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Thread: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

  1. #1
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    Question Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Hi first time posting. Little bit my pet grey squirrel is starting to get a bald spot on his head. Not red or crusty just loss of hair. He is on Henry's blocks and nuts. He is 21 weeks old. He got a little spoiled and refused to eat the blocks and would only eat nuts. He refuses to eat vegetables. I offer them everyday. I had to clean out is hoard of nuts and he has for the last 2-3 weeks been eating his blocks again. I only give him 2-3 shelled nuts a day now and only after her has eaten his 3 Henry blocks. He gets 1 block in the morning with spring mix salad (refuses to eat any of the salad mix) 1 block at lunch time and 1 block before bed. 2-3 shelled nuts in the evening. Is he molting for winter or it it a nutrition issue. I do not have a light for him as I was under the impression that the Henry's Blocks offered him all the Vit. D needed.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    His diet is a definite problem. You must try other veggies besides Spring mix. Try kale, watercress, escarole, endive, radicchio, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potato, red cabbage, sugar snap peas, avocado (no skin or pit they’re toxic), coconut chunks, papaya, apple, pear. Here’s the link to the healthy foods he should be eating. https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Pet-Squirrels

    Don’t give any nuts till he begins to eat veggies with his blocks. Henrys blocks are loaded with vitamins but they are meant to be eaten as a supplemental block in combination with healthy veggies and fruits…not in combination with nuts. Giving nuts to a squirrel when he doesn’t eat his veggies is like letting a toddler have ice cream instead of veggies.

    The hair loss could be from him pushing his nose through the bars of his cage and rubbing it off. It could also be from his diet.

    I fear with his diet he is a prime candidate for metabolic bone disease. MBD is the result of not enough calcium in the diet and too many high phosphorus foods, like nuts. The squirrels body tries to maintain the proper calcium to phosphorous ratio, but if he’s not getting enough calcium from foods then his body will pull the calcium from his bones to maintain the proper ratio. MBD is painful, causes hind end paralysis and eventually death if left untreated.

  3. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    cassgrimm (09-09-2021), sundoesshine (09-20-2021)

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    His diet is a definite problem. You must try other veggies besides Spring mix. Try kale, watercress, escarole, endive, radicchio, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potato, red cabbage, sugar snap peas, avocado (no skin or pit they’re toxic), coconut chunks, papaya, apple, pear. Here’s the link to the healthy foods he should be eating. https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Pet-Squirrels

    Don’t give any nuts till he begins to eat veggies with his blocks. Henrys blocks are loaded with vitamins but they are meant to be eaten as a supplemental block in combination with healthy veggies and fruits…not in combination with nuts. Giving nuts to a squirrel when he doesn’t eat his veggies is like letting a toddler have ice cream instead of veggies.

    The hair loss could be from him pushing his nose through the bars of his cage and rubbing it off. It could also be from his diet.

    I fear with his diet he is a prime candidate for metabolic bone disease. MBD is the result of not enough calcium in the diet and too many high phosphorus foods, like nuts. The squirrels body tries to maintain the proper calcium to phosphorous ratio, but if he’s not getting enough calcium from foods then his body will pull the calcium from his bones to maintain the proper ratio. MBD is painful, causes hind end paralysis and eventually death if left untreated.

    Thank you so much. He is my baby and am so worried about him. Do I still need a light for his cage?

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Lights can be helpful but they must be placed on top of the cage. The 10.0 UVA/UVB bulbs reach the furthest distance. You definitely don’t want the light shining into his eyes. It should be placed on a timer and operate about 4 hrs a day. The bulbs are only good for 6-9 months and then must be replaced as they lose their effectiveness.

    You can also create an outside cage which provides an opportunity for natural light, but it must also provide shade for him to escape from the sun. You also want to be sure there’s air flow around him so he doesn’t overheat and water for him to drink.

    Is there a medical reason he can’t be released? I ask because squirrels are a long term commitment. It’s very hard to acclimate a 3-4 year old squirrel to the wild once they’ve been captive for that long, so there’s no real good way to “change your mind” once you’ve had him that long. It’s been my, and many others, experience that squirrels make lousy pets. They typically will only allow one caretaker and may attack others. Also when he reaches sexual maturity at 1+ years old his personality could change….especially during summer months when biologically he knows it’s time to mate.

    I just want you to be prepared for what may lay ahead.

    Please work on getting him to eat some type of greens, other veggies and limited amounts of fruits. I forgot to list dandelion greens. You can purchase them in many grocery stores and are usually well liked.

  6. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Lights can be helpful but they must be placed on top of the cage. The 10.0 UVA/UVB bulbs reach the furthest distance. You definitely don’t want the light shining into his eyes. It should be placed on a timer and operate about 4 hrs a day. The bulbs are only good for 6-9 months and then must be replaced as they lose their effectiveness.

    You can also create an outside cage which provides an opportunity for natural light, but it must also provide shade for him to escape from the sun. You also want to be sure there’s air flow around him so he doesn’t overheat and water for him to drink.

    Is there a medical reason he can’t be released? I ask because squirrels are a long term commitment. It’s very hard to acclimate a 3-4 year old squirrel to the wild once they’ve been captive for that long, so there’s no real good way to “change your mind” once you’ve had him that long. It’s been my, and many others, experience that squirrels make lousy pets. They typically will only allow one caretaker and may attack others. Also when he reaches sexual maturity at 1+ years old his personality could change….especially during summer months when biologically he knows it’s time to mate.

    I just want you to be prepared for what may lay ahead.

    Please work on getting him to eat some type of greens, other veggies and limited amounts of fruits. I forgot to list dandelion greens. You can purchase them in many grocery stores and are usually well liked.
    I was given him when he was about a week old. He fell from a tree and we tried to get the mother to take him back but she wouldn't. I don't see anything that would prevent him from returning to the wild other than myself and my husband have fell in love with him. My father had 2 pet squirrels while growing up. I know and realize they are a lot of work and responsibility. We are up for the challenge though as I can't see a day without him snuggling with me. He is so loving and so much fun to play with. He has free reign of the house as long as we are home with him. He has a mansion of a house lol when we leave that he goes in. He also sleeps and naps it it as well. Just want to make sure he is healthy and has a good life.

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Quote Originally Posted by dfinley2229 View Post
    I was given him when he was about a week old. He fell from a tree and we tried to get the mother to take him back but she wouldn't. I don't see anything that would prevent him from returning to the wild other than myself and my husband have fell in love with him. My father had 2 pet squirrels while growing up. I know and realize they are a lot of work and responsibility. We are up for the challenge though as I can't see a day without him snuggling with me. He is so loving and so much fun to play with. He has free reign of the house as long as we are home with him. He has a mansion of a house lol when we leave that he goes in. He also sleeps and naps it it as well. Just want to make sure he is healthy and has a good life.
    By no means am I attempting to tell you what to do or what not to do here, but I think you may have missed a part of Mel's point.

    The point is this: There are very few squirrels content to be kept in captivity. Most people who have a 'pet' squirrel - especially one that was found in the wild - only keep the squirrel due to medical reasons that would prove a death sentence if released in the wild. This is because the overwhelming majority of mature squirrels do poorly with confinement. They often become malcontent and lash out.

    It is more likely than not that your snuggly baby will turn into a very wild adult - one that frequently draws blood from you via scratching and biting. This is referred to as 'turning wild' and happens around the time of sexual maturity. The common occurrence is that people want to hold onto that loving and affectionate baby, but the baby grows up and becomes, well, a wild animal. At this point they realize they have made a mistake, and by this point they have done a disservice to the squirrel because he has had human contact for so long that it makes release much more complicated and lengthy and, sometimes, impossible.

    Just my two cents. I do wish you and your little one the very best.

  9. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to cassgrimm:

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Thank you for all the advice. It really is appreciated. I removed all his nuts and have introduced more veggies from Henry's list. He liked the mushrooms for about 2 days. He refuses to eat them now. The only fruit he will eat is pomegranate and he will eat coconut chunks. He still refuses to eat any other veggies. Do I need to stop with the pomegranate and coconut until he starts eating the veggies? I give the veggies and pomegranate & coconut chunks to him everyday along with his blocks but he doesn't eat the veggies but will eat all the other.

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    Yes, I would definitely cut back on the pomegranate and coconut till you see him eating some veggies. Some squirrels can be incredibly finicky. If he continues this behavior it will present even more of a challenge for you to maintain his health in a long term situation.

    Cassgrimm hit the nail on the head with her explanation of why keeping a squirrel is not the best idea. Let me share my story.

    I rehabbed 3 little girls about 4.5 years ago. They were released at the appropriate age 16+ weeks in early summer. After release they stayed in my yard. Within a couple of weeks I noticed one of the girls up in the nest box and her eyes were squinty and she was in a head down position….classic “I don’t feel good” signs. I recaptured her and brought her inside.

    The next day I noticed she had a head tilt with nystagmus which is a sign of a neurological injury. A trip to the vet and extensive prednisone treatment followed by time to heal kept her inside for many months. During that time I interacted with her extensively because I didn’t know if she would heal well enough to be released. She became a sweetie and loved being cuddled and rocked every night before bed. .

    Because she was so sweet and gentle I considered keeping her, in spite of knowing it wasn’t in her best interest. I told myself that she really loved me and couldn’t make it in the wild.

    When March rolled around a switch flipped inside her. During one of our afternoon play sessions she bit me for no reason. She had never bitten me before and I immediately felt apprehension about interacting with her in the same manner I had in the past. She also began pacing at the windows while looking out….which is one of the biggest signs of wanting freedom. She was approaching sexual maturity and she knew that she was meant to procreate….not be rocked in a rocking chair.

    Since she had fully recovered with no sign of a head tilt I prepared her for release by putting her in the outside release cage. She adapted just fine and after a couple of weeks she was set free. She moved into a nest box in my side yard and she still lives there. She has had 5 litters of babies and although she no longer allows me to pet her she will jump on my shoulder and ride into the garage for a nut treat. This makes us both happy.

    This is my story. There are other cases, although exceedingly rare, where a released squirrel really doesn’t want to be free. Those situations are very different because it’s the squirrel making the choice, not the human making it for them.

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

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    Default Re: Bald Spot/Hair Loss

    I am a firm believer of not keeping wild animals unless they just chose to be with you. Please listen to the experts above. Unless u eventually want your house destroyed lol but even though they're adorable and like a pet they belong in the wild. He will get more wild soon. Bite ya to ur bone and hate your husband... trust me! Even if its a short time in the wild they will be more happy than 25 years inside. Huge commitment and clearly reading that diet you have no idea what you got yourself into and can't believe he's still alive. Please research on release process and fix that diet asap! Please please release!

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