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Thread: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

  1. #1
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    Default Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Hello!

    I need some advice regarding a squirrel who made a home in my attic. Long story short it took me 3 weeks to catch him but I did... right as the freezing weather started. He cannot live in my attic, but it's cold outside and he had a good 30 pounds of walnuts stored up there. I have already removed 23.2 pounds of those walnuts.

    So now I have this squirrel who I can't in good conscience release into the cold. I was also gunna wait to release him after his entry point was repaired...which STILL HASNT HAPPENED. I'm in an HOA so that's a whole separate thing. Regardless, I don't know what to do with this little bugger. Do I house him over the winter, or can I release him when the hole is fixed....which could easily be a few more weeks given how long I've been on them about this.

    I considered looking up a rehabber who might have a better space for him to winter, but I'm afraid they're gunna yell at me or shame me for capturing a squirrel. Also almost every rehabber specifies orphaned or injured only. This squirrel could pass as injured, because his back right leg doesnt seem to work, it just kinda dangles there...i think something might be up with his tail too but he functions just fine and stored 30lbs. of walnuts by himself. Prior to capture, I'd see him trying to get to my bird feeder right along side the other squirrels. It took a while to notice why exactly his gait didn't look quite right.

    Im frantically searching for advice but nobody is talking about what to do about evicting an attic squirrel this close to winter. The most advice I've seen about it is "drive them out before its cold." ...welp...too late for that...so now what....

    The cage he's in now is too small for long term housing, I know that much, but do I need to overwinter him because its so close to winter? I'm not opposed to building an enclosure, but it would have to be placed in my garage (which has a long tall picture window) or up against my house on my little porch area as to not call the attention of the HOA (I can't have like, structures in my little yard). I just feel so bad watching him on the little camera I set up to monitor him. He just wants out and I'm like "dude, I can't let you out because you'll go into my attic and be either trapped or abruptly blocked out."

    Any advice on what to do here? I'm stuck...also it's an American red squirrel...no idea how old.

  2. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Dust_Remover from:

    MyBushyTail (11-17-2022)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Im sure somone that knows the laws in your area better than me will probably hop on here but if not i definitely know that if you let him go before any entry point is fixed he will be right back in the attic in less than 5 mins looking for his stash . If no one more knowledgeable about your area answers id go ahead and contact a rehabber im sure somone has the number for a good one in your area that will take care of them on here . Anyhow good luck

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    I believe here that most babies are at age to be on their own but was just wondering if yours could be a female with babies? Hopefully some others will be able to help you out with letting go or overwintering. Good luck and thank you for caring enough to be helping this squirrel.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Would it be so bad to just let it stay there, at least for the winter? Are there wires etc. that it could chew and cause a fire? I've had Eastern greys living in the roof over one part of my house for years. (Knock wood.)
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    Would it be so bad to just let it stay there, at least for the winter? Are there wires etc. that it could chew and cause a fire? I've had Eastern greys living in the roof over one part of my house for years. (Knock wood.)
    That was honestly my first thought and im deff still considering it, but the squirrel is doing major damage to the insulation and I can't really afford to have him doing his business up there for several months. Plus the HOA will be sealing his entry point so he's either going to be trapped inside the attic or out of it just before the bitter cold sets in. I'm not sure if he's chewing any wires, but I do know there was at least one wire near the area where he hangs out/stores the walnuts. ...The walnuts are also rotting and molding so they've got to come out too.

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by MyBushyTail View Post
    I believe here that most babies are at age to be on their own but was just wondering if yours could be a female with babies? Hopefully some others will be able to help you out with letting go or overwintering. Good luck and thank you for caring enough to be helping this squirrel.
    I didn't see any squirrel nipples, so I don't think this squirrel is a mom...i also really hope not because I would feel so bad about catching her.

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust_Remover View Post
    That was honestly my first thought and im deff still considering it, but the squirrel is doing major damage to the insulation and I can't really afford to have him doing his business up there for several months. Plus the HOA will be sealing his entry point so he's either going to be trapped inside the attic or out of it just before the bitter cold sets in. I'm not sure if he's chewing any wires, but I do know there was at least one wire near the area where he hangs out/stores the walnuts. ...The walnuts are also rotting and molding so they've got to come out too.
    Ah, yes, definitely risky to let it stay there. Even if not, the HOA is involved now so must follow through.

    Re. the walnuts, it is mind boggling to me that they put so much effort into creating a stash that will be mostly useless and potentially hazardous to their health.
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    Ah, yes, definitely risky to let it stay there. Even if not, the HOA is involved now so must follow through.

    Re. the walnuts, it is mind boggling to me that they put so much effort into creating a stash that will be mostly useless and potentially hazardous to their health.


    You should have seen the video of this squirrel tackling and wrestling with a ball of insulation. It was the cutest thing but also, I was worried lol. Is there any reason the walnuts would be bad for the squirrels other than the insulation?

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust_Remover View Post
    You should have seen the video of this squirrel tackling and wrestling with a ball of insulation. It was the cutest thing but also, I was worried lol. Is there any reason the walnuts would be bad for the squirrels other than the insulation?
    You mentioned that they were decaying. Unless you have ever actually SEEN what walnuts start out as - not the shiny, buffed pale beige things you see in the store at the holidays, but completely encased in a tough, green skin and flesh - almost like the hardest, toughest peach in the world, which rots off after the green balls fall to earth. It turns dark brown (and was used to dye fabric a LONG time ago) and slimy and disgusting, but one you strip THAT off you have.........a walnut! I am guessing walnut trees don't grow where Chirps lives.

    I always though it would be cool to have one in the yard until I saw what the ground under them looked like after the nuts fell!

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    I have a walnut tree. The fruits mature in July (which is apparently two months earlier than everyone else's for some reason), right on the heels of the mulberry crop. My squirrels go to town on them. Many have brown stains around their mouths during the walnut run.

    But I have been perplexed by the stashing of so many items that will not survive the process as anything edible, and which can be potentially life threatening. It seems an incredible waste of time and energy, and the only thing I can conclude is that enough remain edible to make it worth it to the squirrel. Thinking mostly acorns here, that get buried a couple of inches down but often are just "buried" in moist, rotting leaf litter to rot along with everything else. (Talking grey squirrels now, not reds. Maybe reds in general find or know safer places to store their food.) Are the walnuts in the attic the whole, round green ones or the inner nut like what is sold in stores as the "whole" nut?

    Also, what is happening with your situation?
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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    Default Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    You mentioned that they were decaying. Unless you have ever actually SEEN what walnuts start out as - not the shiny, buffed pale beige things you see in the store at the holidays, but completely encased in a tough, green skin and flesh - almost like the hardest, toughest peach in the world, which rots off after the green balls fall to earth. It turns dark brown (and was used to dye fabric a LONG time ago) and slimy and disgusting, but one you strip THAT off you have.........a walnut! I am guessing walnut trees don't grow where Chirps lives.

    I always though it would be cool to have one in the yard until I saw what the ground under them looked like after the nuts fell!
    No, you're right. The actual nut part of the walnut is fine (i assume), but that green (now brown) slimy exterior that decays is what looks kinda moldy. But you mentioning that the exterior was used to dye fabric back in the day, I'm thinking maybe what I thought was mold would just be insulation that absorbed color and stuck to the outside of the hard part that protects the nut part. And omg walnut trees are soooo messy. I had one walnut tree growing up and it would always drop it's leaves first...and there's so many leaves....but then also I was nervous to be under that tree when the nuts started falling. Those nuts make such a thud when they hit the ground.

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    Talking Re: Need some advice about an attic squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirps View Post
    I have a walnut tree. The fruits mature in July (which is apparently two months earlier than everyone else's for some reason), right on the heels of the mulberry crop. My squirrels go to town on them. Many have brown stains around their mouths during the walnut run.

    But I have been perplexed by the stashing of so many items that will not survive the process as anything edible, and which can be potentially life threatening. It seems an incredible waste of time and energy, and the only thing I can conclude is that enough remain edible to make it worth it to the squirrel. Thinking mostly acorns here, that get buried a couple of inches down but often are just "buried" in moist, rotting leaf litter to rot along with everything else. (Talking grey squirrels now, not reds. Maybe reds in general find or know safer places to store their food.) Are the walnuts in the attic the whole, round green ones or the inner nut like what is sold in stores as the "whole" nut?

    Also, what is happening with your situation?
    The walnuts were put into my attic when they were green and I pulled a lot out when they were, I think the exterior mostly decayed so they were definitly wet and...aromatic lol. It's been about a month since i've gone up there to remove more, but the ones i did remove have no flesh left and are just the pit. In my basic nature experience, the walnuts are much much sturdier than acorns. They're kinda like peach pits...so when the peach flesh rots away, there's this rock sized capsule left over that protects the edible nut within.

    As for my situation, I've had the squirrel in my garage in a bird cage the size of a dog cage for about 2 weeks and I've been feeling guilty about the confinement the whole time. It turns out there is a second red squirrel who made an appearance in the attic twice over the last two weeks. The way he acted makes it seem like he had just discovered it and wasn't part of the nut storing. The local handyman showed up on Thanksgiving and may have finally found and patched the hole. I was really considering letting the squirrel out now that the hole is patched and it's going to be kinda mild for a few days, but i'm still concerned he'll rip off the wire mesh that the handyman installed, or that he doesn't actually have another nest in a nearby tree and won't have time to build a new one before it gets super cold again (the nights are still pretty cold despite the mild day temperatures).

    I've been pricing larger/taller cages that I can use or build and finally came up with a good plan. I was perusing facebook marketplace and just found a tall outdoor aviary type thing thats about twice the size of what the squirrel is living in now. I plan to transfer him into the bigger cage and kinda do a soft release with the larger cage. After the squirrel establishes himself a nice little nest inside the aviary, I plan to just open the door and he can leave and go back to any nest he may already have, or if he wants, he can come back to the cage to sleep at night.

  14. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Dust_Remover:

    Chirps (11-26-2022), MyBushyTail (11-27-2022)

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