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Thread: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

  1. #1
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    Default Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    Hello,

    My wife and I started feeding, watching and video recording "our" (neighborhood) squirrels during COVID. We noticed one squirrel a couple days ago not using one of his rear feet, he kept it up off the ground, it was hard to see, might have looked a bit puffy. Unfortunately we found him a couple days later in our yard, he didn't make it. Now just this morning one of our favorite squirrels, one we named "Poodle" (his tail is very scraggly in the middle so it looks like a poof ball at the end) we saw this morning with the exact same issue/symptom.

    We started feeding them peanuts and sunflowers and have expanded to Walnuts, filberts, pecans and almonds from Anuts.com. We also through in an occasional avocado.

    Any idea on what this could be? We researched MBD but could two squirrels have the exact symptoms of MBD like this? Just in case I'm getting some Henry's blocks. Could someone put out a rat/mouse trap and got both squirrels injured? Could it be them fighting? I tried to get a picture but haven't been able to get anything decent yet. Any thoughts or ideas? Only think I can think of is trying to capture him and take him to a vet or rehab center.

    thanks!
    -kirk

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    Pictures are always helpful.

    Highly doubtful that this is MBD in wild squirrels.

    Could be anything from squirrel squabbles, traps as you suggest, BB-gun wounds...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    Pictures are always helpful.

    Highly doubtful that this is MBD in wild squirrels.

    Could be anything from squirrel squabbles, traps as you suggest, BB-gun wounds...
    thanks.
    What would explain the the first squirrel being found dead?

    Here's the best picture I have so far, it's his front left foot - the one that is visible.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    If the question is why I doubt MBD... I am not sure there has ever been a documented case of MBD in wild squirrels. While MDB is a huge threat to captive squirrels, because humans have control of literally everything and crucially diet, MBD is rare or even non-existent in the wild. MBD does not cause a bad foot, their entire rear end typically becomes paralyzed and they drag themselves around with their front legs. MBD affects the symmetricly so both of the rear legs at the same time. Of course, a spinal injury or other trauma could result in the same type of dragging of their hind end.

    It could have been a cat attack. Bacteria carried by a cat in their mouths and on their claws can kill a squirrel in a matter of days, or a matter of hours (especially babies). A severe bite from another squirrel could result in a lethal infection. Weakened and injured squirrels become easy catch for cats and dogs that often leave them dead after they are done "playing" with them. Squirrels do fall from trees, and they can fall from very high without suffering serious injury, but sometimes they impact a branch on the way down or land on something that causes a puncture wound... that also could become infected. Raccoons will also attack squirrels in their nests while they are sleeping. Raptor attacks. Snakes. I rescued a squirrel that had been speared / impaled by a great blue heron once upon a time. Maybe HBC (Hit By Car). Then there are spider / insect bites. Rodent traps as you mentioned. So it could be almost anything....

    It is hard to see anything definitive in this picture, so continue the attempt to get better pictures. Also post some pics of her face and ears if you can. Her tail does look a bit pathetic (the tail tells the tale of health, though they do molt and tails looks terrible for a period of time). Videos of her movement would be helpful (but you'll need to post those to a video hosting site like YouTube and paste the link to that here.


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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    thanks a lot, this all helps.

    I've had the motion camera up all day but so far we have not seen Poodle, quite few other squirrels but not Poodle. All other squirrels look very healthy.

    -kirk

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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    I was able to get some video, hope this helps:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMZPDDNjdH4

    I saw him eating on the top back of a chair and I cracked a couple nuts but me moved away when I tried to approach. I decided to leave him alone and he stayed on the deck. I still think it's hard to really get a good look at his foot.

    Hopefully someone might be able to tell something from this.
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    Here's the best picture I could get so far.
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    anyone have any ideas? it's pink and swollen, does not look to be any open cuts.

    will it heal? Should we try and capture him and take him to a vet?

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    This is a difficult call. The foot is clearly infected and his ability to move around is compromised. There is mating chases going on so lots of injuries. This is not related to MBD. In my opinion, he might be able to heal from this on his own. However, if the infection gets worse and spreads, he will need to ABs to heal. Vets in MD will not treat this squirrel unless you are a rehabber. If this gets worse, you should attempt to trap him using a hav-a-hart type trap. Looks like you are in MD? I am a licensed Master Wildlife rehabber in MD and have access to ABs and a vet if needed. If you plan on trapping him and can get him to me, PM me and I can take him in for treatment. If he can be healed, I would release him back into your yard.
    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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  11. #9
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    thanks.

    We are keeping an eye out, one day it seemed better and the next worse so really not sure. He still jumps from the tree to the deck and I see him jump from chair to chair. As far as I can tell him comes twice a day but the times are varied. I've seen him early - like 6:15am and also late like 11am - same as for evening early like 3:30pm or as late as 7:30pm.

    Looks like if we decide on trapping those Have a Heart traps are readily available on Amazon. Yes, we do live in Maryland - near White Marsh - more of less. The one thing I'm concerned with trapping would be getting other squirrels - I'd say we get 5-10 different squirrels from time to time so the odds would be against us. They are pretty wary of anything new.

    -kirk

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Squirrel(s) with bad foot

    If you get a slightly larger hav-a-hart trap (raccoon sized) it might work better setting it up with a manual trigger. You set up the trap, put some card board on the bottom, some nuts as bait and a pile in the back of the trap. You can take a long (10-25') piece of string and tie it around the "j" hook trigger. When the correct squirrel goes in, you pull the string which pulls the "j" hook that holds the trap open. The pressure plate on these larger raccoon sized trap will often not go off if a squirrel steps on it. This manual string operated trap can work better if there are a lot of squirrels in your yard, it helps to select only the squirrel you are trying to trap. But you have to be around with the trap.


    Quote Originally Posted by guderien View Post
    thanks.

    We are keeping an eye out, one day it seemed better and the next worse so really not sure. He still jumps from the tree to the deck and I see him jump from chair to chair. As far as I can tell him comes twice a day but the times are varied. I've seen him early - like 6:15am and also late like 11am - same as for evening early like 3:30pm or as late as 7:30pm.

    Looks like if we decide on trapping those Have a Heart traps are readily available on Amazon. Yes, we do live in Maryland - near White Marsh - more of less. The one thing I'm concerned with trapping would be getting other squirrels - I'd say we get 5-10 different squirrels from time to time so the odds would be against us. They are pretty wary of anything new.

    -kirk
    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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