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Thread: Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

  1. #1
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    Sep 2023
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    Default Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

    We are taking care of a young squirrel, and as we are doing it for the first time, we are looking for help. Maybe you can share some advice.

    None of the organizations could take it, and even though we have received limited advice, there is no person who can help us, considering that this squirrel was born late in the summer.

    We found it on Sep 1, and estimated it was around 4-5 weeks old. Eyes were opened already. It has a big cage with a nest, wooden nesting house and lives in our sun-room. We plan to
    release her, but there are two problems:

    - It is a single animal, no other squirrels to grow up with
    - It was born late, so not a lot of time before the winter starts

    We plan to release it in our backyard, so it still has access to a sun-room and cage for hiding and so we can help with food. We will not risk releasing it to a completely wild environment.
    Our backyard is big and private, even though there are houses around us

    We don't know if we should try to release it in the fall, or should we wait until spring? We are worried this will be too long under our help.

    Right now we are still feeding it with formula and waiting for rodent blocks (not available locally). We also try to provide natural food: acorns, maple seeds etc. We also give some
    carrots and apples. But it is really hungry for formula and not very good at trying other food. We made mistakes with berries and nuts at the beginning but now we don't provide that
    anymore.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    East coast of Florida
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    Default Re: Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

    Thank you for stepping up and helping this little one. Honestly, he is too young to be released this year. Babies born in the late Fall should be over-wintered and released in the Spring. His chances of surviving his first winter by himself are slim. If you lived somewhere like Florida hed have a chance, but sadly not in Canada. He will lack the knowledge to build a nest, will have no one to snuggle with to stay warm and has no cache of nuts for him to make it through the winter with. The trees will soon be losing their leaves which makes him vulnerable to predators. I know you say youll provide food, but your extreme temperatures are not very forgiving, especially for a new little guy..whos alone.

    Your best bet is to keep him till Spring or find someone that can take him and keep him through the winter to release in the Spring. He will probably continue to drink formula for several more weeks. We dont recommend squirrels be released till about 16 weeks old. Your little one is around 8-9 weeks old.

    Im going to reach out to some admin folks and see if we have any members near Ontario that could help you.

  3. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Mel1959:

    Grinderhead (09-26-2023), island rehabber (09-26-2023), SamtheSquirrel2018 (09-26-2023)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

    Thank you. It would be great to have someone to take it, as we have zero experience, but we have tried everyone we could with no luck.

    If anyone can help with advise, it would be great. Mainly:

    - Is sun room good for winter? It will be cold but not as much as outside and we can improve the nest insulation.
    - How to feed it during that time?
    - How we should spent the time with the squirrel since it is alone, but without affecting behaviour too much (not being afraid of humans).
    - How to encourage it to start using nesting house we build? It is placed in the cage but we don't see any interest.
    - How to improve her environment in the sun room so it can be closer to what is outside? We have some branches to climb, some leaves in the container to dig in, but maybe more is needed.

    Anything that will help.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

    Quote Originally Posted by andrzejek View Post
    Thank you. It would be great to have someone to take it, as we have zero experience, but we have tried everyone we could with no luck.

    If anyone can help with advise, it would be great. Mainly:

    - Is sun room good for winter? It will be cold but not as much as outside and we can improve the nest insulation.
    - How to feed it during that time?
    - How we should spent the time with the squirrel since it is alone, but without affecting behaviour too much (not being afraid of humans).
    - How to encourage it to start using nesting house we build? It is placed in the cage but we don't see any interest.
    - How to improve her environment in the sun room so it can be closer to what is outside? We have some branches to climb, some leaves in the container to dig in, but maybe more is needed.

    Anything that will help.
    I have overwintered then released six squirrels - four single males plus a brother/sister pair. (And I have two sisters this winter....) My location is much closer to Ontario than Florida, and I absolutely agree with Mel that this little guy should not be released this year.

    A sun room ought to work fine, provided they have lots of fleece, etc. to make a snug nest. If it gets really cold out there, you could always work out a way to have a heating pad on LOW under part of their sleeping area - obviously you need to do this so that they are not able to reach the heating pad, cord, etc., as they will chew whatever they can reach.

    There is lots of information on this site about how and what to feed.

    If you are planning on giving them the run of your sun porch, then please consider:
    (1) Will they be visible to passerby, etc., and if so, is keeping a squirrel legal in Ontario? If not legal, then discretion is important and you might need a different location.
    (2) They will chew, so you need to make sure there is nothing on the porch that you mind being chewed and nothing there where they will hurt themselves.
    (3) Provide branches to climb and chew, a large container with dirt or mulch where they can dig, etc.
    (4) Toys, etc. - Give them lots of options so they can play and explore.

    I do not generally have them with their nest box until they go in their release cage. The reason is that I tried this once with a 3-4 month old and they chewed their nest box to where it was no longer useful. So prior to the release cage, I tend to use fleece hammocks with bedding inside. I also give them leaves and branches, as they like to help line their own nest.

    Mine have been overwintered in a large cage in my office with supervised play time out of the cage twice a day, usually on my sun porch. While others may disagree, especially with a single squirrel, I spend lots of time interacting with them out of the cage. With mama or siblings, you are their family. They will be cuddly when younger, but as they get older, many will be happy to perch on you, eat from your hand, etc. but not want you to actually hold them. A few will get aggressive and territorial with you - one of my six did this. They are each different, so you need to pay attention and let them show you what they want and need from you.

    Good luck!

  6. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to olorin19:

    island rehabber (09-26-2023), SamtheSquirrel2018 (09-26-2023)

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2023
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    Ontario
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    Default Re: Squirell Born Late in the Season Release

    Quote Originally Posted by olorin19 View Post
    I have overwintered then released six squirrels - four single males plus a brother/sister pair. (And I have two sisters this winter....) My location is much closer to Ontario than Florida, and I absolutely agree with Mel that this little guy should not be released this year.

    A sun room ought to work fine, provided they have lots of fleece, etc. to make a snug nest. If it gets really cold out there, you could always work out a way to have a heating pad on LOW under part of their sleeping area - obviously you need to do this so that they are not able to reach the heating pad, cord, etc., as they will chew whatever they can reach.

    There is lots of information on this site about how and what to feed.

    If you are planning on giving them the run of your sun porch, then please consider:
    (1) Will they be visible to passerby, etc., and if so, is keeping a squirrel legal in Ontario? If not legal, then discretion is important and you might need a different location.
    (2) They will chew, so you need to make sure there is nothing on the porch that you mind being chewed and nothing there where they will hurt themselves.
    (3) Provide branches to climb and chew, a large container with dirt or mulch where they can dig, etc.
    (4) Toys, etc. - Give them lots of options so they can play and explore.

    I do not generally have them with their nest box until they go in their release cage. The reason is that I tried this once with a 3-4 month old and they chewed their nest box to where it was no longer useful. So prior to the release cage, I tend to use fleece hammocks with bedding inside. I also give them leaves and branches, as they like to help line their own nest.

    Mine have been overwintered in a large cage in my office with supervised play time out of the cage twice a day, usually on my sun porch. While others may disagree, especially with a single squirrel, I spend lots of time interacting with them out of the cage. With mama or siblings, you are their family. They will be cuddly when younger, but as they get older, many will be happy to perch on you, eat from your hand, etc. but not want you to actually hold them. A few will get aggressive and territorial with you - one of my six did this. They are each different, so you need to pay attention and let them show you what they want and need from you.

    Good luck!
    Thank you. What kind of toys, you recommend to get for it?

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