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Thread: Flying squirrel Charlie won't eat healthy veggies.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Big Sandy, Texas
    Thanked: 0

    Default Flying squirrel Charlie won't eat healthy veggies.

    Hello, Squirrel Lovers!

    Last year, Dec. 5, 2020 Charlie (an adult Southern Flying Squirrel) broke into my house for thievery. Unfortunately, my two dogs (miniature long-hair dachshunds) wanted to play with him, but he was not having fun! So I rescued him from the dogs and put him in a litter bucket. Gave him food, water, and a stuffed squirrel for companionship. Still not a happy camper. It was evident that his left rear leg was broken. I cared for him for a week and he didn't die so I took him to a vet. I felt guilty because my dogs had hurt him and I was sure we would have to "put him down". After an x-ray the vet told me
    that the broken leg was an old wound that had healed over.

    That was a relief (not the $400 the vet charged), so I built him a cage in a bedroom I'm not using. It's a big cage- 3'wX9'lX12'h. For the first year I found the things he would eat. He loves pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Eats them every day. I also got him to eat fresh blue berries, fresh cranberries, grapes- all kinds, dried apricots, raisins, dried cherries. I've given him pecans (shelled and not), hickory nuts, and the occasional almond. I could not give him local pecans or acorns because by the time we found him last year the locals had cleaned up all the indigenous nuts.

    This year I'm collecting all the acorns I can, but my pecan trees (four very old, very large trees) didn't produce any nuts this year. None! In fact, I am supplementing the tree squirrels with peanuts. Every since I started giving him acorns, though, he won't touch any fruits and veggies. He still enjoys his pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, but even if I with hold the seeds he still won't touch his f & v. Not once, and it's been almost two months.

    Everywhere I look it says fruits and veggies are essential. What can I do? He really likes the acorns but is there anything else I can give him?
    Things I've tried unsuccessfully:

    I'm afraid' I've rambled too much as it is, but I'm open for any help.
    Thank you all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    East coast of Florida
    Thanked: 11682

    Default Re: Flying squirrel Charlie won't eat healthy veggies.

    Oh my! Where do I start?? His diet has got to change. Just about everything you posted that Charlie eats is unhealthy for him. Completely stop giving acorns….completely!

    There’s a couple of reasons for this. First he will not eat anything else if he’s given the option to have nuts or seeds of any kind. It would be like giving a toddler broccoli and ice cream and expecting them to eat the broccoli instead of the ice cream! It’s not likely to happen.

    Second it is fairly common for acorns to develop mold inside..especially if you are getting them off the ground. The mold can contain aflatoxins which can be fatal to squirrels. It is highly recommended that acorns be cut open and examined before giving them to a squirrel. This is especially true for a flyer because of their size and the ability of the aflatoxin to affect them.

    Does Charlie get any type of rodent block? It’s imperative that captive squirrels get rodent block. Henry’s healthy blocks are the most palatable and are usually very well liked, especially the Picky block. They must be purchased online from Henry’s pets. There are other blocks that are nutritionally good, but don’t taste as well… Envigo Harland Teklad 2018 (online), oxbow Regal Rat and Mazuri rat food.

    Rodent block is important because it provides a balance of nutrients and calcium. If squirrels don’t get calcium and are fed things like nuts and seeds, it upsets the calcium to phosphorous balance in their body. Nuts (pine nuts are the worst) seeds and corn are high in phosphorous. When phosphorous is high in their body their system tries to maintain the proper calcium to phosphorous balance and will pull out the necessary calcium from their bones. This creates a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease. MBD causes the bones to weaken and break easily, rear end paralysis and death if it’s left untreated.

    You didn’t mention that Charlie eats any type of protein. Flying squirrels need protein daily. The protein can be in the form of chicken, eggs, cheese or worms. Wax worms and mealworms are well liked but are also high in phosphorous so it’s not recommended to give them daily unless you dust them with pure calcium carbonate powder to balance out the high phosphorous. There’s a dog and cat treat product available at most chain pet stores called Pure Bites. It’s dehydrated chicken, nothing else added and manufactured in the US.

    My advice is to stop giving nuts and seeds of all types. A squirrel won’t starve to death if there are other options available. You have to use tough love.

    Here’s a list of healthy foods for flyers. Mushrooms are important because they provide vitamin D which assimilates calcium in the diet. My flyer also gets a dollop of full fat vanilla yogurt every night. He loves it. He also loves dried banana chips. I break the big chip into smaller pieces and give it as a treat instead of nuts. My flyer gets a half of an almond maybe once a week and about once a month or two I will give him a nut in a shell. That’s all the nuts he gets!

    There is a section on this forum that is devoted to flying squirrels. Towards the bottom of the page on the left is a heading titled “Breed specific, pet squirrels and UK information”. If you click on that it will open up a list of different types of squirrels. By clicking on Flying squirrels you can read what others have posted about their flyers.

    I hope you will take my advice and change Charlie’s diet immediately.

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

    Charley Chuckles (12-13-2021), Charlie (12-14-2021), Diggie's Friend (12-15-2021)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Big Sandy, Texas
    Thanked: 0

    Default Re: Flying squirrel Charlie won't eat healthy veggies.

    Thank you, Mel1959!

    Yes, Charlie is on Henry's Picky Blocks, but ignores it in favor of nuts and seeds. I have tried meal worms (not interested), mushrooms, chicken, eggs, cheese, all the same. I have been dusting his seeds with calcium carbonate from the beginning. I have only been giving him acorns because all the nature sites say it is their main source of food in the wild, and I only use nuts I pick off the trees because of worms.

    Thank you for the education, I will adopt your suggestions immediately. One thing, though, Charlie is a wild squirrel and even though he eats in my lap and searches my pockets for nuts - he hates me. Oh man, does he hate me! I'm sure that when I "rescued" him from my dogs he only saw me as another predator. It's taken a year of me sitting in his cage (3-4 hours a day), patiently talking, singing, and whistling to him to convince him I'm not going to eat him.

    Okay, though! No nuts, no seeds. Tough love. But I will tell you that in the past he has refused food (and even water?) if he doesn't get what he wants. Spoiled, probably. I know my dogs are.

    Thank you so much, Mel1959! Charlie's diet changes tonight!

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