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Thread: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    Hello
    I have been feeding and providing fresh water to squirrels for almost 20 years in our
    National Wildlife Foundation Certified Wildlife Habitat.

    At no time have we tried to make pets of the squirrels, but when we have found squirrels
    with special needs, we have made sure to feed them extra quality diets. For three years
    a squirrel with a bad back leg was able to eat and drink here. We now have one whose right
    eye is missing. Also, one we called "Vincent" because half of its left ear is missing.

    I'm posting for the first time here because of the concern my husband and I have about our
    fox squirrels' health. I did a search and your site came up.

    For a few years now we've been seeing wounds on more and more of the squirrels who come to our five
    feeders in trees around the garden. In our situation, the wounds always are on the hip, and usually
    the left hip. Not all of the squirrels have them.

    At first we thought a wild animal or neighbor's cat was getting them. They always seem eventually to
    heal and the hair returns on the wound. At times the wounds appear very fresh and red.

    We have nearly a cat-free neighborhood now, though, and it's still happening.

    So I thought I'd attach an old picture, a typical "wound" (although it was nearly healed by the time the pix was taken).
    Out of many hundreds of pictures of our squirrels this is the only one I found with a wound,
    so maybe I'm being needlessly worried.

    Any ideas?
    Scwerluvr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Northern Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    Welcome to TSB!

    As you know, there are lots of different predators out there - not just cats. Your picture did not post, so I'm taking a bit of a stab in the dark. Here's a short list of possible suspects in the Midwest: Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and snakes. Also on the list, and I especially wonder about these, are predatory birds and raptors. With the injury always showing up in the same area on the squirrel, do you think it is possible that a nest of raptors exists on the other end of a trajectory that leads directly to where the squirrel will run when it senses danger? The raptor's talons would usually strike in somewhat the same spot as the squirrel is fleeing. Again, this is a stab in the dark. Pictures of the wounds will help a great deal.

    Hardwoods have greened up so it will be harder to see, but you might want to go to where your squirrels live and look up and around for signs of large nests. If they're there, you might see one or more of the raptors. Depending on what's up there and their mating season, you might hear babies calling for food. Regardless, pictures will help so much.

    Thanks,

    Jamie
    "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    Name:  DSCN0182.jpg
Views: 63
Size:  147.0 KB

    I received help last night for my problem inserting the picture.
    Hope this comes out alright.
    scwerluvr

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    Came out just fine. Unless this is from a parasite, this looks like something out there took a bite. If it is a predator, I'm not sure what you can do. These are squirrels in a designated habitat, and predators are part of that habitat. The habitat authorities would like frown on any attempt to alter the predator/prey balance. Others here, some with far more experience than I have, may look at the photo and see something else entirely (parasites etc.) Check back often to see what they have to say.

    Jamie
    "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    I'm attaching a picture of our regular visiting squirrels' drays, all near one another in the maples on the slope side of our alley.

    I've wondered if the bites are from mating attempts, or aggressive acts between squirrels.
    The reason I've wondered is the location is almost always over their left hips.

    But the bite-looking wounds seem to appear on both males and females. For awhile, the
    bites were at the base of their tails.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    Wow - some of our grays make drays for the summer but most don't want to give up their tree holes - I can't imagine anyone being willing to live so close to others!

    Have you given hawks a thought? The most common is two wounds - one on either side - somewhere along the back.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Concerned longtime squirrel feeder

    The gray circular part of the wound looks similar to what our ticks look like on our squirrels.

    Here is one on a red squirrel's elbow.



    And here is what it looks like removed:



    Perhaps he has a tick and has been scratching at it causing the wound?

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