Hi all!

My 1 year old red who I’ve been overwintering has been acting…strange. Some behaviors definitely consistent with what I understand as wilding up (yay!), but there are other behaviors that I’m not sure are good/natural/healthy…

So…Squeegee (the squirrel in question) did not wild at all last spring/summer. He just wanted to snuggle and play constantly. Always “oinking”, but never using other vocalizations of adult reds. This continued until yesterday.

I was gone for 5 days and Squeegee was being cared for by my roommate (he helped nurse him and is very knowledgeable about his care, but has not really been super involved with Squeegee since he was a teeny baby. He always brings him his daily morning food, but doesn’t stick around to hang out with him). The roommate’s updates told me Squeegee was mildly temperamental, but only the usual amount he is around other people (including the roommate). Well I get home yesterday and go to see him in his room, and he is PISSED. He attacked any bare skin he could find including my face. He wasn’t biting me hard enough to break skin or anything, but he certainly scratched the absolute heck outta me. He was using angry vocalizations too. So, I assume he’s finally wilding up. Whoo-hoo, he gets to safely be his true self! But….

Here’s the part that is worrying me. Could all be normal! I just don’t personally know. After yesterday, when that switch flipped, he apparently did not take the food brought by my roommate this morning, and my roommate said that he picked up two boo balls from yesterday uneaten and just laying on the ground. Squeegee usually takes the food directly out of your hand when you enter, but he wouldn’t even pay attention to it in his food bowl. Apparently he was attacking my roommate’s hands while he was holding the boo balls but was uninterested in actually eating them. I guess I assumed that wilding up would include an even higher food-drive, so when he was instead starting to ignore his food, I got worried that perhaps something else was wrong. I know some animals will get aggressive when they are in pain. I don’t think he has totally stopped eating, but it’s definitely odd to find boo balls from the previous feeding just laying discarded on the ground…

Is this normal? Or could there perhaps be an underlying concern?