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Thread: Release help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2023
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    Virginia
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    Question Release help

    Found mine after storm had weakened nest I think and presumably was an owl, was at night and saw huge bird.
    Was on ground all night squawking and mom never came. Took care of him. He is about a month and a half to 2 months old.
    Want to set him free now because not getting along with wife and keeps peeing on me, after she was the one that rescued him but maybe because I'm the one that plays with him the most and put everything together in cage and nest in cage.

    We are in kind of rural area in Westmoreland county Virginia and don't want to just let him go to be mauled by other squirrels or by a predator too soon.
    Have a squirrel net thing he can run around and outside to get him more used to be an out there, but don't know if I could just take his current stuff and put up on a low branch of a tree 8ft up to start or just let him build his own.
    Before we got stuff for bottom, had Already accidentally released him when was shaking off sheets we had at bottom of cage and didn't know he had curled up in there to sleep I thought he was in top nest area and he didn't wake up or come out whole time I was cleaning bottom out. Then when shaking them out before laundry, he pops out freaked out and took off running every direction before realizing there was a tree there and ran up it.
    But after a few minutes he ran back down and up me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    NE Beleriand
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    Default Re: Release help

    Most folks here will suggest waiting until at least four months old before releasing. With late winter/early spring babies, some will also wait a bit longer so the release is in late August or early September.

    Either way, you will want to build a release cage (there is an entire forum on cage ideas here at TSB). You will want your little guy out in the release cage 24/7 for at least a couple weeks, some prefer as long as a month.

    Note also that being in a release cage in the middle of the summer might be too hot - wild squirrels are up in the treetops during the middle of the day, so yet another reason to wait until late summer.

    The time in the release cage gets your little guy used to the outdoors and just as importantly gets the local squirrels to accept him, meaning he will have a much better chance of remaining in the area after release.

    The release cage needs a nest box or somewhere to sleep, and obviously you need to provide water, food, shade, etc. Depending upon what you rig up for sleeping, you may need something over part of the top so the sleeping area stays dry.

    Once it is time to release, you simply leave the cage door open. Most young squirrels will return to the release cage to sleep. And with a fall release, there is a good chance they will sleep there until the next spring.

    If it is untenable having your little guy in the house, you might figure out if you can rig up a large cage with sufficient shade where he can spend the summer, perhaps with a double door or some way for you to get inside without him escaping.

    Some people also work out a combination indoor/outdoor cage connected via a window.

    Good luck!

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