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Thread: Hello from the Northwest USA!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Location
    Northwest USA
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    Thanked: 9

    Default Hello from the Northwest USA!

    Hello, I'm fairly new to TSB and the care of squirrels in general. I ended up here because on May 21st a close family friend contacted us needing some help because their pigs were in labor and someone had just given them baby squirrels to take care of. They were found in a camper someone purchased from out of state, and when the people who found them called a rehabilitation center they said to let them die. Squirrels are completely unprotected in my state, you can take them in if you want or kill them, nobody really cares. But we didn't want the babies to die, so we ended up with 5 baby squirrels. they were still blind and had some pink on their bellies and only very short hair on the rest of their bodies. When I got there my friend had already made sure they were hydrated, and they were in a shoebox with a fleece blanket and a heating pad on low underneath them. We did some research, got them on goat's milk, fresh and raw from a local farm, and started taking care of them feeding every three hours through the night. My friend did most of it in the beginning, but after a while she was drowning in work between her other animals and her kids, so she began leaving them with me in shifts of a few days at a time.

    By the time they'd opened their eyes at what we estimated to be about 5 weeks old, we got them rodent blocks to begin offering as well (the rodent blocks from Exotic Nutrition). by this time one of the boys in the litter had passed away, nobody knew why. My friend opened the cage one day and he was gone. we lost another to bloating, someone offered him more milk than he could really handle but he was a pig about his milk. 2 more went down from AP pneumonia, due to improper and inexperienced feeding. (In my opinion we let far too many people feed them, I would've liked a more controlled, focused environment, but my friend let her children feed them as well even though they continued to not pay attention and accidentally aspirate the squirrels and usually not even stop feeding them while they were aspirating until they were told to. Her kids ARE experienced with the care of many animals, but squirrels are a whole separate thing. I know now I should've voiced my concerns about their involvement with the feeding sooner.)

    At 6 weeks, one Squirrel was left. My friend said she had thought about it and wanted me to keep him. I have no complaints; especially since she wants to help buy him equipment, chewing toys, perches, treats, and even help me invest in a very large cage setup for him as he gets older. I have changed my methods of feeding this boy his milk, he eats it from a saucer now and he enjoys it plenty. His name is Frankie and he is doing very very well.

    I did have a question about feeding and introducing solid foods, I've been slowly introducing foods i know to be good for him such as bok choy (which he LOVES) Broccoli (another favorite), and some small amounts of radishes, celery, and cucumber. As well as offering 1-2 rodent blocks a day. He gets 1 nut at the end of the day, after he has eaten his other healthier foods. usually an almond or hazelnut.

    He is currently 7 weeks old, and behaving as such, but he does seem small to me compared to other 7 week old squirrels I've seen other post photos of, is that something I should be concerned about? (I will be weighing him today and I'll reply to this thread with his weight and some photos for reference.)

    Otherwise, he seems to be doing wonderfully! He is becoming very squirrely, with healthy amounts of activity, and he loves to play with me by wrestling with my hands. He'll chase them if I drag them along the carpet, and if one touches him he rolls on his back for me to softly tickle him and "get him". After some playtime he usually wants to snuggle and take a nap either in my lap, on my shoulder, or under my shirt collar with his head poking out the top while he lays on my back/neck. I love the little guy, he really is sweet. I've always liked squirrels but never really knew the depth of their intelligence, emotions, or needs. I'm still very new to this of course, but I like to throw myself headfirst into anything I do, and totally commit. It's already been a difficult but beautiful learning experience, I can't wait for the years to come of him growing up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    City Island, Bronx, NY
    Posts
    50,830
    Thanked: 16698

    Default Re: Hello from the Northwest USA!


    Welcome to The Squirrel Board, Fuzzy Fae. Gotta say it: I so wish you would have been given all the babies to keep from the beginning. Somehow I believe you would have been more consistent and thoughtful than your friend was, and more would have survived.

    As a wildlife rehabilitator for these past 17 years, I must give you the reality first: squirrels do not make good pets. I know you love him and want him with you forever, but as you acknowledge their intelligence and constant need for exercise and stimulation you must realize that they belong in the trees. I get it, he's from out of state and grey squirrels are not appreciated at all in your part of the USA. But if there is any way you can safely release him to where there are others of his species I strongly encourage you to do that.

    In the meantime, DIET is key to keeping him from the dreaded MBD that affects so many captive squirrels. Study the food pyramid if you haven't already, and resist the urge to feed him too many nuts even though eventually those will be what he craves. See if you can get him to eat better quality blocks than Exotic Nutrition: nothing they make is really good quality, unfortunately. Envigo Teklad and Mazuri are better blocks. Also give him the supplemental Henry's Healthy Blocks every day -- see what flavors he likes and be consistent with them as they provide all the calcium a squirrel requires daily.

    Be prepared for him to "go wild" and start being destructive and even bitey. There is so much here on TSB that I don't need to re-invent the wheel. Squirrels are awesome creatures and we all love them unconditionally around here.....we just know the reality of what's best for the squirrel (vs the Disney version)
    .

    Again, Welcome and we are glad you found us!

    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

  3. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to island rehabber:

    Charley Chuckles (06-20-2022), Fuzzy_Fae (06-20-2022), stepnstone (06-21-2022)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Location
    Northwest USA
    Posts
    10
    Thanked: 9

    Default Re: Hello from the Northwest USA!

    Thank you so much for the food advice! I have done studying on the food pyramid, and I'm glad to finally hear some feedback about the exotic nutrition blocks besides just people saying "the animals like them". I will look into the other blocks.
    I do love watching him eat nuts, but I hear lots about them not being supposed to eat many, so I use them as a treat or a bribe.
    I do know that he may very well do better out in the trees when he gets older, and I'm 100% prepared to get him safely released if that is the best option. At the moment I worry about his acceptance of other humans, as well as dogs and cats. He's extremely trusting, but of course he's only a baby. I'd only keep him if it was truly in his best interest; I never sought him out as a pet haha.
    That being said, my father is a log home builder and has worked with wood his whole life, and we are going to build him basically his own house for while he is with us. I refuse to let him hate his cage. Partially indoor, with a section to get totally out of the elements and away from the weather (where his nest box will go) and with a caged outdoor section where he can go play in the sun, and enjoy the vitamin D (I'm taking him outside daily in his current cage for that too). There will be lots of toys, branches, and hideaways for him too.
    Frankie's energy and need for attention is very very large yes; but at the moment I needed something in my life to focus on with this kind of immersion and dedication, so right now we're great for each other. What's best for frankie later could easily be different, and I'm prepared for that, and thank you for the experienced advice! Name:  20220619_171610.jpg
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    P.s. Frankie weighed in at 90grams exactly on his 7 week old weigh in.

  5. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Fuzzy_Fae:

    island rehabber (06-20-2022), McCarthy (06-21-2022)

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    City Island, Bronx, NY
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    Thanked: 16698

    Default Re: Hello from the Northwest USA!

    Oh I stand corrected, Frankie is a little red! I believe that means he is not as vilified b y fish and wildlife authorities as the Eastern Gray squirrels are. You might actually be able to get that help for him if necessary ..But being a red means hes going to be twiceas hyper and twice as needing to be in the trees than any grey squirrel would.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

  7. Serious fuzzy thank you's to island rehabber from:

    Fuzzy_Fae (06-21-2022)

  8. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Location
    Northwest USA
    Posts
    10
    Thanked: 9

    Default Re: Hello from the Northwest USA!

    He is a red? I was told he had to be a grey 😅 how can you be sure by the photos; how can I tell?

    Also, in my state, red, grey, and fox squirrels are all unprotected

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    18,595
    Thanked: 8185

    Default Re: Hello from the Northwest USA!

    He is teeny compared to a gray, but the white eyeliner gives him away. You guys also have Douglas Squirrels which are a grayish version of the little reds, but the streak of red in his tail says he is a little red. The most adorable little demons around!

  10. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to CritterMom:

    Fuzzy_Fae (06-21-2022), island rehabber (06-21-2022)

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