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Thread: Attempt to release or keep?

  1. #1
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    Question Attempt to release or keep?

    Hey everybody! This site has been absolutely essential these last 8 months while raising my eastern grey squirrel Sammi.

    He hurt his toenail and it fell off ~4 months back and I don't think I would've made it through without this site's help. Add in the living/nutrition and you've all truly been lifesavers.

    I rescued my baby from a homeless lady back in September. She wanted us to give him a better home. And we did. He by all means seems to be a happy and healthy little squirrel. I'm now hitting the point where I'm wondering if we try to push him outside or keep him domesticated.

    He is extremely close to me. He will let me cuddle him, climb all over me, and even let me hold him. I'm the only person he is this comfortable with. The rest of the family can give him food and maybe some light petting, but not the climbing or the holding.

    His routing is more so. I let him out of the cage in the morning. We snuggle a little bit. He'll go up to his perch and be stoic. Snack. And then he'll go over to his outside cage. He will run in himself so I know it's time to let him outside. I'll put him in the outside cage for 1-4 hours under a tree in the shade. After he comes in he usually wants to go to his spot to relax, get some water, or play with me a little.

    There's been a time or two I've left the door open after bringing the cage in. After like an hour or so he'd get curious and wonder outside. I've let him explore the side of my house a few times without a harness. He usually adventures until he gets scared and then runs back. With maybe one of the times he got really excited and wanted to explore so I brought him back in the house.

    That brings me to the question should I be trying to soft-release him in my backyard? Or should I just try to get a harness on him and give him outside time? I live in a farmland residential suburb. It's relatively pretty calm. I see some greys running around. And once you go farther towards the farm or the bike paths you find more easter greys. The plan would be to bring his big cage to the side of my house and leave him in it for a week or two. Then open the cage and let him wander free.

    My biggest fear is that he loves his domesticated life of blankets and snuggles. I would feel like a villain if I pushed him out and he didn't want to go. I feel like he would be able to survive on his own. But another part of me feels like he is too used to his fresh veggies and blocks. I've had him since he was a baby. One of his eyes were closed. I fed him a bottle for the beginning months of his life. He truly doesn't know anything else besides co existing in human environments. We have a good setup of sticks, branches, etc that he has turned into his own stomping grounds. I feel like he is more than content living his luxurious life but I wouldn't want to hold him back from the life he can have. Even though I just want to keep and cuddle him forever. I want to make sure I at least give him the option if he'd like to.

    And that brings me here. How do you know if you should push them out or keep them domesticated? He's been my favorite animal I've had to pleasure of taking care of. I feel like I've given him a great life. And it seems like we're at a breaking point between the two. I just want to make sure I make the right decision to continue giving him his best life.

    Would love any insight from people who have more experience with the process or squirrel behavior in general. Is there any signs or behaviors I can look for? I'd love to have some solace in my decision before choosing to domesticate him forever or let him have a chance in the wild. Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    What is the age of this squirrel?
    Squirrel Advocate

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    You've done an Excel excellent job 👍
    It's always hard to release, that said sometimes keeping them they eventually wild up and want their freedom.
    If you choose soft release as you described is best.
    You can still keep the door open once released and keep putting food water, if he goes back in it at night you can shut the door. Open it in the am.
    Usually they will keep using their release cage for a time till they decide to build their own home.
    Good luck I know how hard it is and hopefully he will stick around for you ❤️
    Eventually males can travel up to 5 miles looking for the ladies 😁 but many times come back 👍
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
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    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Curious.....You say eastern grey but Sammi sure looks like a fox squirrel with that golden brown tummy ?? I'm in NorCal and we have a yard full of wild foxes and some are big squirrels. The eastern greys here are rough 1/2 the size of the foxes and have white tummy. For age, you rescued squirrel in Sept/2023 with one eye open, its now May/2024. Age is about ~9 months old now. Great job raising Sammi and glad to hear TSB has helped you along the way.

    Someone on TSB will give you much better guidance for your question. I'm not a rehabber so no experience on releases.

    Mr.SSG

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by supersquirrelgirl View Post
    Curious.....You say eastern grey but Sammi sure looks like a fox squirrel with that golden brown tummy ?? I'm in NorCal and we have a yard full of wild foxes and some are big squirrels. The eastern greys here are rough 1/2 the size of the foxes and have white tummy. For age, you rescued squirrel in Sept/2023 with one eye open, its now May/2024. Age is about ~9 months old now. Great job raising Sammi and glad to hear TSB has helped you along the way.

    Someone on TSB will give you much better guidance for your question. I'm not a rehabber so no experience on releases.

    Mr.SSG
    I thought foxer too 🤔
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  6. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Charley Chuckles from:

    supersquirrelgirl (05-13-2024)

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    I thought foxer too 🤔
    See that was my first guess but over time I convinced myself he was an eastern.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    What is the age of this squirrel?
    About 9 months

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by izzyd View Post
    See that was my first guess but over time I convinced myself he was an eastern.
    i did the same thing
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    You've done an Excel excellent job 👍
    It's always hard to release, that said sometimes keeping them they eventually wild up and want their freedom.
    If you choose soft release as you described is best.
    You can still keep the door open once released and keep putting food water, if he goes back in it at night you can shut the door. Open it in the am.
    Usually they will keep using their release cage for a time till they decide to build their own home.
    Good luck I know how hard it is and hopefully he will stick around for you ❤️
    Eventually males can travel up to 5 miles looking for the ladies 😁 but many times come back 👍
    I appreciate the kind words and insight!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by izzyd View Post
    See that was my first guess but over time I convinced myself he was an eastern.
    I vote fox. Cal Grey is 1/2 size.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Just curious, how much does he weigh ??

    No way to get the wilds up on the scale!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Attempt to release or keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by izzyd View Post
    About 9 months
    I'd vote release.... but I always vote release for a perfectly healthy, relatively young, squirrel.

    Animals_SquirrelsAreNotPets.pdf

    I care for for more Non-Releasable squirrels than I ever intended... missing limbs, partial paralysis and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injuries) and even a couple blind squirrels. They range from extremely friendly to given the opportunity they make me quickly regret letting my guard down around them. The males are more aggressive in my experience. I have a couple males that I have no problem letting them out of the cage for a while, but I'd never, ever reach for them... ever! I have learned the hard way they will attack me and bite me and shred my hand... and sometimes my arms and back. They do not like a hand to reach for them. This includes one I raised from a baby that is missing a rear leg.... he is not having any of this cuddling or petting! Despite that he crawls all over me, digs in my pockets and takes treats from my hands and all is well as long as I respect his space... and never, ever reach for him.

    I have others (all females) that are snuggle bugs and are as sweet as can be.... to me. Other folks, not so much And that is an understatement).

    Squirrels are mostly one-person critters, though there are exceptions to be sure. And I suspect one-squirrel households may make a difference... bit I have no experience with that.

    I would never, ever... ever ever ever... trust my non-releasables out of their cages around my younger grandchildren. I even have a 40 year old son that... despite how many times he has been bitten... continues to try to interact with these squirrels that want nothing to do with him!!!

    I have a teeny-tiny 12 year old NR flyer that terrifies my wife... but is sweet as can be with me! In all the years she has been with me I am not sure she has ever given me a serious bite.... she bites my wife every single chance she gets. And I mean blood drawing bites.

    To be successful they will need many week with limited contact in the release cage so they "wild up" and learn people are not all friendly (or maybe unlearned that some people are not friendly?). Sometimes these releases become regular visitors and you interact with them for a long time... I have had several that lived here for many, many, many years on my property... daily visitors I watched some raise many families and have fulfilling lives and they still visited me often... best of everything IMO.
    Squirrel Advocate

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