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Thread: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

  1. #1
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    Default squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Hi,

    First time post!

    I look after a number of wild squirrels in a local park here in the city & saw yesterday 3 young squirrels (perhaps 5 weeks old) begin to venture out of the tree den very timidly while the mother remains behind in the tree den. I know the mama is there because she often is peering out. The babies didn't get very far from the tree, and retreated back to the den after several minutes or so. I don't know how often they have ventured out like this into the world without mama. I should also note --- that she & her babies have been peer out of the den the last week and a half out of what could be great fear of the ongoing construction in the street going on in the street right below their tree. The construction is constant and a bit of a ruckus & will probably continue for two more weeks. So looking for advice. It would be greatly appreciated!

    Also wondering if any of this is a sign that she is ill?
    Should I worry about her & them getting food/water? Maybe she is too afraid to come down for water & food?

    I always try to be careful not to attract predators or attracting people to their tree. She knows me pretty well, recognizes my calls. Feeding her since last year. But I wouldn't want to make things worse for them. Thanks....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    I should have added to the above that I have not seen the mom down from the tree in about two weeks & since the construction has been going on. And previously have been greeting her every morning on the walkway & on the lawn.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    i dont think they would be venturing out if they were only 5 weeks old, and squirrels become self sufficient shortly after they leave the nest for the first time. BUT if the mother is injured or something its possible that they have gotten hungry and desperate? or you havent seen the times the mother has left the nest throughout the day. OR mama is just telling her babies to go out and grow up in the real world. lol.

    but if they are old enough to climb down and back up to the nest, i wouldnt worry too much.

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    If you could post a picture that would help. A five week old squirrel should not be venturing from the nest, if they are truly 5 weeks.... at five weeks they have just opened their eyes and are very uncoordinated. The do what my grand kids call "the dinosaur walk".

    Fall babies will frequently over-winter with mom. This is true in my part of the South and I would think this behavior is even more prominent in the North.

    Squirrels are not really "self sufficient" until they are 4 months old or so... and even then THE most precarious part of their lives will be their first year.

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Hi Madeesawn & Hi Spanky,
    Thank you for replying. I may have their age wrong, they certainly had their eyes open but were walking a little clumsily,. i.e., the 'dinosaur walk' mentioned by Spanky. The one that got closest did not seem afraid at all as my partner & I approached and got quite close. I did not throw it a peanut because I didn't want to encourage it at some a young age to approach humans. Maybe I made a mistake? My biggest fear is that the squirrels -- especially mom -- are too fearful to comedown the tree for food because of that goddamn construction, which includes noise and white steam bellowing directly under their tree. The work is non-stop. Can she starve as a result?
    Thanks again for writing, I check on them every day....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Attach a can to the tree with some food... even if it is just nuts and seeds for now. I really think she'd relocate her babies if she were that concerned about the construction, of course I don't know what the overall situation is...

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post

    Squirrels are not really "self sufficient" until they are 4 months old or so... and even then THE most precarious part of their lives will be their first year.
    sorry i think "shortly" could have been taken as various periods of time

    i just meant that they wander and all the squirrel mamas i have watched personally dont chase after them, and dont help them back to the nest at night (sad) and start to see their babies as competition very soon after they wean. all what i see as tough love.. aside from ainstakingly grooming them about 3 times a day lol.

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Latest update: they're all ok!
    Saw the mom this morning burying some almonds I had left the night before & her three babes were out on the tree, playing. A big relief! We reunited after a few minutes of her (I think) rearranging her cache, scurrying to and fro. She looked thinner but didn't seem phased from the construction and constant steam enveloping the area. I think the young ones are getting ready to embark on their own -- which brings new worries, of course.
    Thanks to everyone who responded!

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Hi! Its been a little over two months since my last response on this thread & I'd thought I'd provide a little update.
    Of the three babies, at least one -- I call her Chip -- still survives. Chip has a very badly injured paw which cannot even be used to walk on. As well as a broken tail that she incurred about a month ago. I worry about Chip a lot. She has a beautiful face, very peaceful, and is very precious.
    About a week after the three started leaving the nest, I only would encounter two: Donny (an adorable male with big doll eyes) and Chip (female). Now only Chip.

    The mother, Columba, is a very tough and very smart squirrel. I have known her the longest. She is very friendly to me. She is so territorial however that she always chases not only other squirrels when I am feeding them a little something but also her own youngsters. This bewildered me at first. But I imagine this behavior is perhaps unusual for many mothers? At one point Chip and Donny took off on their own at one point, even crossed a busy downtown street, (which I wasn't happy about!) to stay in their own tree together for a couple nights. I can't help wonder if they were escaping their mean mom just for a few nights.

    Anyway, their lives are not easy. I try my best to make them safe and comfortable. But that isn't easy either. They live in an urban park, lots of people, lots of refuse, and a fair amount of animal predators. They mean a lot to me. I intended to upload a short video or two but can't seem to do it at the moment. Thanks for reading. I feel like I owe it to these squirrels that more people know about them!

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Quote Originally Posted by loveallsquirries View Post
    The mother, Columba, is a very tough and very smart squirrel. I have known her the longest. She is very friendly to me. She is so territorial however that she always chases not only other squirrels when I am feeding them a little something but also her own youngsters. This bewildered me at first. But I imagine this behavior is perhaps unusual for many mothers?
    I have noticed for many years in my own backyard, that I feed the mothers outside my back door; then they have babies, and as soon as the babies have left the nest, they come to me at the back door. To which many mamas begin vocal chattering their teeth in a warning and then if they don't back off, she chases them off. I am most certain that she is not warning them about me. She is saying this is my food source and she is protecting it. When I first saw this I found it odd. But it just seems to be what it is.

    The babies then usually learn to wait in the trees until their mom gets her nuts, and after she has run off, they come to me and get their nuts.

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    As you noted, squirrel lives are hard and full of danger. I am sure that they will appreciate getting some treats during the winter when food is scarce. Has Chip's paw healed at all?


    Quote Originally Posted by loveallsquirries View Post
    Hi! Its been a little over two months since my last response on this thread & I'd thought I'd provide a little update.
    Of the three babies, at least one -- I call her Chip -- still survives. Chip has a very badly injured paw which cannot even be used to walk on. As well as a broken tail that she incurred about a month ago. I worry about Chip a lot. She has a beautiful face, very peaceful, and is very precious.
    About a week after the three started leaving the nest, I only would encounter two: Donny (an adorable male with big doll eyes) and Chip (female). Now only Chip.

    The mother, Columba, is a very tough and very smart squirrel. I have known her the longest. She is very friendly to me. She is so territorial however that she always chases not only other squirrels when I am feeding them a little something but also her own youngsters. This bewildered me at first. But I imagine this behavior is perhaps unusual for many mothers? At one point Chip and Donny took off on their own at one point, even crossed a busy downtown street, (which I wasn't happy about!) to stay in their own tree together for a couple nights. I can't help wonder if they were escaping their mean mom just for a few nights.

    Anyway, their lives are not easy. I try my best to make them safe and comfortable. But that isn't easy either. They live in an urban park, lots of people, lots of refuse, and a fair amount of animal predators. They mean a lot to me. I intended to upload a short video or two but can't seem to do it at the moment. Thanks for reading. I feel like I owe it to these squirrels that more people know about them!
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: squirrels leaving nest with mom still inside

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    As you noted, squirrel lives are hard and full of danger. I am sure that they will appreciate getting some treats during the winter when food is scarce. Has Chip's paw healed at all?
    Hi TubeDriver,
    No, Chip's left paw seems to be permanent. She hobbles to and fro but manages.

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