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Thread: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

  1. #1
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    Default Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Last week a juvenile squirrel enterd the bathroom we are remodeling probably from the attic. I have been feeding and watering her as we attempted to catch and release her. I have been giving her carrots, celery, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and a Timothy meal gerbil food. Upon research today, I see the Timothy is not good for squirrels. This morning she was not hiding as much nor running around as much. Now she is in her makeshift nest not coming out at all. I am highly concerned the Timothy is causing her trouble. What can I do to help her? I offered lettuce and dandelion greens, but she wouldnít eat so I thought the Timothy would be a good substitute.

    Regarding her capture and release: I purchased a Haveaheart small trap that listed squirrels, but she has been able to get out of it the 3 times she went into it. I have baited with walnut and small avocado chunks. I am purchasing a medium cage this afternoon. Will that be a better choice?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    A Hav-a-Heart trap that is set correctly should not be escapable....how did she get out? Did she push the trap door open, or fit between the trap and the door? In that case the trap is too large. Is she a typical Eastern Grey Squirrel, or a flying squirrel or red squirrel? There is a huge difference in size between the three...?
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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    She is and Eastern Gray Squirrel.

    I am suspecting the lock on the door isn't engaging properly. The first time I set it with only one door open and heard the trap engage and her rattling around in it. By the time I got upstairs both ends were closed, the snacks were gone and so was the squirrel . The other times I set with both doors open. When I checked it later one door was closed and the other was slightly ajar or half open. The snacks were gone. Other times it appears she has not entered the trap at all since both doors are open and the snacks are still there. I have been setting and tripping the trap and it seems to be functioning OK, but maybe her tail slightly blocks it and she can run out before the latch has time to slip into the hook to lock it? The measurements of the trap stated on the box in inches are 17x6x6, but the actual height measurement is about 5 1/2 inches. I did purchase the medium sized, one door trap which is 24x7x7. To me, it seems like a more appropriate size and hopefully user error will be at a minimum as I give it a try!

    She (actually not sure if he or she, and had been calling Squirrel Nutkin a he until yesterday when it suddenly felt like she was a she) is moving around more now and that makes me feel a *little* better about her health situation. She stands at a safe distance looking at me as I talk to her...maybe she has decided this human isn't so bad after all and doesn't feel the need to run around crazy or leave her nest during nap time. After reading some of the info on this forum, I am also wondering if lack of calcium and sunlight after a week in the bathroom is causing some lethargy? I gave her a cuttlebone and she has chewed on it. The window is cracked open, but on the north side of the house does not offer much sunlight.

    I feel desperate and want to get her back to her family...which leads me to another question. After a week away from her family, will they accept her back willingly? Or are squirrels like gerbils and "forget" after some time?

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Definitely try the larger trap, with one door open. Sometimes these traps need tweaking beforehand, as they get banged around at the store and are off-kilter a bit. I have had to straighten a few out myself. Good luck!
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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Thank you! You are right about the traps getting banged up at the store. I had to exchange the first one because it was missing the little spring loop on the door lock. I am planning to bait with a little almond butter instead of walnuts. Maybe the chance of catching her will increase if she will sit inside the trap longer eating stickier bait.

    The good news is this morning that she is moving around much better than yesterday and her eyes are bright. My apologies for using up Emergency space and time because I freaked out thinking she was sick.

    Thank you again!

    S

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Can you post a picture of her so that members can assess her age and overall health?

    Her age will play a large role in determining if she can be released back into the wild.

    You might try putting out small dabs of plain, whole milk Greek yogurt since she currently isn't getting any mother's milk.

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    You also might try some cooked butternut squash or sweet potato, these have calcium at ratios which are healthy for squirrels.

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

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    Thanks Rock Monkey! I will give her a bit of yogurt. I nixed the gerbil food and have been feeding red and green leaf lettuce along with broccoli. She is eating the red leaf and broccoli and has chewed the cuttlebone I gave her yesterday.

    To my uneducated eye, she looks to be a juvenile since she is much smaller than the squirrels Iíve seen in the yard. She is maybe 10-12 inches from nose to tail tip and her body is smaller.

    As you can see in the pic it is dim (especially on a cloudy day like today) and a rubble mess from demolition. A miserable place for a squirrel, indeed. Hopefully, I can get her out of there ASAP!

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    She looks healthy, cute. Based on the amount of poop she has produced, she seems to be eating well.

    My concern is that if released outdoors I am not sure if she will be accepted back into the nest she came from. Generally speaking the older, the bigger and better developed they are, the better their chances of surviving on their own. However, I think a squirrel in your house probably wasn't part of your plans. They are magical creatures, however, though sometimes a handful.

    The positive side of her current situation is the lack of predators in this closed environment, plus the readily provided food and hence not needing to put herself at risk to find food. And, if she needs a little calcium she can just nibble on the chunks of drywall, though that is not exactly the ideal way to get calcium.

    Plus, she can practice her jumping and leaping.

    Does she just stay in the bathroom under renovation?

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    She is super cute! I am glad to hear she looks healthy since I was concerned there might be a problem. She is just in the bathroom which is maybe 12ft x12 ft and has the remains of the shower and a toilet. Luckily, when she decided to visit the door to this area was closed!

    Her being accepted back to the nest is a worry for me. After hearing squirrels in our attic this last week, my thought was to simply turn her back into the attic, give the family time to adjust, and then find a way to encourage them to move out. I am hoping that sounds of renovation and summer heat would be enough to help them decide the trees outside would be a better living option. I am kind of thinking that she is young enough that she may have never set foot outside yet and the attic may be all that she knows Any suggestions of the easiest way to release ? If her family doesn't not accept her back, what are the chances she will find another group? If releasing her into the attic is the best option, would it help her if I continued to put a little food up there for her for a few days until she adjusts? I have seen only one pair of squirrels in the yard this spring. I think the female was pregnant (because she seemed a little rotund, but not even sure this squirrel was a female) maybe a month ago. Now they are definitely in the attic on the opposite side of the house from this bathroom!

    Oh yes! Squirrel Nutkin is a good pooper! This is about 1/2 of the poop in there since I have been cleaning up what she leaves on the floor outside the shower. We will have a nice mess to contend with...that is...unless we decide to renovate the bathroom into a squirrel habitat. We could open up into the attic and put a nice, tall tree in there for her !

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Either she will be accepted back by her family or she won't be. It is highly unlikely that any other squirrels would take her in. It is more likely that being older and already in place, that these squirrels that aren't her family that they would aggressively drive her away from what they regard as their territory. Nobody wants to split the territory's food more ways. This can sometimes get physical, with wounds inflicted. As a young juvenile it is highly likely that she/he will lose this territorial challenge.

    Young squirrels face very tough odds. Only 15-25% of newborn squirrels will make it to the age of 1. The younger they are when they are thrust into the world, the lower their chances of survival. On the positive side, they no longer need to worry about the cold.

    The older they are, the bigger they are the better their chances of surviving out in the world. If at all possible, I would recommend not removing the squirrels from the attic until this one is closer to normal size. Generally the longer the babies stay with mom, the better their odds of survival. (Papa squirrel does not help raise the babies.)

    With a healthy squirrel, cleaning up the poop really isn’t a problem. No worries on that front, it’s nothing like dog or cat poop.

    If one were to have a squirrel room, a room under renovation is a good choice because the whole thing is going to get redone.

    Here is a list with some everyday items that you might feed him or her. When you put out water, use a lid from a Tupperware container, something with sides not taller than 1/2" and a water level not more than an 1/8" of depth. Young squirrels are not very good at drinking liquid water, they suckle, not the same motions. A container with shallow sides and a shallow water level prevents their nostrils from being submerged and them inhaling water into their lungs which can be quickly fatal, AP, lethargy being the most likely noted first sign. Change the water daily.


    https://www.henryspets.com/healthy-d...pet-squirrels/

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    I feel confident that the squirrels in the attic are her family. Prior to her appearance in the bathroom, there was a pair that would come into the backyard and forage for the birdseed. This last week I have been watching more to see if there were other squirrels in other yards around me. I have not seen any, other than the two, on this side of my neighborhood.

    Those survival statistics really stink and make me sad. I would love to be able to keep her longer, but that isn't something we are capable of doing. I am thinking she was not still with her mother. She did not touch the yogurt I left for her and she is eating crunchy foods. Does that help her chances?

    What can I watch for to see if her family accepted her back?

    If they don't accept her, can she live as a lone squirrel if I continue to feed and water her in the attic and outside? Will she eventually be accepted by a mate and create her own family nest?

    Sorry for so many questions. Since I have to release her, I want to make sure I can help her as much as I can.

    Thank you for the food chart! I have been watering her in a shallow dish, but it isn't as shallow as you have indicated. She must be able to drink it. Does that help age her? Maybe she isn't as young as I think she is.

    Thanks again!

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Does she have the ability to get back into the attic on her own? If you could arrange something that would facilitate this access this would enable her to go back into the attic where you believe her family to be. If you are still hearing activity in the attic and it sounds like more than one squirrel then it is likely that mom is still taking care of her babies, that she hasnít pushed them out to be on there own.

    At some point young squirrels start venturing out a little bit from the nest, to explore, but they remain under their motherís care. It is likely that she got into the bathroom during such an exploration. If she has the ability to go into the attic, but chooses to stay in the bathroom that suggests that she might not have been accepted back into the family. She should be able to hear them and smell and likely knows exactly where her family is.

    If she is not accepted back and if she is provided food and water this will greatly facilitate her transition to independence, but this will not occur overnight. Nonetheless, squirrels face a life which is challenging in many ways. (That is the life of a squirrel.) So, yes when grows old enough to be sexually mature it is highly likely that they guys will compete for her attention. Eastern grey squirrels do not pair bond.

    They are genetically wired with a great many skills and abilities. So, for instance, a squirrel that has been raised by a human since they were a little pink thing they will still know how to build a nest. They will know the warning calls. They will have a strong sense of what is okay to eat. They know about grooming and how to care for babies. So, many human raised squirrels are quite capable of being successful wild squirrels once released.

    A shallow sided water dish allows her head to be in a horizontal position when drinking, keeping the nose away from submerging in the water. It will greatly reduce the risk of aspiration which is not handled well by squirrels (can be quickly fatal), particularly young squirrels. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, this change is very important! (This might be why she was lethargic for a period of time.)

    If your brain is telling you that she is much smaller than most squirrels it is very likely that she is younger than when a squirrel is typically pushed out on their own by their mother.

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Thank you for all of this great information! I immediately changed out the dish for a heavy saucer which keeps the water level appropriate for her.

    We aren't sure how she managed to get into the bathroom, but are assuming it was through a hole that may have been created when the wall was taken down. We have been unable to locate a hole. I am guessing it could be small and we are overlooking it. When I realized that she was in there, I waited a day to see if she would go back into the attic on her own (so she had maybe a day and a half to figure it out). After that I couldn't stand to think that she would be hungry and thirsty and started leaving food and water. I am sure that didn't help to encourage her to find her way out! If I can't trap her, do you think creating a hole (or larger hole) would encourage her exit (if she isn't "hiding" in the bathroom after being pushed out of the nest?)

    I am glad to hear their instinct does not wane after human contact. I was concerned about that. I will say that she has manage to build a magnificent nest out of a stray roll of toilet paper and several paper towels, so I see that instinct is intact!

    I am willing to feed and water her in the attic for as long as I need to and we can hold off on any more renovations on this bathroom until early July. Will that be enough time for her to mature and be independent? (I can always continue to feed and water, but I am assuming the noise from construction will run all the squirrels out of the attic.)

    Thank you!

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Quote Originally Posted by Stsquirrel View Post
    Thank you for all of this great information! I immediately changed out the dish for a heavy saucer which keeps the water level appropriate for her.

    We aren't sure how she managed to get into the bathroom, but are assuming it was through a hole that may have been created when the wall was taken down. We have been unable to locate a hole. I am guessing it could be small and we are overlooking it. When I realized that she was in there, I waited a day to see if she would go back into the attic on her own (so she had maybe a day and a half to figure it out). After that I couldn't stand to think that she would be hungry and thirsty and started leaving food and water. I am sure that didn't help to encourage her to find her way out! If I can't trap her, do you think creating a hole (or larger hole) would encourage her exit (if she isn't "hiding" in the bathroom after being pushed out of the nest?)

    I am glad to hear their instinct does not wane after human contact. I was concerned about that. I will say that she has manage to build a magnificent nest out of a stray roll of toilet paper and several paper towels, so I see that instinct is intact!

    I am willing to feed and water her in the attic for as long as I need to and we can hold off on any more renovations on this bathroom until early July. Will that be enough time for her to mature and be independent? Ideally the yogurt should be heated to body temperature with a warm water bath so as to be more like mother's milk. (I can always continue to feed and water, but I am assuming the noise from construction will run all the squirrels out of the attic.)

    Thank you!
    Yes, I think early July would be enough time for her to be independent.

    Having not seen the bathroom, my first guess as to how a squirrel would get into the bathroom from the attic would be through a hole in the ceiling for a light fixture. The next place I would look would be where supply and waste pipes enter through the walls. These might be concealed by the vanity or the tub or whatever. All plumbing fixtures needed to be vented to the outdoors through the attic. So in the vicinity of this vent pipe would be another good place to look.

    Note, squirrels don't understand electricity and see wires as branches which if in the way get chewed through. So, make sure nothing is plugged in. This is the kind of thing they can ignore, then one day start chewing on it. Likewise remove all cleaning supplies, hand lotions, soap, shampoo, medications, etc, basically anything that would have ill effects if ingested. They have sharp teeth so are quite capable of chewing into any sort of container. Likewise remove any razors, what can I say, they sometimes get into unexpected things.

    If there are some oak trees nearby you might give her some small pieces of branches to chew. (I mention oak because not all species of trees are squirrel safe.)

    The food list given is important because it contains foods that are well balanced for a captive squirrel. (Wilds squirrels can eat things that captive squirrels shouldn't.) Pay particular attention to the lists of items to be avoided. Just because a squirrel likes to eat these items, it doesn't mean that they are good for them. Part of the reason I suggested the Greek yogurt is for the calcium and fat and probiotics. Other items on the list also have calcium.

    Part of the reason that members here on this site volunteer their time to help is that having taken care of baby squirrel we have become aware of how much soul and empathy these creatures have, how affectionate they can be. I would have never realized that without that experience. I will never look at a squirrel in the same way again.

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    I will check all of those places for holes. Thankfully, the electric was off and all electrical wires out of the bathroom. As was lotion, shampoo etc....

    I managed to trap her late this morning. I am only half happy about it; happy that she isn't in a squirrel unfriendly place, but missing her. In just 10 short days, she managed to create a spot in my heart for sure. I know what you mean by never looking at them the same again.

    I released her into the attic. It was raining earlier this morning and I heard a lot of activity from the family. I *hoped* she would spend time in the attic looking for them. However, instead of running to the east side of the house where they are (and where I directed the opening of the trap), she veered south. Twenty minutes later I saw a juvenile squirrel and an adult in the south side of the backyard. The adult foraged left, the juvenile went right and both disappeared in the neighbors' trees and bushes. I went back up to the attic and turned out the lights....sure enough a small beam of sunlight was showing through a hole in the eaves on the south end of the house. And of course, now it is raining again. My family is trying to comfort me that she will find shelter or find her way back to the attic. Regardless, I am worried sick about her. My family is reminding me that I'm not really sure that was her in the yard.

    I placed food and water and took the magnificent nest she created up to the attic. She hasn't been to visit it yet. I have heard scrambling around from the family. My fingers are crossed it is because they are welcoming her back to the nest.

    Thank you for all of your information and help. I have learned a lot and next time I will know what to do right from the start!

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    Default Re: Squirrel trapped in house for a week now lethargic

    Good luck, stsquirrel! Thank you for your patience and your good heart. Not many people would go to the lengths you have to keep this little wanderer safe and get her back to the family. After the babies are older and you see them running around outside, promise us you will use some nice strong hardware cloth and patch over that access to the attic, ok?
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