How to Prevent a Squirrel From Suffering a Suddley Freeze
Squirrels are not confined to one specific habitat; they can be found in cities all over the world. However, they face a higher risk of freezing when living near humans. This is due to constant threats from cars, dogs, and cats. Here are a few tips to prevent a squirrel from succumbing to a sulky freeze. Here are a few of the most common triggers of squirrels freezing:
Allowing a squirrel out of its cage around strangers
Squirrels shiver and suddley freeze if they perceive danger. They will often lean tightly against tree bark to defend themselves from predators, but once the threat is over, they will return to normal behavior. Some signs to look for are lethargy, dull eyes, labored breathing, hunching over, or nasal or mouth discharge.
Another warning sign to keep your squirrel inside is the possibility of poisoning. Squirrels are notorious for carrying dangerous parasites and fleas. While they do not pose a danger to humans, they will scurry away from you if you allow them to roam. If you can’t keep a squirrel in its cage for long, consider adopting it from an animal shelter. If you’ve been looking for an animal to keep, there are many options for you.
Squirrels have excellent dichromatic vision, but their eyes are not as sharp as humans. The lower part of their heads are used for gnawing, while the upper half of the skull has eyes for predators. Allowing a squirrel out of its cage around a stranger will cause it to suddley freeze. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or relative to hold the squirrel or put it in a secure room.
Allowing a squirrel out of its cage in sub-zero temperatures
You may think a squirrel will hibernate in the winter. But this is actually not the case. Ground squirrels, like the grey and flying species, tend to spend the winter in burrows. These are cavities that were previously used by woodpeckers to build nests. Squirrels use these cavities to store food and build insulation. However, it is possible for your squirrel to freeze inside its den if the den is not well insulated.
The fall is a good time for squirrels to build food caches. Then, during the winter, they don’t have to eat daily. While American red squirrels build a single massive central food cache, grey squirrels build several smaller food caches. Those middens can get ridiculously large in your neighborhood, so it’s better to avoid allowing your squirrel to come out of its cage in sub-zero temperatures.
Giving a squirrel extra calcium
Squirrels can get calcium from bone and antler remains. However, they cannot survive entirely on bone and antler remains. Therefore, you can supplement the squirrel’s diet with pre-mixed foods with calcium. Squirrels enjoy eating and you can mix it with the block they normally eat. Give it a handful of calcium-rich nuts once a day and your squirrel will be happy as can be.
Squirrels’ nutrient requirements are low and they need to be boosted. You can provide your squirrel with extra calcium for several months to help them recover. You can also supplement their diet with vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbohydrates. Remember that the onset of MBD is quite quick. Hence, you should watch the squirrel closely if you notice a change in behavior. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be an indication of MBD.
Fixing its diet
Whether you think it’s funny or not, a squirrel’s frozen state may be due to a number of factors, including its poor diet. Fixing its diet can provide it with the necessary nutrients and variety it needs to survive. This diet is known as a triangle and should be fed alongside the base diet. The triangle includes wet foods, vitamin and mineral supplements, and blocks.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.