she does this, because I thought we were bonded enough at this point that she would recognize me and realize I'm safe. Any thoughts on why she might be doing this and if I can get her to stop? Or is this just natural squirrel behavior and I shouldn't think too much about it?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

    Hiya, Neighbor! A lot of questions come to my mind as I read this. Why do you think she's a dwarf? Does she spend THAT much time just hanging out in your robe? At 9-10 weeks she should be all over the place. Or is that part of why you think she's a dwarf?

    The growling and jumping at you sounds like she is startled, like she isn't aware you're there and she's scared until you speak and put your hand in so she knows it's you. I wonder if she has hearing and/or vision problems? Maybe she doesn't hear the latch, or if it's quiet there's nothing to hear and alert her beforehand that you're there? Maybe talk to her as you approach so she knows you're coming? Maybe she's asleep when you're opening the door and the sound wakes her up, and she hasn't associated that noise with you being there yet?

    Seems like many possibilities.
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    Hiya, Neighbor! A lot of questions come to my mind as I read this. Why do you think she's a dwarf? Does she spend THAT much time just hanging out in your robe? At 9-10 weeks she should be all over the place. Or is that part of why you think she's a dwarf?

    The growling and jumping at you sounds like she is startled, like she isn't aware you're there and she's scared until you speak and put your hand in so she knows it's you. I wonder if she has hearing and/or vision problems? Maybe she doesn't hear the latch, or if it's quiet there's nothing to hear and alert her beforehand that you're there? Maybe talk to her as you approach so she knows you're coming? Maybe she's asleep when you're opening the door and the sound wakes her up, and she hasn't associated that noise with you being there yet?

    Seems like many possibilities.
    Thanks for your reply! I was told she was a dwarf by an experienced rehabber. She does have a shorter/smaller face, but that seems to be the only characteristic I can see that makes me think she is. I can tell that her vision and hearing are fine. Other than her face and the rehabber actually telling me this, she seems to me like a normal active baby squirrel. I've seen other dwarfs and they act/look much slower/disabled than she does, but maybe it's a wide spectrum and she's just on the upper end of it? I don't know enough about it to say for sure.

    To answer your other question, she looks to be that old to me (it's also a guess) - but she could possibly be about a week younger. She prefers to be on/around me at all times and if she had it her way, she would sleep snuggled up against me in my robe all day. She doesn't seem too interested in solid foods that I offer her but loves her formula. She does explore a little bit but doesn't ever leave my side more than like, 2 feet.

    Your thoughts about the reasons for her jumping/growling behavior sound spot on, though.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

    Posting a picture could give a better assessment of age and or dwarfism.
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


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    Chirps (05-15-2021), sundoesshine (05-15-2021), Tuff (05-15-2021)

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    Default Re: 9 week old baby is jumping at me when I open her cage

    Quote Originally Posted by stepnstone View Post
    Posting a picture could give a better assessment of age and or dwarfism.
    Ok guys, here's my little troublemaker. Could barely get her still long enough now that she was outside of my robe

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    Name:  IMG-0667.jpg
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