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Thread: Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

  1. #1
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    Default Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

    Hi again guys it's me asking for help with now 18 week old Elliot!
    I posted a couple weeks ago asking about him still wanting formula and his desire has not decreased at all! He still happily drinks his FV every day from a bowl!
    Backstory! When we found Elliot he had fallen from his nest and momma never came back for him. He was alone and I have baby fever so I took care of him. After warming him up I went to give pedialite and noticed his lower lip was torn and bleeding so I cleaned it and applied Saline and antibiotic ointment. It healed fine but he has been a VERY messy eater since the start even when I was feeding him one drop at a time!

    My new question is this: how much "shredding" is normal when a squirrel his age eats? Everything I feed him, veggies, blocks, fruits, nuts etc is shredded and he does not come back to clean up the small pieces, he eats what he wants of one piece and goes for another. If I leave the shredded pieces In his cage, he will not eventually eat them when he gets hungry, he will cry for more food lol
    That's fine, I have plenty of salad and broccoli plus blocks for him!!
    I worry this extreme shredding is because he cannot chew well. I noticed he eats every bite of softer foods so I began to steam his broccoli, cauliflower and carrots but he still shreds the blocks and will not eat them at all if they're wet.

    He also seems to have issues drinking from a shallow bowl or even a plate with water or milk ( he drinks water just fine from the hanging cage bottle)
    He keeps his mouth level with the surface of the liquid but there is still a lot of sneezing and sometimes sqeaking when he drinks. I cannot continue to give him milk with the miracle nipple/syringe because he chewed it to shreds and choked on a piece of the nipple at like 13 weeks. I gave him his milk from an XS size hanging water bottle for awhile but it got so messy and he ended up licking it off the plate he ate on anyway so we switched to a bowl.

    He continues to gain weight and act like a normal spoiled squirrel. (He is being overwinter in the house and I plan to release in spring)
    Is this behavior normal for a squirrel his age? Am I freaking out about nothing? What have you seen that's similar to this? Thank you all so much for your wonderful forum and helpful, encouraging comments 😊
    I love this group!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

    Have you used a popsicle stick or tongue depressor to hold his mouth open and look at his teeth? Do the align correctly, top to bottom? Their teeth are designed to move side to side slightly, so donít be alarmed by that. You want to be sure that he has no problems with his teeth prior to releasing.

    My flyer shreds his block and never goes back and eats the crumbs. I hope others chime in with what their guys do.

    As for being messy about drinking from a bowl, that might be normal. You can put clean pebbles or marbles in the bowl and that will help keep him from sticking his nose too far into the liquid. I know young gray squirrels are incredibly messy when they eat yogurt. . Have you tried him on yogurt? My flyer gets a spoonful of full fat vanilla yogurt every night. He loves it.

    There are folks that recommend slightly steaming veggies because it helps the nutrients be absorbed better. If heís having a difficult time eating them if they arenít steamed it might be cause for concern, which is why I recommended the visual exam.

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

    SquElliot (01-21-2022)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

    Mine are all messy and they don't care because they know they have a good maid service
    Pieces of food shredded everywhere, it's a squirrel thing.

    You mentioned the sneezing, maybe like Mel said, could it be his nose is getting into the water
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Have you used a popsicle stick or tongue depressor to hold his mouth open and look at his teeth? Do the align correctly, top to bottom? Their teeth are designed to move side to side slightly, so donít be alarmed by that. You want to be sure that he has no problems with his teeth prior to releasing.

    My flyer shreds his block and never goes back and eats the crumbs. I hope others chime in with what their guys do.

    As for being messy about drinking from a bowl, that might be normal. You can put clean pebbles or marbles in the bowl and that will help keep him from sticking his nose too far into the liquid. I know young gray squirrels are incredibly messy when they eat yogurt. . Have you tried him on yogurt? My flyer gets a spoonful of full fat vanilla yogurt every night. He loves it.

    There are folks that recommend slightly steaming veggies because it helps the nutrients be absorbed better. If heís having a difficult time eating them if they arenít steamed it might be cause for concern, which is why I recommended the visual exam.
    Yes I have checked to make sure they're aligned right! I wedged a qtip in there and they go together fine and they're ground down.

    He does eat them even if they're not steamed, he just seems to actually be consuming more when they are steamed, if that makes sense!

    I will have to try the yogurt I'm sure he will love it! Thanks for your advice 😊😊

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    Default Re: Is this an eating issue or normal behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    Mine are all messy and they don't care because they know they have a good maid service
    Pieces of food shredded everywhere, it's a squirrel thing.

    You mentioned the sneezing, maybe like Mel said, could it be his nose is getting into the water
    😂😂 I figured as much! I think he tries to outdo his mess from yesterday each day! He sets personal goals like that 🤣😂🤣
    I would like to have him eat a piece of food on a plate so I can catch the shreds and weigh before and after so I know how much he is getting but that hasn't happened yet lol

    I just worry he's shredding so much because he has a hard time eating but I'm also a worrier!
    I'll try the rocks in the milk tomorrow! It's a good idea thank you 😊

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