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Thread: Question: When can I put my rescue squirrel outside?

  1. #1
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    Default Question: When can I put my rescue squirrel outside?

    Pretty sure I have an eastern fox squirrel. Temperatures by me at night are at or just below freezing and daytime temperatures are in the 40's and 50's. I see other squirrels running around outside. I'm building the outdoor enclosure to prep for a release back to nature. She'll have a nice nesting box in her enclosure but I'm not sure if it's okay to put her out in these temperatures. I had planned to wait until Spring but she seems very restless and ready to go. Should I wait or can I move her out when her enclosure is finished in about a week?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Question: When can I put my rescue squirrel outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jgee View Post
    Pretty sure I have an eastern fox squirrel. Temperatures by me at night are at or just below freezing and daytime temperatures are in the 40's and 50's. I see other squirrels running around outside. I'm building the outdoor enclosure to prep for a release back to nature. She'll have a nice nesting box in her enclosure but I'm not sure if it's okay to put her out in these temperatures. I had planned to wait until Spring but she seems very restless and ready to go. Should I wait or can I move her out when her enclosure is finished in about a week?
    These temps seem too cold to place a young squirrel outside - especially on its own. She has not learned how to scrounge for food, does not know how to build a nest and may have very limited ressources to do so, has nobody to snuggle up to when the temps drop...
    Even if you provide her with a nest box, she might get evcited from it by more savvy/doominating squirrels, might even be evicted fro the territory... how then would she find food and shelter?

    I would definitely wait until spring. If outside, then I would leave her in a release cage, with a well isolated nest, and provide her with food... at least until the temps get up enough at night to sleep under the stars.
    "In the midst of our lives we must find the magic that makes our souls soar."
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Question: When can I put my rescue squirrel outside?

    I agree. You want to give a young squirrel the best possible chance for survival. The wilds that are outside have acclimated to the colder temperatures of winter gradually. That won’t be the case with your young rescue. Yes, it’s common for them to become restless, but at this age they don’t know what’s best for them.

    I’m not sure how large your release cage is but the bigger the better if you are thinking about placing her in it for an extended period of time. As scooterzmom said, you could place her in there for the remainder of the winter PROVIDED you have a nest box with lots of fleece to snuggle in and your release cage provides shelter from wind and rain. If it’s large it will allow her the freedom to run and jump on branches you’ve secured inside and to be safe from the possibility of having her nest box stolen by another squirrel. This way when spring rolls around she’ll be very well adapted to life outdoors. You could look into the chewproof heating pads that can be placed under a nest box to help with warmth through the winter.

    I don’t know if the cage she’s currently in is portable but if it is you might consider placing it out on a patio for a few hours where she can begin to adjust to the cooler temps. The cage has to provide at least partial shelter from the sun.

    Squirrels released when they are older seem to always fair better. IMO.

  4. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    ddhall (01-13-2022), Scooterzmom (12-26-2021)

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Question: When can I put my rescue squirrel outside?

    My most basic rule is to not release until I see spring blooms on the trees (their primary food source).
    Food source is more important than temperatures.
    They can find ways to stay warm, but cannot find food that does not exist.
    Javarat
    GA State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator

    The Cumming Nuthouse Wildlife Facility

  6. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Javarat:

    ddhall (01-13-2022), Mel1959 (12-28-2021), Scooterzmom (12-28-2021)

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