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Thread: Juvenile squirrels out of nest and imprinting on me

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2024
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    Default Juvenile squirrels out of nest and imprinting on me

    For 2 days, we have been seeing four juvenile squirrels on tree trunks and on the ground, near different trees, without an adult nearby, except in one instance.

    In that instance, perhaps because the juvenile had approached me, the adult did not get too close. Eventually, both adult and juvenile climbed a tree, but the adult seemed to go further and faster than the juvenile, which ended up stranded half way up.

    These squirrels are about 5" long, not including tail. Their tails are a little bushy (3/4" diameter). It seems like one has no teeth, and the other has a single slender (sharp!) one.

    For most of the 2 days, we have avoided interfering and waited for the mother to retrieve, but today they were gathered at a tree close to the road, for hours, and sometimes would wander into the road.

    One of the four eventually climbed the tree and did not return, and unfortunately another did get stepped on near the road and died.

    So instead of allowing more random events, I moved the two remaining to our open porch where they were free to leave, but also free to stay. They were very interested in climbing our legs and taking a nap in my lap. I removed them perhaps a dozen times, but they kept returning for contact and comfort, I suppose.

    I had some things to do and could not research best practices and rehabbers until the late evening. Meanwhile, I offered the squirrels a variety of fruits, peanut butter and vegetables. They only ate grapes, pear and broccoli, but eagerly.

    Eventually I placed the two in a bin with crumpled newspaper and covered the bin with a screen. I did place to bin out in the yard hoping the mother would return, in which case I would have removed the cover, but no luck. They seemed to be very happy to take several long naps in the bin. I took them out of the bin a couple times, for an hour or more each time, and let them run wherever. They took a few runs, but kept returning to me. One decided the inside of my pant leg was the place to be.

    For the night, I've brought the bin indoors.

    I'm looking for a rehabber, but what should I do for these guys until I find one? What are the chances they will be able to successfully return them to the wild? Is there any circumstance in which they would have to euthanize?

    In the morning, I plan to hang the bin from the tree they were at today (the one near the road), hoping the mother will retrieve, but it seems like I'll have to watch it from a distance in case they manage to get back on the ground again.

    Sorry for the lengthy story. I've actually condensed it somewhat! Appreciate any guidance you can provide.

    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    City Island, Bronx, NY
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    Default Re: Juvenile squirrels out of nest and imprinting on me

    Hello David, and welcome to TSB. First, I want to assure you that squirrels do not imprint. Ducks, geese and blue jays, for example, do imprint but squirrels don't.

    If you have not seen mamma squirrel in 2 or more days, these kids may be alone. Try this: on your phone, go to YouTube and search on "baby squirrel cries". You will see videos of baby squirrels doing their piercing cries for Mom.... Turn your phone up as high as it goes and play it for as long as you can .... If Mom is around she will respond. If not you may need to provide a safe haven for these babies until they are old enough to crack walnuts on the shell on their own.
    .
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

  3. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to island rehabber:

    Chirps (06-24-2024), Duckman (06-24-2024), Grinderhead (06-24-2024)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2024
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    Southern New England
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    Default Re: Juvenile squirrels out of nest and imprinting on me

    Wow. Ok, thank you for that orientation, Island Rehabber! Good to know about non-imprinting.

    I did see three adults yesterday, all more or less in one area, for a few minutes. I set out the bin with the "kids" in that area, later, but I had it covered with the screen. I'm going to try hanging an open bucket this morning. I also emailed a local rehabber, so I'll see how that goes.

    Since one juvenile did go back up a tree and has not reappeared, I'm wondering if 4 kids was just a bit much for mom and she had trouble keeping them all coralled.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2024
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    Default Re: Juvenile squirrels out of nest and imprinting on me

    Also, if anyone has a suggestion for a decent rehabber in my area (SE Conn.), I would appreciate it. While I'm sure that a rehabber knows what they are doing, I also know that in some cases, they will euthanize when an animal would have done ok with a lot of personal care. If that were the situation here, I would keep the squirrels and provide that care. Just want someone that will give me a straight read on what is going on.

    The squirrels do appear to be running/walking ok, I don't notice any obvious deformities or weakness, skin problems, parasites. I did raise a squirrel to adulthood and release long, long ago.

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