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Thread: Tooth/Mouth Injury

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    Default Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Good Morning everyone. So this morning my girl Lil Mama showed up with a tooth/mouth injury after being missing for 5 days. She has babies somewhere too, I imagine they are 4 or 5 weeks but I can't be exactly sure. She is a wild that adopted us last year. She comes inside and allows us to pet her and give her ear scratches. She will sit on my lap etc. She's very gentle and friendly. This morning I noticed she couldn't even bite into a piece of pecan, she was really struggling and making little hiccup noises every now and then which I imagine was from discomfort or pain! So I broke the pecans up into very small pieces and she was able to eat them up. She sat on my lap hoovering up the tiny crumbs, I imagine she was SO hungry. After eating quite a bit of crumbs she took off home. I'm devastated, I love this squirrel so much... I know you guys understand! I tried getting a look at her teeth by holding a nut up for her to try to grab and it looks like one of her front teeth may be gone! I'm not sure though. I don't want to grab her up as she trusts me so much, but I'll do anything I can to help her out. She is part of the family now, we even treat her for fleas with Revolution as she comes inside almost every day. I did get a video of her eating that I will post as soon as I can. She is clearly struggling and it kills me to see her in any pain. I don't think trapping her is feasible right now as she has babies out there somewhere. ( I've tried to find her nest to no avail.) Is this common? Will she be able to survive? Any advice is very appreciated!

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Pictures or a video would be very helpful. For the video you will likely need to post it to YouTube and then put a link to it in your reply.

    A squirrel's incisors grow six inches a year, so if the tooth is just chipped or broken and the root of the tooth isn't damaged it should grow back in time.

    In the meantime, I would suggest switching to softer foods, in addition to shelling the pecans. Try ripe avocado, cooked butternut squash or sweet potato with added cinnamon and honey, or may be even small bits of pecans. Whole milk, plain Greek yogurt with a little added honey will provide good fat calories. If you aren't already, I would provide her with fresh water every day. This is especially important given that she is nursing and given the summer heat.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Thank you for the advice! Yes I do have a big dish of water outside for all the local squirrels. I did give her tiny pecan pieces and she was able to eat them slowly. She seemed to know this was the only way for her to eat. Usually she waits for me to give her her 2 almonds to go but today she didn't as she knew she couldn't eat them right now. Here is a video of her eating. I had to take the video with my camera and then record that video onto my phone. Please excuse my husbands background music, lol, he was playing music in the front room while I was recording. The link should have the video available.

    https://streamable.com/z1oxqj

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Do you notice any swelling in her face or jaw relative to how she appeared beforehand?

    She seems chubby enough, healthy. They need all the calories they can get given that they are the sole food source for their babies at this point.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    I don't know if she ever yawns in front of you, but if she does that would be a great time to take a picture.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    It doesn't appear to be swollen, but her front profile looks a little off, as if she may be missing one of her front top teeth. I'll try to get a better shot whenever she returns. She was making little hiccup sounds if she tried to chew on a piece that was too large. She is not able to break up an out of shell pecan, which worries me as they are relatively soft. She was just kind of licking at it until I broke them into tiny pieces for her. She was seemingly able to chew with her back teeth . She had disappeared for a few days which is unlike her. I've only seen her yawn a couple of times (SO cute). I'm concerned since she's nursing and mostly wild. Can a wild survive without a front tooth? If she wasn't nursing I would absolutely take her in and care for her until she was better. I will definitely try giving her more soft food selections when she returns. She loves avocado but will not usually eat veggies.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by thelema93 View Post
    Can a wild survive without a front tooth? If she wasn't nursing I would absolutely take her in and care for her until she was better. I will definitely try giving her more soft food selections when she returns. She loves avocado but will not usually eat veggies.
    If the injury is recent, which seems likely, her teeth are going to be sore. They may have been loosened. She will only loose the tooth if the nerve root is dead. Otherwise, once the inflammation and tissue damage settles down, the broken tooth (if one has been broken) will begin growing again. In time it would go back to its normal, proper size. Positioning relative to the other incisors is also a potential issue.

    4-5 week old babies, if your estimate is correct, have pretty much zero chance of surviving on their own. They need their mother. The father plays zero role in raising the babies.

    Fortunately, she has you and you can provide her with plenty of soft foods as she works her way through this challenge.

    Part of the reason I suggested adding stuff to the butternut squash and sweet potatoes is that these extra calories and taste will make these items more appealing, but wilds which are used to dining on nuts still may turn their nose up at these items.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Name:  Proper squirrel teeth.png
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    These pictures will get you some notion of the number and proper positioning of the teeth of an adult squirrel relative to those of one in which the teeth are misaligned.

    The images on the left are normal, healthy.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Wow thank you for the info Rock Monkey! That is all extremely helpful. I've been stressing for the last few days that she's been away, and now I'm worried sick about her. The babies would indeed be quite young still and she's definitely been busy with them. I will give her tiny pieces & soft foods that she can manage, hopefully she doesn't disappear again. She definitely sees this as a safe place though. She is very comfortable with me and is as close to a pet as a wild can come. She spends time inside and she lets me pet her like a cat would and scratch her ears etc. I've never tried to actually grab her and pick her up because I don't want her to ever feel cornered or trapped. I know about never attempting to grab them from the back since they are a prey animal, I actually think I read that on here. She will sit and climb on me so I will try my best to get a better look into her mouth and a better pic or video when she comes by again..hopefully in the morning. She's never bit or scratched or even attempted to. She is amazingly gentle & good natured. I just pray that she can heal up from this. Poor baby! Boy it sucks seeing them in pain. I'll do anything I can and appreciate the info so much. I'm so thankful for this community/forum!

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Yes, it is always best to let them come to you on their own terms. Let them be the ones to close the distance. That trust is a precious thing. They are very emotionally sensitive. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they will be. If she does something that hurts, you can say "ouch" and if you are consistent they will learn and change their behavior. I find it best not to stare at them, that can freak them out. Look at them indirectly and look away some.

    Try to make sure any camera or phone doesn't beep when you take a picture, that can freak them out too. Try not to let yourself worry too much in her presence, she will feel that. You might just start the video recording when you see her approaching and leave it going and see afterwards what it shows, editing, of course, what you choose to share.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    You are spot on, I had no idea how incredibly sensitive they were until I started interacting closely with them. I always liked squirrels but I'm truly in love with these little critters now. They all have very distinctive personalities and they are so intelligent! Unfortunately Lil Mama hasn't come by yet this morning. I'm worrying sick about her. I imagine she's been gone more because she's caring for her babies. She was coming by several times a day when pregs but almost always every morning for the last year +. I hope she shows up today so I can gauge where she's at. It's truly humbling when a wild creature trusts you, it can be heartbreaking too.. but always worth it.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    My sweet girl Lil Mama showed up finally! She's looking a little worn out and scruffier than usual, poor girl.. She is nursing still for sure. I was able to get close up video of her eating. At 0.48 seconds you can almost see her teeth, it looks like she has maybe fallen or hit something with impact, though I'm not sure. She is wild so this was the best I could do. I don't want to grab her and risk traumatizing her/breaking our bond. At the moment I'm breaking up her almonds & pecans into very small pieces that she can manage. I gave her avocado and boy was she happy...it was soft enough for her to eat readily.
    Here is a pic of her today with her avocado and a pic of her in mid May before she was injured. The front of her face is definitely different, poor dear. Here is a link to the close up vid of her eating today too. Thank you guys!
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    Video link -
    https://streamable.com/fdom8w

    Edit - Here is another short clip of her, yiou can see her 2 bottom teeth clearly. https://streamable.com/dn7pru
    Last edited by thelema93; 06-17-2021 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added another vid clip

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by thelema93 View Post
    My sweet girl Lil Mama showed up finally! She's looking a little worn out and scruffier than usual, poor girl.. She is nursing still for sure. I was able to get close up video of her eating. At 0.48 seconds you can almost see her teeth, it looks like she has maybe fallen or hit something with impact, though I'm not sure. She is wild so this was the best I could do. I don't want to grab her and risk traumatizing her/breaking our bond. At the moment I'm breaking up her almonds & pecans into very small pieces that she can manage. I gave her avocado and boy was she happy...it was soft enough for her to eat readily.
    Here is a pic of her today with her avocado and a pic of her in mid May before she was injured. The front of her face is definitely different, poor dear. Here is a link to the close up vid of her eating today too. Thank you guys!


    Video link -
    https://streamable.com/fdom8w

    Edit - Here is another short clip of her, yiou can see her 2 bottom teeth clearly. https://streamable.com/dn7pru
    I am so glad that she showed up today. When they have young babies they try to spend as much time as possible in the their nest, watching over their babies, looking out for and driving off predators. So, motherhood even under normal circumstances can be draining, because they may spend less time foraging than usual.

    Yes, I definitely would not try to grab her to get a closer look.

    I would suggest forgoing the almonds for the time being. Almonds are quite hard and if her jaw is sore from an impact even chewing forcefully with the molars may be uncomfortable. Some of the muscles and ligaments may have been torn or stretched. Shelled pecans and walnuts are pretty soft, especially if broken into small pieces.

    The avocado is great because it provides both lots of calories in the form of fat and ample water as well.

    Try some of the other soft food I suggested as well. I think she will be more willing to eat those foods in her current condition because they are soft. I think giving soft foods will make it more likely that she will visit because really soft foods are hard to find in nature.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    By the way she went through that pile of nut pieces I think she is quite hungry.

    With the camera itself or with a free downloadable editing program I think you could go through the video frame by frame and I think there are some frames which will show at least two of her incisors. They do move around a lit bit naturally.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Thank you so much Rock Monkey! Lil Mama came by this morning again briefly. She definitely spends less time now that the babies are growing. I really hope she brings them by when they are older! She wasn't as hungry today but ate some good chunks of avocado and a few small bits of pecan pieces. She looked to be in better spirits but still not able to eat properly. She would always get so excited over her favorite snack, almonds, but she knows she can't eat them so she doesn't even look for them. She usually searches for them and likes to play hide and seek with them under pillows, she would usually never leave without a few. It almost appears that a front tooth or both may be gone. I guess all I can do is keep a close watch over her and make sure she has access to food and water. Of course I worry that if she has a permanent dental issue she may not be able to survive outside. I would absolutely care for her as we consider her family now but I hope she heals up and continues to be able to live her best squirrely life out in the trees. I'm going to get some squash today and cook it up. She turned her nose up at it before but as you say she may be willing to eat it now given her circumstances. I'll also try making it more flavorful for her. That is a good idea to try to get a program to look at the video frame by frame. Otherwise I'll keep trying for a decent look at her teeth/mouth!

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by thelema93 View Post
    I'm going to get some squash today and cook it up. She turned her nose up at it before but as you say she may be willing to eat it now given her circumstances. I'll also try making it more flavorful for her. That is a good idea to try to get a program to look at the video frame by frame. Otherwise I'll keep trying for a decent look at her teeth/mouth!
    Yeah, I would definitely look carefully through your camera's manual, regarding frame by frame. It is probably 30 or 60 high def. frames per second. (If you can't find the manual, you can always download it.) That would probably give the picture with the best quality, which should be very good if lighting is okay and being by the window it seems that you have plenty of natural light.

    Another way to approach this quest is through a media player program. On VLC Media Player there are buttons for Take a Snapshot and Frame by Frame. Under the View menu be sure to click Advanced Controls.

    You will get the best quality images directly from the camera or from the memory card rather than taking a video of the camera's view screen with your smart phone. Then using the Board's site's Paper Clip icon to insert the image into the text.

    As to how enduring the teeth problem is, time will tell. Squirrels have great healing powers but they do require time and patience so its great that you can support her with supplemental food and water. If the roots are alive, the incisors will regrow (6" per year) if they have been chipped or broken.

    If she doesn't like the jazzed up squash, well, that's more for you, but if I think if you sweeten it a little and put more flavoring in she may well go for it.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Heheh I love "jazzed up squash" I'll absolutely finish what she doesn't eat! My husband jokes that she eats better than we do. Thank you so much for all of the helpful tips. I'll do everything I can for her furry butt! I'm hoping it's nothing too serious as the babies are still so young and that means she has to really run herself ragged caring for them while having a potentially bum tooth for weeks. My mission is to get a good look at it and hopefully a better pic to post here!

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by thelema93 View Post
    My husband jokes that she eats better than we do.
    I often felt the same way when preparing meals, but since they don't each much, it is easy to take a little bit of this, that and the other.

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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    Lil Mama seemed to be doing better today. Her fur looks less scruffy, her tail is nice & floofy and her weight is looking good, she was her bright eyed & bushy tailed self. The tooth/mouth issue is still quite noticible when she eats but she was actually keen & able to take her 2 almonds to go with her today! She ate a little bit of everything from the buffet I made her except the jazzed up sweet potato, she has never been interested in healthy veggies or fruit unfortunately.
    I assume she gets her healthy greens in the wild though. I put out peanut butter with powdered egg shell for calcium mixed in, little baked squirrel sized biscuits made with ground almond meal, sweet potato, honey, wheat flour, olive oil, coconut oil & egg, some small pecan pieces and some avocado. My husband is sure I've gone squirrely now, he asked where his gourmet buffet was lol. It was great to see her eating a variety of things today! She didn't stay long enough today to really try for a pic but I'm hoping she's going to be ok. The fact there is some improvement already makes me very hopeful! Yay Lil Mama!
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    Default Re: Tooth/Mouth Injury

    I am glad to hear that she is looking better and eating well.

    You can give your husband the sweet potatoes. Most prepared foods don't taste as fresh after 3-4 days even though kept in a fridge, and I noticed reduced interest from the squirrel the older the food was. You can give him anything that is no longer fresh.

    Momma squirrels not only have to stay with the nest to look out for predators, but also to keep the babies warm (their fur is still thin) and to guard against male squirrels that might kill her babies so that she will go back into heat. It is a brutal world.

    The fact that she isn't staying longs means she is being a good momma.

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