Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    US
    Posts
    61
    Thanked: 8

    Default 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    I have had my rescue since she was 3.5 weeks old and she is now 8 months. She has always been super friendly and playful with both my daughter and I. The last couple months I’ve had to spend a lot of extra time working therefore my daughter has spent the majority of the time with her.
    We have noticed that, as I am usually the one who will bring her in treats and I used to hand feed her them, I had to stop and bring in a treat to place on the sill for her to take herself as each time she sees me, she runs over to my hands now for food. Recently, for some reason even when there hasn’t been a treat in my hand, when she sees them she will do a little pounce, scratch (mainly from the pounce) and let out a “rrrrrr” sound at me. It’s only when she sees my hands and never did this before. Meanwhile, she will lay on my daughter and nap, let her play with her and play wrestle- (I used to be able to do the same type of play) and I am sure that part of this is the bond she developed with her while I was working extra time. Also- as good as she is with my daughter, when she comes home from work smelling like fruit (she works at a smoothie shop), our girl is semi aggressive to her (it’s the only time she is) even when she showers and changes her clothes. Is she possibly going through puberty this early? Can you offer me any advice to stop the pouncing at my hands?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Cumming, GA
    Posts
    965
    Thanked: 1437

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Females go through puberty at around 10 months old. Males at around 11 months. But they can become aggressive (territorial) months before that.
    When you leave her for a period of time and then come back she has to readjust as you have been designated as an outsider, even if you are familiar.
    Yes, smell has a lot to do with identifying who you are, and increasing the amount of adjustment time.
    Ultimately most squirrels become aggressive to everyone who is not constantly there, and are no longer willing to adjust and let you back into their life.
    And as they hit puberty their 'territory' expands exponentially... and they will charge and bite people just because they entered the same room.
    Javarat
    GA State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator

    The Cumming Nuthouse Wildlife Facility

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    US
    Posts
    61
    Thanked: 8

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Javarat View Post
    Females go through puberty at around 10 months old. Males at around 11 months. But they can become aggressive (territorial) months before that.
    When you leave her for a period of time and then come back she has to readjust as you have been designated as an outsider, even if you are familiar.
    Yes, smell has a lot to do with identifying who you are, and increasing the amount of adjustment time.
    Ultimately most squirrels become aggressive to everyone who is not constantly there, and are no longer willing to adjust and let you back into their life.
    And as they hit puberty their 'territory' expands exponentially... and they will charge and bite people just because they entered the same room.

    And she would charge at just my hands? She’s always searching them for treats because I have always brought a treat in with me-lately I have not been handing her any but she still seems to just go after my hands if she sees them she doesn’t bite but she gives a little growl and scratch. And even though she spends the most time with my daughter she becomes aggressive towards her after she comes home from work but no other day. So, I should start increasing my time I spend with her and bonding time? My work schedule is becoming a little bit lighter than before so this will be more possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    SC (Madison)
    Posts
    5,978
    Thanked: 5800

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    If squirrels made good pets, there would be a lot more pet squirrels.

  5. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Spanky from:

    sundoesshine (12-28-2021)

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    colorado
    Posts
    264
    Thanked: 245

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Quote Originally Posted by DanniCristina View Post
    And she would charge at just my hands?
    In my research on the board, read that squirrels with aggression towards hands, may be interpreting the "hand" as another squirrel, thus attacking it. In my case it didn't matter if my hand was holding a nut, in fact that made it worse as our squirrel thought "the hand" was Stealing his nut. Some say to never hand feed squirrels in captivity for this reason.

    Squirrels become tolerant of usually 1 person (if that, and sometimes only partially) when maturing. I personally think it's more of a random instinctual thing and no one should take it personally if they aren't the chosen one. As far as territory, our releases' territory expanded to our entire property overnight, and he saw my husband as competition to attack. That's when I found this board and learned it was all just par for the course in squirrel world.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    US
    Posts
    61
    Thanked: 8

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Quote Originally Posted by sundoesshine View Post
    In my research on the board, read that squirrels with aggression towards hands, may be interpreting the "hand" as another squirrel, thus attacking it. In my case it didn't matter if my hand was holding a nut, in fact that made it worse as our squirrel thought "the hand" was Stealing his nut. Some say to never hand feed squirrels in captivity for this reason.

    Squirrels become tolerant of usually 1 person (if that, and sometimes only partially) when maturing. I personally think it's more of a random instinctual thing and no one should take it personally if they aren't the chosen one. As far as territory, our releases' territory expanded to our entire property overnight, and he saw my husband as competition to attack. That's when I found this board and learned it was all just par for the course in squirrel world.

    Thank you for this. We had tried to do a soft release once and she wasn’t ready. She cuddles up on my daughters lap, lays on her back and lets us “wrestle” with her, cleans us, but now it’s been more so my daughter than I, and I am sure that it is because she spends the most time with her over the last few months than I was able to. This last week I’ve been spending more time with her to hopefully re-establish the bond I had with her. So my daughter and I are both with her for playtime more so than just my daughter. Now that she is 8 months, is there a possibility she will become more aggressive as she gets older? I know when they go through puberty they can- but, will they calm down after and as she ages?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    3,043
    Thanked: 2998

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    It is obvious that her reaction is all about food and territory from having having come into her own, that is entirely normal for this age. Recommend that you only feed her in a food bowl placed just off to the side of the cage door, where you can slip food into a dish.

    If it's your goal to support a release for this squirrel this coming Spring, it is best that you stop letting the squirrel out of its cage and playing with it, in order to limit contact to what may be absolutely needful to support a Spring release.
    Last edited by TubeDriver; 12-29-2021 at 02:46 PM.

  9. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Diggie's Friend from:

    DanniCristina (12-29-2021)

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,843
    Thanked: 11682

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    I will second what Spanky said above….SQUIRRELS MAKE LOUSY PETS! They are unpredictable and can randomly bite or attack, they’re messy and will chew furniture, windows, drywall etc……..and they’re hard wired to be wild and live in the trees.

    There will always be some squirrels that choose to have a life in a cage indoors but that’s not the norm. As they mature they tend to get more restless and sometimes aggressive during mating season.

    They are a long term commitment….as long as 10 years. Unfortunately once they’ve been captive for several years it becomes very hard to release or re-home them if your situation changes and you are no longer in a position to keep them. Having a knowledgeable vet that will see your squirrel is also a really good idea if you aren’t releasing.

    You might try another soft release in the Spring when there are buds on the trees and temperatures are warmer. Older squirrels when released fair much better in my opinion. I released a female at about 8 months old about 5 years ago and she still lives in a tree at my house, visits daily, jumps on my husband and myself for treats and has had about 5 litters of babies. It’s a win-win situation in my opinion.

  11. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    DanniCristina (12-29-2021), Diggie's Friend (12-29-2021), sundoesshine (12-29-2021)

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    38
    Thanked: 8

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    I’m a bit confused on information I am receiving. If squirrels need at least like 4-5 hours of out of cage time and need to be supervised so they do not get into anything then how do we do just not let her out of the cage until spring? Even if we let her out of the cage and tired to limit interaction a lot of the time she comes up to us to play and for pets. How can we leave her in a cage for months would she not go stir crazy and potentially hurt herself?

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
    Posts
    8,843
    Thanked: 11682

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Asteria View Post
    I’m a bit confused on information I am receiving. If squirrels need at least like 4-5 hours of out of cage time and need to be supervised so they do not get into anything then how do we do just not let her out of the cage until spring? Even if we let her out of the cage and tired to limit interaction a lot of the time she comes up to us to play and for pets. How can we leave her in a cage for months would she not go stir crazy and potentially hurt herself?
    I’m not sure what you’re asking? Is this a squirrel you intend to release in the Spring? Are you questioning if you should continue to interact with her until she goes to the release cage? If that’s your question then my answer would be “yes”. I interacted with my injured girl up until she matured enough and decided she wanted her freedom. At that point she became unpredictable about biting so it was easy to limit my interaction. Then once she was put in the release cage interaction was limited even further. She wilded up, was released and lives in my yard……..and remains friendly on HER terms.

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

    Chirps (12-31-2021)

  15. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    38
    Thanked: 8

    Default Re: 8 months old- growling and scratching my hands

    Thank you! Someone above had said not to let them out and interact with them until release so I was confused. By spring she will hopefully be ready she hasn’t shown any neurological issues expect not getting the hang of things too quickly.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •