Animal Stories - People Talking About Pet Squirrels


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Velcro - 2013-04-29
Hi, I've been raising Velcro since he was 4 1/2 weeks old. Eyes were not even open yet. He is so sweet. He loves me and my son, and has changed toward others. He doesn't like anyone else around like he used to, but my son and I, he loves. He's never bitten anyone tho. He just makes the noises at others letting them know to leave him alone. Ha! He was 4 1/2 months old during the winter and knew I couldn't release him then. He is now 10 months old, and has actually been outside to play all day 4 times now. And comes back to me. I then put him back in his cage. He seems to be wanting out more, but really worried about how to go about it. He don't know how to build his own nest, etc. Anyone have any suggestions on what to do if I'd let him stay out now. I actually built him a nest house, and was thinking of nailing it up in the tree, but just hoping he uses it when it's there. Just don't want to do wrong with him. Just seems so happy when he's out running tho, and he seems sad now when caged. Please, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Cindy - 2014-01-08
    Hi. The 2 squirrels we raised took to the nest box immediately on release. My husband fed them almost every day by climbing the ladder to their box. However as of day b4 yesterday they were gone. There 1 night and gone the next. Do you know if they might return? They r now about 5 months old. They had stayed in the nest box for over a month. I am so sad.
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Jessica Jean - 2006-04-12
I have an eastern gray squirrel that we have had for almost 6 months. She came to us fully furred with only the top or bottom teeth - can't remember now. She couldn't have eaten for days. She and two other squirrels finally fell out of a palm tree after their mother had died in the round 5-7 days prior. I gave her sugar water when I first took her in. She slept for the next 22 hours. This gave me time to research and buy esbilac, karo syrup, electrolyte water and whipping cream. She liked everyone, at first, but now, she only likes myself and my son. She will bite anyone else! We love her and spoil her rotten. She eats everything that she should - avocado, squash, apple, pear, grapes, spinach, brussels, carrots, sweet/potato, snow/snap pea, kiwi, celery, corn, oranges, strawberry, banana and nuts of course! She takes a nap in the middle of the day and sleeps at night. I would not recommend this animal as a pet for everyone, but it has worked out just fine for us. We have a lot of time on our hands!

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  • DONNA - 2013-03-28
    I ALSO HAVE RAISED A 2 DAY OLD BABY SQUIRREL. HE IS NOW ALMOST 8 MONTHS OLD. I CAN HANDLE HIM WITH NO PROBLEM BUT, HE ATTACKS MY HUSBAND. I AM TRYING TO TRANSITION HIM TO OUTSIDE LIFE SO I CAN EVENTUALLY RELEASE HIM. ANY SUGGESTIONS??? I HAVE ALSO NOTICED HIM SUCKING HIMSELF IS THIS NORMAL???
  • Becky - 2013-04-02
    @Donna--while doing research on squirrels I remember reading that sometimes squirrels will suck on each other or themselves. I tried going through some of the websites I'd saved for reference but must not have saved that one. But apparently it's a normal thing. OK I just looked up if it was normal for a squirrel to suck himself & there are some fun responses on the squirrelboard.com. They say it's normal; he's just getting his jollies off LOL But seriously, they say at that age they do that and will be humping their toys/stuffed animals. So now you know! (Must be a teenage squirrel);)
  • Mr. Bill - 2013-12-26
    My 2 squirrels do this too. It seems disturbing but is normal. Although it seems that this repetative action is elongating their genitals. I have twin boys about 15 weeks old and they do this just after feeding for the most part. I want to release them but feel I should wait till spring as not to cause any undo hardship by kicking them out during winter. They spend time outside daily but always come in at night when its freezing. Is this OK or am I just being too protective?
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Catherine Garriga - 2013-12-07
Ooooh! Let me see! What is it? It’s so little. What is it? It’s so cold! What is it? Go get me a scrap of flannel from the sewing room. What is it? Get the brooder plugged in. What is it? We need a bottle of Pedialite and a can of puppy formula so we can rehydrate and get him fed. What is it? This, almost a conversation, was the heralding of the newest member of our family. While my daughter sped off to Wal-mart for the puppy formula and Pedialite, my up to now, ignored, grand daughter was answered. She was not only answered, she was allowed to see and touch the tiny creature. He was naked, pink, cold, blind and had a tail like a piece of string. It was a very young baby boy squirrel.

I held him and his scrap of flannel against my chest to warm until the brooder had gotten warm, then put him in to warm up until we could get him rehydrated. I had rounded up an assortment of small bottles and nipples we keep to feed orphaned puppies and kittens and whatever other creatures come along. As it turned out, he never used one. He was too small and weak and had to be fed with a 1ml syringe.

For the first couple hours we gave him only the Pedialite for hydration, then we started the formula. We added an extra spoon of water and about half a spoon of cream to increase the fat content. He had no trouble with the syringe, at all. This may have been due to great hunger. I don’t know. We had no idea how old he was, so we just had to wait until he opened his eyes, and count backwards. Squirrels open their eyes at 5 weeks. Puppies, kittens, large parrots and things I am familiar with all open their eyes, pretty much on schedule,so I had no reason to think he would not do the same. He was about a week and a half old when we got him. My daughter was in the back yard with the dogs, and one of the dogs wouldn’t come back, so she went to see what was so interesting, and he had found what she thought was a dead mouse. We had put out rat poison the week before, and did not want the dog to mess with it, so she ran back in the house to get the “grabber” to pick it up and throw it over the fence. When she picked it up, it moved and did not look right to her, so she brought it in for me to see. 

After he opened his eyes, it was only a few days until he was doing loop-de-loops in the brooder. It has a fan and switches and stuff in the top and we did not want him hurt, so we knew he had to be moved. A cage was selected and outfitted just for him. It had all the requirements a young squirrel would need. We put in manzanita limbs,a heating pad, a thick layer of towels, several small stuffed animals, a water dish and best of all, his most loved “thingy”. It was a Christmas stocking, we turned inside out and turned the fake fur cuff back over a ring ,about 1 inch wide,cut from a 2 liter soda bottle. The thin plastic was not very stiff, but it was enough to hold the stocking open wide enough for a door. He was crazy about it. You could go in, play games, have a snack, find treasure or just fall over and take a nap. Unlike myself, my daughter is a whiz on the computer and spent a couple hours a day looking up the things we should be doing for our baby. This was not my first squirrel, but she wanted to be sure we did it right. We knew it was time for him to start getting used to the taste of food, so we got small jars of baby food in flavors we thought a squirrel would like. We got applesauce, peaches, peas,sweet potatoes, etc. When we made his formula, we added about half a teaspoon of one of these. He ate them all, but he really loved the sweet potato. Every time he ate he got bathed off with a wash cloth. First, his hands and face were washed, then his head and back and right around to his belly. He always enjoyed this. For some reason, it soothed him. He groomed his tail himself. From the very first, we had decided not to name him , because we knew he had to be raised to live wild. I’m not sure ,exactly, when we lost this, but I think it must have been about the time he was opening his eyes, because he has been called Peep Eye all his life. Via the internet, we were told many things, among them was a warning to watch for diarrhea. He did not get it. He also, must have small pieces of dry dog food, a rodent block, and a piece of antler or sterilized bone. Our stores were all fresh out of antler so Peep Eye got bone. He did bite the dog food, and immediately dropped it. As far as I could tell, the bone was never bitten and the rodent block doesn’t have a scratch on it. He grew fast and his jumping and running out grew his cage in just a few weeks. It was time to move, again. 
We selected a cage a bit larger in perimeter and more than twice as tall. All his belongings were moved and a coconut shell with 3 holes in the side, hanging from a chain, and a pinata for birds, made from cane or raffia of some kind, were added. We also added a pink velour, printed with red hearts, hammock. This became his big boy bed immediately. We had been told he should have acorns and pinecones. All our acorns had been eaten and the pinecones were dry and open. We gave him a couple, anyway, and he was a bit puzzled. He studied them a minute, walked all around them and sniffed at them, then sat up and gave us a strange look. It was as if we were brain damaged and he was obliged to be kind to us. We started giving him more grown up food at this time. He got pieces of sweet potato,apple,string beans,kale, and whatever fresh produce was available. We strung cheerios on a string and made a big loop. They are great training food for large parrots, so why not squirrels? He played with them, wrestled and climbed them and they frenquently whipped his little squirrel behind, but eventually he got the best of them and actually ate a few and broke a few. He was introduced to the wonderous world of nuts and seeds shortly after this. Peanuts were not a problem, neither were sunflower seeds. At first, we cracked the harder shelled nuts, like walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and filberts, just to give him a head start. The almonds he could handle himself. He proved to be a real southern gentleman, just like I had thought. Pecans were his favorites!! 

We were all smitten with him by this time, especially my daughter. She had taken over 90% of his care long before this time. She was totally enamored by him and the feeling was totally mutual. When she left the room, he hopped down the hall behind her. He was so adorable it’s hard to describe. He ran around jumping from chair to chair and person to person faster than your eyes could track him. He would nuzzle your cheek and play with your hair and perch on your shoulder and make a low, strange, snuffling kind of noise I can only describe as a sort of purring. He did not do this very often and it seemed to be a kind of contented noise. He was growing so fast and there was a lot for him to learn before he could make it on his own.

He had to have a nesting box to use until he could build his own, so we got busy and gathered up the wood needed for this little project. We made it the suggested size and put both an entrance and an exit door, just the way we knew he liked because he had eaten two in every basket and such we had given him. I have a large greeenwing macaw who has a very large wrought iron cage she only uses for sleeping. This leaves the cage empty all day, and it makes a wonderful play ground for a squirrel. We had been wondering exactly how a person would teach a squirrel to build a nest. We soon had an answer. We placed the nest box in the large iron cage, along with a bundle of nesting stuff and some fo his favorite toys, one of which,was a tiny stuffed dog. When we put him in the cage, he was a bit leery at first. After a minute or two curiosity got the better of him and he sneaked around behind the box, climbed up the bars and pounced on top of it. He froze. After a minute it had done nothing, so he decided it was safe and proceeded to examine it completely, inside and out. He went in and out both doors, then started hauling in the nesting material. Boy! Did we feel stupid, or what? He liked the nesting box and played in it all the time, but would not sleep in it.

We started putting him out side, on the porch during the day, in another larger cage we had. I know most people don’t have all these cages and a brooder just sitting around, but we have raised macaws, silkies,and Rhode Island reds for many years and do, and we chose to use them instead of the Tupper wear tubs recommended. We also felt that life with no playmates would be rather boring, so we chose to provide PeepEye with toys and as much entertainment as feasable. The first day he was outside, a young female came to visit. They rubbed noses and patted hands and she squeezed between the bars and he allowed her to share his food. She came to visit every day. After 3 days it was obvious that he wanted out, so we opened the cage. He ran off, but came back that night, freezing and starving. He came in and ate for hours, then went to sleep and slept like the dead. This happened twice and then he stayed gone overnight. Again, he was starved and frozen. This time he slept and ate alternately all night and the next day. He stayed gone all night, while we worried ourselves sick, and then it was over. He came home and was sitting on the porch rail, so my daughter went out to take him a pecan. He jumped on her shoulder and nuzzled her cheek a minute, then he jumped down and ran off into the trees. That was the last time any one touched him. Both PeepEye and his little girl friend and another slightly larger friend come everyday. They look for a treasure and we make sure there is always one to find.

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Tonia - 2013-11-20
Hi, I just rescued a small squirrel from a cat outside. The baby was hiding under our bbq grill and the cat just kept trying to get at it. The mother took off, and I was hoping the mother would come back. This was yesterday, and I assume the Mother was teaching it how to search for food, when I saw them on my outside screen. Either that or the cat scared them both up the screen. That's when the mother ran off and the baby fell to the ground and the cat started after it. I pulled up the grill and then finally it kind of just came to me. I attempted to feed it some water with a dropper, it didn't want that. Last night I left it a little soft apple in a dish and when I woke it had it back in it's nest area and was 'nursing' on it. I have an inside cat and there's a few strays in our neighborhood, on the search for squirrels or anything I have noticed. I don't know what I should do with it, because it doesn't really seem active. It kind of just sleeps standing up in the corner, in a pet cage of course. Any suggestions?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-10
    For some feeding and rearing tips, read some of the great stories here, and also check out the Squirrel Board.

     
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Animal-World info on American Red Squirrel
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Amy - 2007-07-26
Hello,
I too have fallen in love with a red squirrel. We named her Gabbie. Her eyes were not opened when we found her. We feed her Esbilac until she weened herself off. We fed her through an eye dropper and she would just grab it and shove it in her mouth. I think she was about 3 months old and still taking her milk about twice a day. We then added mixed grain cereal for babies (Gerber). No plain rice. I was told it should not be given to them. Anyway, she lived inside with us for 2 months and knowing I would release her, I built an outside cage for her to stay in in the day. It was a 6x6 heavy gage wire cage with a door. We then would bring her in at night. We filled it with limbs for her to learn to eat on and climb. We let her stay in this cage for about 1 month and then inside at night. I noticed her natural instincts starting to kick in. I just felt that she was really wanting to climb trees and it just broke my heart to see her in a "zoo". I wanted so badly to keep her. My children and I cried for days. However, I put my selfish human tendencies aside and I let her run up a tree. She now lives in our woods with the other red squirrels. It was very very hard on us at first because we missed her so much. We missed her constant contact with us. However, I know she is so happy being free. I loved her enough to give her what she longed for, freedom. We now go to see her twice a day, call her name, and give her treats. She is soo beautiful jumping on limbs and being just what god intended for her to be, a squirrel.

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  • Peggy - 2013-10-25
    Hi Amy, I was happy to read in your story that you released Gabbie when she was ready. I have a permit through the MN DNR to take injured or orphaned wildlife, and over the past many years have raised and released hundreds of gray, reds, and flying squirrels. What concerns me when I read stories like some posted here, is that people try and help these orphans when they find them, but without the knowledge of what to do-they end up hurting more than helping. You should start to wean squirrels when they are 6 weeks old. Offer raw fruit(cut up) w/ plain yogurt, and make a baggie of this mix= Cheerios or Kix, plain granola (or the kind with almonds and dried bananas), dry puppy chow. As they get older add shelled sunflower seeds (unsalted), dried whole kernel corn, pine nuts, plain peanuts. They like raw veggies, especially corn on the cob, too. Provide deer antlers and milk bones bisquits to gnaw on to add calcium as you wean them off formula. Please realize as the squirrel ages, it needs to run around, search for and eat a variety food, and be around other squirrels. Spending life in a cage 20 hours a day is no life for a squirrel. Sometimes people have brought me orphans they have tried to care for 'just a couple of days' and often they are dehydrated, malnourished, have diarrhea from bad formulas, pneumonia, mange-lice-fleas,or traumatized from too much noise or handling. I especially wince when they say,'my children were taking care of them but after one died we decided to call the DNR, who referred us to you.' If you like caring for orphaned wildlife, contact your local Wildlife Rehabilitation Group, and start working on getting your permit. It's pretty much free, the group helps you get free supplies, and provides classes and free mentoring. For the sake of the animals, do it right or give them to somebody that can.
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Animal-World info on Southern Flying Squirrel
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Cassie, MA - 2005-11-27
I just recently got my squirrel. I automatically fell in love with him. His name is Rocky and my grandmother found him in her wood stove. She couldn't keep him so she gave him to my uncle, who, unfortunately, couldn't keep him either. So, he asked me if I wanted him. Of course, as an animal lover, I said I'd ask my mom. Mymom fell in love with him, too, and said we could keep him. I was a little afraid of him at first, because he was wild, well, we thought he was wild. But my uncle tried to let him go, but the next day, my grandmother found him in her cupboards, so to my house he went. Just the other day, I was going to clean his cage, and I went totake him to put him in his excercise ball, when my mom stopped me and took the cage intothe bahtroom. I followed her, and watched her carefully. She slowly opened his cage and reached in. Rocky got scared and started to dart about the cage, but my mom just slowly followed him with her hand. She finally got him and he got away.He ran around the bathroom, andI couldn't help but laugh. She finally caught him, and she held him close to her chest. She then said, "Open your pocket." I obeyed and she carefully put him in. He stayed and caught his breath. I reached in, and patted him. He still stayed right where he was.Without even thinking, I wrapped my hand around him, and pulled him out. He didn't squirm, he just looked ta me. It may not seem like much to those of you that hold your squirrels all the time, but it was something big to us. It was a big step in taming our new wild friend.

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  • Sergei - 2013-10-04
    We have a flying squirrel too, his name is rocky also and he is very tamed and energetic. He ran around his room 200+ times without taking a break. He is very attached to us and sometimes will not let us leave his room.We have to sneak out when he isn't looking or asleep. He built a hut out of stuffed animals and sleeps in his little cubby. As I type this he is sleeping next to me. He likes to fly acroos the room onto your shoulder then tries to play with you.
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Jan Engman - 2008-08-28
I found a baby squirrel this last summer. I believe that she had fallen out of her nest. To the person that said that one of the squirrels had sezuires, that is due to not giving it the correct diet. If that happens again, give the baby some sugar water to stop the seizures but that is just a quick fix. Their diet has to be bland, no salt what so ever, should actually go back to hand feeding with puppy milk that you can get at a pet store. I gave "Grace" pecans, almonds, dried fruit, cantalope and sunflower seed, acorns if available are good. I had no intentions of keeping her as a pet, I truly think that they belong in the wild. After a month or so I would put her kennel outside by a tree and let her venture on her own. One day she made a nest out of an abandoned bird's nest. She will still come by to see me from time to time. I think mainly to see what goodies I may have for her. I truly enjoyed raising her and learned a good deal from the experience. I would do it again in a heart beat, even though it's illegal to do so in the state of IL... but phooey on that!

Jan
Aurora, IL

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  • Cheryl Haag Brown - 2013-09-25
    Right on, Girl. Saved a seagull, finches, rabbits, red & grey squirrels also by ignoring that stupid law.
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ashley - 2009-01-21
Last August (about 5 months ago) I found a baby red squirrel on the ground in the grass next to it's (sadly) smushed sibling. They were so tiny, at first I thought there was a frog or toad on the ground and when I looked closer I saw what I thought was a baby chipmunk because it was slightly brownish with two black stripes. At this time, the baby was about 1 week old with closed eyes and ears. Later when he started to get a fuzzy tail, we realized he was a squirrel. In the meantime, we kept him warm at first by cutting the toe off of a "fuzzy sock" like slipper-socks and put it around a small tupperware bowl. He stayed curled up inside of it all day long. Before long, we got a small heating pad to keep him warm as well. We bought puppy milk and fed him with an eye dropper every 3 hours, yes that means waking up in the middle of the night. At first he only ate about 2 ML, but that increased quickly and sometimes he would even eat 3-4 eye droppers. We always fed him until he wouldn't accept any more. By the 4th week his eyes opened and shortly thereafter his ears opened. At this time we started to leave sunflower seeds in his cage just in case he got curious. He began to teeter on his back legs, trying to stand up and eat. This was probably the cutest part of all, when they are learning to stand up. We still continued milk feedings, and as he started to eat more solid foods we spaced the milk feedings out more and more until at about 12 weeks he was completely off the milk. He now eats a variety of nuts including walnuts and shaved almonds (his favorites), pine seeds, sunflower seeds, in-the-shell-unsalted-peanuts, outdoor squirrel feed (which has the likes of dried corn, in-shell-sunflower seeds, etc). He loves banana chips, apple, peapods, cherries (real, not maraschino), dried fruits, and pretty much any fruits. He will not eat mushrooms or celery, though.
He lives in a big bird cage which we regularly fill with branches from pine trees (and in the summer he gets leafy-trees too). He makes a mess throwing pine needles out of his cage, but he loves it, it makes it more wilderness-y or him. We keep him in an un-carpeted area so we can sweep up his messes :) He also gets to run free in the house for a while every day. He is very nice, will jump right on you while you are walking by. However, his nails are sharp so it is probably not a good idea to let kids play with them. They also try to eat your drywall and can tear up your curtains, so you have to keep a constant eye on them while they are loose. We bought a bunch of edible wooden logs/tikihouses/etc the pet stores sell for rabbits and hamsters or other small animals. He chews on those, which is very important to keep his teeth trimmed. A red squirrel is a lot of work from babyhood to adulthood, but also such a joy. We will not be "acclimating him to the wild" He is our pet, he loves people and we feel it would be cruel to take him from his home and shove him out into a cold, harsh world. After all, they live only an average of 3 years in the wild due to all the dangers of other animals and cars, and can live up to 10 yrs in captivity. If anyone ever needs any tips on how to care for a baby squirrel, feel free to email me at redsquirrelinfo@yahoo.com

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  • Cheryl Haag Brown - 2013-09-25
    Cool.......We found our little one yesterday when it staggered out of the bushes. Loved the peanuts right off. Fell asleep in our little fleece baby animal rescue bed. Thanks for all the info. I've raised/rehabbed a grey squirrel, seagull, 3 finches, a rabbit, a robin, and now God sent me this cute little blessing. Thank you God.
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Animal-World info on Eastern Gray Squirrel
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Becky - 2013-04-02
About a month ago my husband comes with a shoebox this little 'thing' in the corner; I thought he was pulling a prank & had a mouse, but he said he found a baby squirrel in his mom's yard across the street. He said look on the internet & find out what to do with it. So I did & found out she was approximately 4-5 weeks old, eyes still closed. I started feeding her puppy milk from a can with a plastic syringe, & she has been doing great. Now she's probably 8 weeks old & I've just fallen in love with her. You bond when you're feeding them like a baby & know that they depend on you so much. She is sweet & has a great appetite! I still feed her some formula, sometimes with whipping cream, apple sauce, or mashed banana. She also eats on her own avocado, strawberry, banana, mango, carrot, & she'll nibble on pecans & cheerios. She doesn't really care much for the rodent block, but nibbles on it a little, but the same piece has been in there for days (I clean her dish everyday, & it doesn't look touched so I put it back in there.) She loves chewing on the sticks in her pen & I saw her nibbling on her calcium stone so was happy about that. She'll try nibbling on ME & I try to discourage her by given her a special stick I bought for them to chew on. She loves to go to sleep in my pocket of my hoodie, so now that's our thing; after I feed her I put a hoodie on with pockets & walk around the house & do stuff for HOURS and she's snoozing away! I love it! We have 2 small dogs & 2 cats inside & I've tried to introduce her to them & the one dog acts like she wants to eat her, & she other is very protective (she would stare when I'd feed her as a baby & sometimes lick the squirrel.) She other dog did more than 'try to lick', she snapped at her! & I said no way, you're staying away from her!! The one cat doesn't really pay attention to her & the other one watches with interest (not sure what's she thinking though!)Rocky (the squirrel) is running around a lot more & will scamper around on the couch & I have to watch her closely so the other animals don't get any ideas. Tillie, the one cat who shows interest, swatted toward her a couple times, I think playing, but still being careful. And the protective dog, Precious, doesn't know what to think with her bouncing around; it startles her & I have to watch to make sure she doesn't step on Rocky trying to get away from her. I love Rocky & so glad she's part of our lives! She's soft, fuzzy, and just a blessing to me, because I've never raised a small animal like that so it feels good that I've done well so far and she's alive & healthy. I like finding out about other people who raise squirrels & learning more about what to do to keep her happy! Sorry so long, just had a lot to say about my girl! :)

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  • Anonymous - 2013-04-18
    I have 2... brother and sister. They are about 2-3 months old and very friendly! They have free run of a bedroom with a HUGE cage that has a nesting box in it, I just keep the cage door open and they come in and out as they want. My question is this... what are you doing about 'potty arraingments'?
  • Ami E. Bowen - 2013-08-29
    Don't you just feel like you were chosen special for this wonderful, challenging, beautiful task? I know that I certainly do! :)
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Loretta - 2013-08-06
I took a baby squirrel away from my cat..he had not opened his eyes..I had him for four months and loved him with all my heart! He seemed to be very healthy but he was small for his age, he thought I was his mommy. He stayed on my front porch and in the house and had his favorite place to sleep in the house, my husband woke me up and said he was sick, he had thrown up and could not walk with out staggering, he died about an hour later, I was and am still devastated, what could had possibly caused this?

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-08-28
    What were you feeding him? Squirrels need a very specialized diet to ensure they are getting proper nutrients, so it's possible your squirrel was malnourished and you just didn't realize it.
  • Ami E. Bowen - 2013-08-29
    Could be a number of things happened. Were you watching to make sure he didn't get into something he shouldn't have? Were you making sure he had enough calcium and vitimin D in his diet after he was weaned off the formula? Maybe he had taken a fall and suffered a head injury. Maybe it was something genetic that nothing could have been prevented.
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