Animal Stories - Eastern Gray Squirrel

Animal-World Information about: Eastern Gray Squirrel

   The Gray Squirrel is perhaps the most familiar of all squirrels!
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ToTodunderer - 2010-04-15
I found a baby squirrel and raised her to be a pet. When she was large enough I let her play with my four cats. At first the cats looked at her as a meal ticket due to their natural predatory instincts. The siamese, who is a naturally good hunter, was the first to attack. She leaped on the little squirrel and went for the throat. Her attack was fast and furious. They went round and round like the well known cartoon skirmishes where only parts stick out of the small tornado for maybe three seconds then there was this awful cry and the siamese stopped cold, the squirrel upside down and still between her feet.

The siamese limped away, nursing a bitten toe. The squirrel rolled over, walked over to one of the other cats, but that cat was a bit shy, so the squirrel found another to play with. That single fight was the beginning and end of the squirrel-cat battles in our house.

That was about a year ago, Now the cats all know better than to pick on a full grown squirrel. There have been a few other fights, usually cat-to-cat, but seldom is the squirrel involved. Squirrels are faster, with better reaction time and they fight back well. They can out jump a cat and can hide (if necessary) in much smaller places. Usually the squirrel ignores the cats, except at play time--then she is right in there having as much romping fun at the cats. Where the cats climb the trees in the yard, the squirrel absolutely runs up them, leaping vertically from each piece of bark. They are lightening unleashed.

The interesting thing about cats and squirrels, is where teeth are concerned, the cats actually bite with caution. They know that a broken tooth or a wound means death. A squirrel can break a tooth and it will grow out, and injury may mean death due to a slow escape, but it is not so certain.

So, when a squirrel and cat fight, the cat will be slow to bite. When it does, the sharp fangs, unless they penetrate something vital, both hurt less than a squirrel bite and are far less damaging. Cats kill by suffocating larger species, not biting to kill. Squirrels, when they bite, put the pressure of four forward facing teeth that are built to strip bark, crush nuts, and and can chew metal pieces off. Those bites are extremely painful. A predator will not attack a species it cannot use as food. When they learn that a species is dangerous, they leave it alone.

I watched a new squirrel in the neighborhood actually not get concerned when my four cats approached. It hopped along looking for nuts, surrounded by cats. When one of the cats popped out a test swat, the squirrel, a large Eastern Gray, turned instantly and assumed a defensive posture, standing a bit tall. The cats backed up. It was not bothered and is still here. I saw this before I allowed my squirrel to be with them.

While the cats bring home the occasional animal, it's never a squirrel.

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  • Animal Kingdom - 2010-12-16
    I don't believe this... plain and simple...
Amanda - 2010-09-29
My pet squirrel is about 6 weeks old. Was very active yesterday and now he is acting different not sure if he got too cold last night. I have him bundled up right now and he still has not gotten up to eat what's wrong with him? Please help.

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  • Jacilyn Maher - 2010-09-30
    What kind of pet squirrel do you have?
  • Deanne - 2010-10-04
    Body might be shutting down because it's hungry, need to feed some special milk for baby animals through a syringe. I have a squirrel that's a year and a half and he's wonderful. Hope your baby is still o. K. Clearly has been a few days. Shouldn't feed too much fruit because natural sugars will bring on seizures and shouldn't feed anything with salt as it will also bring on seizures. Keep it warm with a heating blanket under it's cage and still try to feed it just a bit of water also every once in a while. Hope everything pans out o. K. For you, i'm a huge squirrel lover.
  • darlene - 2010-11-05
    Your new baby needs a heat lamp or a heating pad turned on the lowest setting with a soft baby blanket between it and your new baby. Mine is about 5 weeks old and I feed her similac baby formula with barley cereal mixed together in a pet ag bottle. I cut the hole a tiny bit bigger so the thickened formula would come out when she sucks the bottle. Keep it warm and feed it every three hours make sure you take a cotton ball or baby wipe and get it to use the bathroom.
  • julie ILY squirrels - 2010-11-06
    Make sure you keep him inside at all times. Also that he is awake. Try to move him around. Even put food and water into his mouth. Usually they sleep a lot when the weather is cold.
  • jey - 2010-12-01
    Use a heating pad. Make sure you hydrate him (very important) then you can feed. Sugar water will suffice in an emergency. Then feed goats milk. Please don't use puppy or kitten formula!
  • John - 2010-12-07
    Years ago I raised a grey squirrel. The only problem we had was tiny bone fractures due to a diet that was too low in minerals. A local vet that know "exotic" pets gave us a mineral supplement and she lived a long life and eventually went back to the wild.
brian - 2010-08-29
I found a baby squirrel it was outside running round in circles and he jump on me and wouldn't let go and I need to know how to feed him he's about 7 weeks old.

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  • Anonymous - 2010-10-01
    Use Esbilac puppy formula. Dry mixed with warm water or canned (opened can only good for 2 to 3 days once opened). Get squirrel warmed on heating pad on low setting before feeding. Once warmed, then start feeding formula and offer cheerios. Eventually can offer whole grain breads, carrots, green beans, watermelon, apples, broccoli cut into small 1/4 inch cubes. Grapes are NOT a good idea as squirrels can choke on skin of the grape.
  • jey - 2010-12-01
    Make sure to hydrate him first (very important) then feed goats milk (do not use puppy or kitten supplement). Feed him 3 X a day at that age. He will let you know when all he wants is real food. Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and keep the nuts to a treat.
Elaine - 2008-12-11
"Pet" squirrels MUST have Full Spectrum Lighting, and a healthy diet, which includes green, leafy, high calcium veggies...endive, kale, escarole, dandelions, and LITTLE fruit. Too much natural sugars in them. Also 70-80% of your squirrels daily diet should be Rodent Block. We have a specially made formula of rodent Block just for squirrels, that has been approved by Dr. Christopher Calvert, of the Animal Science Department at the University of California, Davis, and coauthor of the "Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals, Fourth Revised Edition, 1995", and several of his colleagues as well, who are in the field of zoo diets.

If you want EXPERT advice from MANY rehabbers, and very knowledgeable people with pet squirrels, please come to

Thank You!

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  • Andrea in Ontario - 2010-11-27
    Hi Elaine! I have referenced the squirrel board as well. The many experienced rehabbers there helped me tremendously with my 2, who have now been released. They come back daily for food... a lovely variety of veggies, nuts and squirrel block. It disturbs me to read about so many raising the infants on liquid kitten formula... :/
julie ILY squirrels - 2010-11-06
For the diet of your squirrel you can give it fruits like peach, pear, apple, nectarine, cantaloupe, any kind depending on what your squirrel likes most.

ANNIE - 2010-09-11
Four full grown grey squirrels come every day for walnuts. They are, piggy pants, scarface, dusty, slimfast. Dusty because he has the fullest and most beautiful tail, slimfast because she is so tiny and thin always eating, scarface because he has a diamond scar on his back, piggy because he shoves so much in his mouth. I open my door at 5:30 in the morning and they are there if not all for sure two. If I am late they jump at my door. They have even brought their young to eat. Seen 3 and they are following in the same pattern as the adults. I enjoy them and they do come from down the block when I call them. Not by name, but a sound I make and have seen them stop in their tracks and turn and come in my direction. Only bad thing is they pea on my porch and that draws flies. But they are so faithful.

Anonymous - 2009-05-13
Are any squirrels legal in ontario, Canada.

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  • asi mashi - 2010-03-25
    I had two squirrels, chucky and cracker, one died today. I didn't know why so I started reading about them and apparently my mother (doesn't like animals) has made us do things that we were not supposed to like not let them out of the cage and put them outside when it is chilly. Poor thing, the squirrel with him is so sad. I know what to feed them but are we supposed to let them out in the day, they are wild literally, and I need more tips to show my mom, if you do then you would be the life saver of the left squirrel.
  • Rose - 2010-08-11
    You should definitely let them out during the day. They are wild animals and need to get exercise. My squirrel is about a month and a half and he's so energetic. He loves playing w/ small stuffed pet toys, chewing on wood and his favorite food is watermelon. They usually only like running around and climbing in the morning and before dark. They don't like being out at night and love being warm. When my squirrel was a baby I made him a sock filled w/ uncooked beans or rice and it gives him company when I can't. All you do is stick it in the microwave until its a little warm and they love it.
Gina - 2010-04-15
I was taking my 10 year old daughter to the bus stop when we happened to see a man walking down the street with a very small squirrel following him. So we got out of the Jeep to check it out. Well this little guy decided to climb part way up my leg. I told my daughter to run to the house to get her dad. As soon as she started moving he followed her. I had to stop her from going into the house because the dog and the cat are in there. So I went and got my husband and the camera. We came out and the squirrel( his name is now peanut) was sitting in the rim of my tire and wouldn't come out. We happened to be eating toast on the run so I had my daughter offer him some crust. Well he took it and jumped into her hands and ate. When he was done he went back in the tire( preventing me from driving off)

More about Peanut. I asked my daughter to walk away from him to see if he followed and sure enough he not only followed, but climbed all over her, in her sweatshirt, in the hood, in the pocket and on her head, in her hair. I don't want to see him hurt so we bought a big bi-level cage and have put him in there. We have only had him since 4/14/10 and we are letting him stay as long as he wants to. We take him out 2 times a day so he can decide when he is ready to leave his new surrogate mommy. So far he follows her and stays with her, he even just walks back into the house on his own. I hope he will remember to come and visit us after he decides to stay outside.

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  • Isaac Clayton - 2010-05-04
    that is a great story! and its quite similar to Ivan's story (Our baby eastern grey) his family has a nest in the ceiling of our basement, and one day he was screaming because he had fallen out of the nest onto the basement floor. He was very small, and was barely walking on wobbly legs. My wife and I think his eyes had just opened about 3-5 days before his fall. Anyway when she heard his cries (which sounds a lot like a bird chirping) she knew what it was from. Having baby squirrels once before, that's the cry for MOMMY! She offered her hand to the baby. Rather then aggressively capturing him, she let him make the choice much like you and your little girl did. And just like peanut, Ivan was more then willing to climb into her sleeve. We found him around 4/7/2010. We started feeding him watered down milk from a syringe and eventually peanut butter from a spoon. Now he eats all kinds of solid foods, he LOVES cereal as a treat, raisin bran is his favorite. We play with him a lot, and we are also giving him the choice to live with us, or go free. Even though he's basically free in our house already, we don't cage him at all, we just built a little box and stuffed a fuzzy blanket inside for him to cuddle up with. If you or anyone else would like to see pictures of my little dude, you can look at my facebook album of him:!/album.php?aid=15671&id=100000239920585
    Good luck with peanut! I think squirrels make great pets as long as you have the time for them, and I'm sure it makes a difference how young they are when you take them into your care. In my opinion it sounds like your peanut was once taken care of by people, maybe found as a baby like my ivan and freed, that would explain his trust for people and why he was following that man. I think once they are cared for as babies by humans, they don't do so well on their own in the wild. But I don't know too much about that. Anyway good luck!
  • alyssa - 2010-05-08
    Hi gina, I was curious as to what you feed peanut? We happen to have just rescued a squirrel just like peanut but he is not eating the seeds we put in with him. His name is squeaky and he never leaves my side when I take him out but ya it's been a day and I'm sure he's hungry. If you could email me at that would be great if you could make the subject squirrel thanks.
  • Jan - 2010-05-28
    Nice perspective; it's obviously having a nice time now, and you are wise to have the plan to let it go to a natural life soon so it can truly acclimate. I love watching them at my condo back porch that has tall trees behind. I actually bought acorns from an online site to feed them as a treat since you don't find them particularly in Palo Alto, CA unless near oak trees. They also like to eat safflower seed that is sold at most pet stores and relatively cheap.
  • Gina - 2010-06-07
    Alyssa,we feed peanut fresh fruit(he loves grapes and blueberries)I got a bag of squirrel feed and dried corn cobs from walmart, also when he's outside he digs up the grass roots, eats ants and loves to chew of rocks(which help him keep his teeth from growing too much.The only thing squirrels shouldn't have is dairy,otherwise they can eat pretty much everything we can. He is very sweet and we love him very much,it will be sad when he leaves.he eats his food on my daughters face,he licks our hands and he thinks we are all his own personal moving trees, lol. He has had free reign of the house and my dog and cat are very good as is he with them, Weird.
  • Dominick - 2010-07-17
    If you are the Gina with the dog and cat beware of the cats saliva should it get into the squirrels blood stream it WILL kill it inside 24 hours unless gotten to a vet cats saliva is a poison to squirrels.
kirsten - 2010-07-16
Hi, I have FOUR baby squirrels. I found them in a tree my brother cut down I've gave them liquids and have formula and warm bed and everything but I really would like to keep them as pets. But I need advice to how to keep them unwild see I have two young children so I can't have mean squirrels. If you know how to tame them please contact me at

Katilyn, age 14 - 2010-03-13
My grandfather was in the tool shed and found a squirrel about a year old. I have many concerns. I'm not exactly sure how to take care of it. So far, it loves almonds, but hasn't gotten anything to drink. I would also like to know how to tell if it is a boy or girl.

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  • Pat Lowden - 2010-05-31
    It will be quite obvious which gender the squirrel is...male rodents have enormous testicles. Leave a water bowl out where the squirrel has easy access to it. Feed an assortment of fruits, nuts (unsalted and in the shell if possible), twigs, select flowers and buds, raw veggies and get a mineral block for small animals at the pet store. Good luck! I love my squirrel. She keeps me entertained for hours. P
  • kgirl - 2010-07-07
    Katilyn if it's a boy even at a very young age it will have the male part one can't miss it.