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Thread: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

  1. #1
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    Default Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    New squirrel mom here! To a rescued northern flyer, ChiN ChiN. I believe she was only a couple months old when she came to us & my guess is sheís maybe 6 months old now.. this is my first experience with such a wondrous creature so Iím constantly reading & researching.. to make sure I can give her the very best care I can. At the moment, Iím struggling with remedying some hair loss at the tip & along the spine of her tail. I noticed this about a month back, and from other readings on this board suspected it may be due to too much calcium as I had made sure to order some squirrel-cal powder by exotic nutrition. I was sprinkling on her veggies regularly for a few months along with Henryís hi protein healthy blocks & picky bites when I noticed her hair starting to split at the tip of her tail & thin along the middle. I have pulled back on the calcium the last couple weeks but it appears as though the fur is continuing to reseed and upon another inspection just minutes ago, I noticed there are a couple of thinning spots on her back as well.. now I wonder if mites arenít the culprit?? Please help! What should I do first? Where do I start?
    Any and all knowledge & advice welcomed. Please and thank you

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Can you get a good, clear pic so we can see what you are seeing?

    The Henrys food is supplemented so you don't need to add ANY additional vitamins or minerals. If your girl is eating a whole block or even 1.5 per day along with other healthy veggies and limited fruit, she needs NOTHING sprinkled on her food.

    I am interested to see her. Just about everyone who thinks they have northern flyers actually have southern, since their range goes very far north. My boy Laz is from north central Maine and is as southern as they come!

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Oh Thank you so much for your reply! This is the clearest picture I could get this morning, I will try and get a few more. The second picture I included is from September 14, when her tail was still full. It never occurred to me she could possibly be southern! That's so fascinating to me! The only physical distinction I have read about is SFS are slightly smaller than the NFS. I'll be interested to hear back what you think of ChiN ChiN, my boyfriend's cat brought her in during the night at the end of June in North Idaho.

    I have been doing my best to follow the food pyramid I found on this site, but it is unclear to me the exact amount of veggies I should be feeding her? I try to keep a variety and I see mushrooms are good, are there any particularly good ones or mushrooms I should be weary of, besides wild picked? I want to give her the very best care I can but I am fearful I'm still falling short as I am brand NEW to this. I graciously accept all advice & guidance anyone is willing to share with me, on all aspects of her wellness. Thank you
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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    What color is her tummy? Southern = white tummy, Northern = gray/beige tummy.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    I'd say beige, I was able to snap a couple more pictures!
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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    I think she is our very first northern flyer! Cool!

    Is the skin in the areas where the fur is thin smooth and healthy looking or is there any irritation?

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    HRT4SQRLS (10-22-2021)

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    She is definitely darker than my Southern Flyer but I’m still not certain. Here is a way to tell.
    Split the hair on the belly with your fingers.
    If it is light colored all the way to the root… it is a Southern Flyer.
    If the hair on the belly is light colored on the tips and is a darker gray at the root… it is a Northern Flyer.

    As far as the hair loss I don’t think it’s a problem at this point. Of course if it gets worse then it might need attention. I have seen many with the hair loss pattern on the tail. Some do that year after year and it regrows. My Bonzai even did it once. I’m not sure of the hair loss on the back. Does he have a nest box? Could he be scraping his back going into the box? I don’t like to randomly start putting chemicals on them. I doubt this is mites.

    I don’t think this is the problem but just for future reference, flyers have been known to ‘barber’ their hair when they are stressed. They will pull out their own hair. You can tell by the hair loss pattern. The hair loss is in areas they can reach. Again, that’s not the problem with your girl.

    I agree with the others, I would not sprinkle calcium on the food. I do it rarely because my one flyer is inconsistent in eating his block. As long as she eats her block you shouldn’t need to supplement. Does she eat meal worms or WaxWorms for protein?

    Edit, just saw C M post. She definitely looks different.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    She is!? ReaLLY!!? That is exciting!! Smooth & healthy, she doesn't seem bothered by it, in the slightest.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Her tail looks enormous! How long is her tail?

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    She is definitely darker than my Southern Flyer but Iím still not certain. Here is a way to tell.
    Split the hair on the belly with your fingers.
    If it is light colored all the way to the rootÖ it is a Southern Flyer.
    If the hair on the belly is light colored on the tips and is a darker gray at the rootÖ it is a Northern Flyer.

    As far as the hair loss I donít think itís a problem at this point. Of course if it gets worse then it might need attention. I have seen many with the hair loss pattern on the tail. Some do that year after year and it regrows. My Bonzai even did it once. Iím not sure of the hair loss on the back. Does he have a nest box? Could he be scraping his back going into the box? I donít like to randomly start putting chemicals on them. I doubt this is mites.

    I donít think this is the problem but just for future reference, flyers have been known to Ďbarberí their hair when they are stressed. They will pull out their own hair. You can tell by the hair loss pattern. The hair loss is in areas they can reach. Again, thatís not the problem with your girl.

    I agree with the others, I would not sprinkle calcium on the food. I do it rarely because my one flyer is inconsistent in eating his block. As long as she eats her block you shouldnít need to supplement. Does she eat meal worms or WaxWorms for protein?

    Edit, just saw C M post. She definitely looks different.
    Thank you so much for the feedback! As far as the fur on her belly goes, the tips are beige but it gets lighter towards the middle but definitely gray at the base! I do give her a couple meal worms in the evenings. Is that sufficient? I alternate between Henry's hi protein block & the wild bites in the morning. She LOVES her blocks. She only needs one block a day then? I've been giving her one to two. Then I give her veggies when she wakes in the evenings around 7pm But I've noticed she wont finish them until 6 or 7 am.. I'm wondering if there isn't a better routine I can implement with her food schedule? What amount of veggies should I be giving her?

    Ooh! (Face PaLm) I wonder if she isn't scraping her back on my ceiling! I live in an apartment so I ran some thick bands of burlap along my ceiling to give her extra play room, runways & height. I'll go through and loosen them in the places I can see are closer to the ceiling, see if that doesn't improve things!
    Thank you sO soO much for helping me make some discoveries today!

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    Wink Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Her tail looks enormous! How long is her tail?
    haha At least 5 inches! At a glance with a ruler. Any tips on getting an accurate measure?

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    I think she is barbering her tail. My flyer did that to the whole topside of his tailÖonly along the actual tail. He kept it up for months. I had a vet look at it and she was the one that told me thatís what she thought it was. Then one day he must have just decided to stop because tiny little hairs started appearing. This was a couple of years ago so it happened in his first year of life.

    Iím not sure about the other places of hair loss on your girl. If you look real close with a magnifying glass maybe you can see where the hair strands have been cut very close to the skin, indicating barbering.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Gray roots is definitely a Northern Flyer. Cool!

    I feed my boys in the evening. I give them everything then. Mine get a single block but your flyer will probably be bigger than my boys so 2 is probably OK. Yes, a couple meal worms is fine. Try WaxWorms. My boys prefer them over the meal worms.

    Iím probably not a good judge of amounts. I give mine entirely too much. What they donít eat I toss out. It doesnít affect Bonzai as he is a tiny guy but Tucker is a porker and needs to go on a diet. He is 9 yo so Iím just going to let him eat. Bonzai is 11yo.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I think she is barbering her tail. My flyer did that to the whole topside of his tailÖonly along the actual tail. He kept it up for months. I had a vet look at it and she was the one that told me thatís what she thought it was. Then one day he must have just decided to stop because tiny little hairs started appearing. This was a couple of years ago so it happened in his first year of life.

    Iím not sure about the other places of hair loss on your girl. If you look real close with a magnifying glass maybe you can see where the hair strands have been cut very close to the skin, indicating barbering.
    If it is barbering, would this be something I'd notice her doing frequently, if at all? What would make her want to do this & is there anything I can do? Or is it out of my hands?

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Gray roots is definitely a Northern Flyer. Cool!

    I feed my boys in the evening. I give them everything then. Mine get a single block but your flyer will probably be bigger than my boys so 2 is probably OK. Yes, a couple meal worms is fine. Try WaxWorms. My boys prefer them over the meal worms.

    Iím probably not a good judge of amounts. I give mine entirely too much. What they donít eat I toss out. It doesnít affect Bonzai as he is a tiny guy but Tucker is a porker and needs to go on a diet. He is 9 yo so Iím just going to let him eat. Bonzai is 11yo.
    AWESOME! I am learning so much Okay! That's what I have been doing! Giving her a dish of a variety of veggies at night and whatever she doesn't eat, I toss in the morning. Phew! I have been so worried I've been over feeding her. Do you have a suggested brand or where to purchase wax worms?

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by RoseHawk View Post
    If it is barbering, would this be something I'd notice her doing frequently, if at all? What would make her want to do this & is there anything I can do? Or is it out of my hands?
    I think it might be out of your hands. It might be stress and an adjustment period that rectifies itself, like mine did. The fact that their nocturnal we really donít get to observe their behavior so much. She is probably doing it while youíre sleeping.

    I got my guy a wheel and he loves it! The wheel needs to be at least 12Ē diameter with no cross bars that can pinch toes or tail.

    This is similar to what I have but mine is plastic. My guy has chewed the track once, but luckily it was replaceable. https://www.exoticnutrition.com/Prod...t__ENC308.aspx

    The wheel alleviates boredom.

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by RoseHawk View Post
    AWESOME! I am learning so much Okay! That's what I have been doing! Giving her a dish of a variety of veggies at night and whatever she doesn't eat, I toss in the morning. Phew! I have been so worried I've been over feeding her. Do you have a suggested brand or where to purchase wax worms?
    Check the local pet stores that sell lizards and such; they usually carry live insects. In my area, it is Petco - every person in a 75 mile radius who buys bugs knows when they get their bug shipments (about noon, Tuesdays and Fridays ) and the place is like Walmart on Black Friday but everyone has bugs clutched in their hands! Ordering them just doesn't work - the shipping charges are insane and with ONE flyer you don't need to buy in bulk (regardless of what she claims) so you are at the mercy of the pet stores.

    Go through them and throw away and dark or black dead ones. Keep them in the warmest area of your refrigerator, unless you just happen to have a 45 to 50 degree root cellar...

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post

    I got my guy a wheel and he loves it! The wheel needs to be at least 12Ē diameter with no cross bars that can pinch toes or tail.

    This is similar to what I have but mine is plastic. My guy has chewed the track once, but luckily it was replaceable. https://www.exoticnutrition.com/Prod...t__ENC308.aspx

    The wheel alleviates boredom.
    Good grief Mel, that wheel is expensive.

    This is a cheaper wheel. It is very similar to the Stealth Wheel. The Stealth wheel company went out of business.
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/1053469...on0=2191782171

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    ThaNk you aLL for such wonderful guidance! I really appreciate you taking the time to get back to me! I'll check out a wheel! Her absolute favorite thing to do during her waking hours, is flips in her cage. She uses a fabric tunnel/bed in her enclosure/ cage to consecutively bounce off, then leverages from the top back down, over and over - I have videos- she is always doing this, even when her doors are open. Which is most of the time unless I'm asleep. I think of it as her wheel.. I wonder if an actual wheel will bring her just as much joy!? I'm willing to try! I will work on finding her some Waxworms!

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    Default Re: Need guidance! Northern Flyer with hair loss

    Sources recommended to include in the diet of your Northern flying squirrel:

    Camilles Vita-mealies Recommend dried superworms, about a Tsp. daily.

    https://vita-mealie.weebly.com/dried...-listings.html

    Pet Flora Probiotic with Prebiotic aka: Symbiotics that replaces the consumption of soil ingestion in the wild (geophagy) that all tree squirrels require a replacement for in captivity. This source both supports a healthy immune system of which over 70 percent is located in the intestinal tract and digestion of calcium lowering anti-nutrients common to their diets. (1/64 the Tsp.)added daily, mixed into a moist food.

    https://www.amazon.com/Vitality-Scie.../dp/B005PJN2HO

    Pycnogenol, and extract of the cambium layer of maritime pine to in part replace the source of cambium inner layer of tree bark this species consumes. 1/64 Tsp. added daily, mixed into a moist food.

    https://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Orgin.../dp/B00CLYNA14

    Huckleberries, a natural wild food that is part of the wild diet of this species. "Oregon Mushroom LTD". Feed approximately 1 Tbsp. daily. Very healthy source from a pristine region of the Pacific NW https://www.oregonmushrooms.com/c-75...leberries.aspx

    https://www.oregonmushrooms.com/p-13...ni-powder.aspx
    https://www.oregonmushrooms.com/p-11...nterelles.aspx

    Wild harvest mushrooms by experts. Oregon Mushroom. Recommend dried ground Porcini domestic, Chanterelles domestic, and Yellowfoot (winter chanterelles) domestic (check back later in the season for this mushroom to be available. All these mushrooms are wild harvested from the wild habitat of the Pacific Northwest wild forests, dried and ground by "Oregon Mushroom LTD". 1/8 Tsp. mixed into moist food. Best to call for best shipping available in the winter to place order.

    https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi60.pdf

    Some information on the diet of the Northern flying squirrel of the PNW. Not all the articles are pertinent to captive care of course; so look for the portions of articles on the wild diet of this species on this multi article cache page.

    The photo of a northern included in one articlesure looks allot like the flyer you have.

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