The squirrel as a pet
The squirrel is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae . These charismatic mammals generally measure between 20 and 40 centimeters and weigh between 250 and 340 grams. They inhabit the forests of the five continents and their main activity during the day is the search for fruits, seeds, barks and even small insects.
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Most species of squirrels do not hibernate like other rodents; on the contrary, they remain active in search of resources in the soil and cavities of the natural environment. Lack of food severely impairs their life expectancy, which in the wild is 3 years, far from the 7 to 10 years they may live in captivity. Keep reading to get to know the pet squirrel better .
Characteristics of the squirrel
In full nature, the squirrel climbs, digs and gnaws everything it finds and manages to manipulate. It is a curious and tremendously active animal that needs to be free throughout its house twice a day, at least. Demanding and savage, he himself decides when he enters the cage again.
Bear in mind that the squirrel is a wild animal that will never be happy without your daily workouts. Restless and alert, it requires a tutor that animates it and that dedicates time and attention. Therefore, we recommend that those who do not have the patience and time needed consider another type of pet more suitable to their possibilities.
They make noises and squeaks of all kinds during the day to communicate their moods and are quite noisy when they run around the house and exercise inside their cage. Even milder squirrels may be in a bad mood and come to bite if they are not properly cared for or the time to hibernate is approaching. For this reason, we do not recommend that you live in a home with very young children or elderly people who can not keep up with their pace and necessary routines.
You should also consider that you are not an easy pet to care for and that during your vacation you should be left to the care of someone responsible who offers you the same daily attention as you. It is important to verify that this person exists in your environment to take care of the squirrel in an emergency.
Where and how to get a squirrel
Consider the following advice before adopting your squirrel as they will be very useful:
- It is not recommended, at all, to buy a squirrel through the Internet. Private sellers or uncredited breeders can sell squirrels with various diseases such as rabies that can be spread to other pets in the home.
- Imprisoning a squirrel in the wild is also a big mistake as it can die of stress, bite or contagious diseases as explained in the previous point.
- It is very important that the squirrel that will be your pet comes from a breeder who has the requirements and regulations of the state in order.
- Never adopt a squirrel with less than two months, because he must stay with his mother until that age. From that moment on you can, because it is the ideal time for you to take it and socialize it correctly with people.
The squirrel must have a cage that, the wider and wider it is, the better . The minimum size is 80 x 100 centimeters. It can include some natural branches in the interior so that it relaxes there and scratches the wood. The cage should not be in areas with drafts or direct light, and a quiet and moderately dark place is preferable.
Place a nest inside the cage like a cardboard box with cottons or a small cloth sack. It must be a comfortable place where he can take refuge at night. As soon as it gets dark, the squirrel retreats to sleep in the nest. It should not be bothered.
Do not place the cage in a location far away. Squirrels are sociable and curious animals and being away can create a severe anxiety to the animal.
Generally they do not produce an unpleasant odor, although they have a certain tendency to mark their territory with small discharges of urine , as well as a dog. Thus, some carpet or furniture may be affected, as well as plants that may appear out of the vase or nibbled. Pay particular attention to toxic products.
At times when letting the squirrel run around your house, watch your actions carefully: you can gnaw light or electronic cables , throw things to the ground or eat something they should not.
Squirrels with a few months of age do not regulate their body temperature properly without their mother. Put a heating pad that does not exceed 37 ° C under your nest.
You should put a drinking fountain in your cage for rabbits or guinea pigs. If the squirrel does not understand how it works and do not drink that way, leave a small bowl or bowl of water. However, do not remove the drinking fountain so that it learns to drink.
Feeding Baby Squirrels : You should provide dairy replacements using a syringe. Ask the specialist which doses are appropriate according to age, it will indicate the guidelines and how often to feed the animal, and can vary between 5 and 2 times a day. It is very important that it is the expert who helps with these steps, he knows his squirrel better than anyone else.
Feeding adult squirrels : At ordinary pet stores you can already find food for squirrels. You can also feed him with food for guinea pigs. Any kind that the specialist where you purchased the squirrel recommends is appropriate. Do not forget that a feed change can stress your new squirrel. It should also be fed with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, egg and even insects like crickets, for example.
Here is a list of common squirrel diseases . If you believe that your squirrel can suffer from any of them, take it to the veterinarian immediately:
- Abscess or accumulation of pus : It is frequent if he fights to dispute his status with another squirrel. You can clean it yourself.
- Wounds : Although they do not usually bleed, it is important to treat your squirrel with antibiotics if necessary.
- Parasites : Scabies or fleas are common.
- Nodules of skin : It can be Cuterebra (larva) or a viral infection.
- Emphysema : Constant craving and appearance of blood around your nostrils. It is serious, consult your veterinarian right away.
- Pneumonia : Due to stress situations with humid environment and poor hygiene conditions. They are also very sensitive to human viruses.
- Cataracts : Possible appearance of squirrels with old age.
- Enteritis : Of bacterial origin, this intestinal disease is very common. The problem gets worse when it involves Salmonella.
- Meningitis : It is essential to go to the veterinarian as soon as you detect this problem, as it can cause episodes of paralysis.
- Fractures : Although they usually fall on their feet, if they suffer a fracture it is essential to act quickly because they stress easily.
- Malocclusion: It is the excessive growth of the teeth. It requires a little intervention.
Do not forget …
The squirrel is a wild, restless, active animal. Although it is possible to provide excellent care and ample space, your pet may not be happy in this way and suffer severe stress- related consequences .
Also, once you adopt a squirrel and become completely accustomed to contact with the human being, you can not abandon it because it will not know how to survive or relate to your kind.
Discover other animals that you can adopt and that will feel more comfortable in the contact with the human being:
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