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Old 07-17-2009, 04:39 PM
mommybritches mommybritches is offline
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Unhappy Developmental or neurological disorder?

I can still touch him, but he wouldn't tolerate being handled by most any other human...which is good for him.

I would just love know definitively if this is something he could be helped through, or if this is just how he will be. If I could do something to help him I would love to.

Anyone else have a similar experience or knowledge to share?



With these additional clues I would totally agree to keep him confined and safe. I didn't realize he is still falling.

I had a raccoon kit earlier this year with the same problems. He always had a slight left turn for some reason and couldn't keep his balance. It was a spine and nerve injury/damage. He is in a permanent home now with other disabled raccoons.

I wouldn't put the squirrel through the stress of physical rehabilitation unless he's tame enough that he feels comfortable being touched. Other than that, I'd watch him in a safe environment for a couple of weeks or so and if there is no improvement, I'd see that I find him a permanent home.

However, please post what you wrote (copy and paste is easiest) me into the forum and see what other rehabbers suggest.

Best Wishes,

Miss Dolittle

His balance is off, but not in the traditional sense. He doesn't have a "drunkenness" about him. He doesn't teeter, but prefers not to sit upright to eat. He would rather to lay on his front feet. He can sit upright, but chooses not to most of the time. I really think he has fallen one too many times and has mentally and physically injured himself. He truly has a fear of falling. I have never seen anything like it.

I am torn about him even being in a tree. These continual falls can't be good for him. It takes him several minutes to recover and even move. He never lands like most squirrels when they fall. He just lands right on his back.

The nesting in the ground bothers me as well. That just reinforces my thoughts on his fear of being in high places. He will not carry nesting materials in a tree, or carry food into a tree. He will eat bark while he is in the tree, but that is it. And his failure to even try to jump or sit upright much makes me wonder if he has permanent damage to an appendage or his spine that I just can't see. I don't have the resources to have extensive testing done on him. I am just going to have to assess him as best I can and go from there.

There are very few squirrels in the immediate area for him to imitate or learn from. I have tried my best to spot one so I can try to relocate my baby to interact with others. However, hawks, foxes, and neighborhood cats keep the squirrel population around my house to a bare minimum.

Do you know of any other "physical therapy" activities or anything else I can try to make a more definitive decision as to whether he has neurological damage or just odd developmental delay? If he has some type of damage, I need to try to contain him away from anything predatory.

Thanks for all of your help....


It does sound like you have either a late bloomer or indeed an unreleasable squirrel. I have had quite a few eccentrics among squirrels, but nesting on the ground is really unusual. Could be minor brain damage. Is his balance ok?

I would keep him under observation in an outdoor enclosure, if possible mixed with other squirrels to learn from; Maybe he just needs some more time to recover and get over whatever happened to him.

Does that help any?

Miss Dolittle
Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator
Stephenville, Erath County, Texas

Rainbow Wildlife Rescue

Hi Miss Dolittle....

I used to rehab before my child was born....11 years ago. A month ago I got a call from a family member about a squirrel, so I went to get it.... and have been traveling back down memory lane ever since. )

Problem....I believe this little guy has suffered one or more head injuries and may not be suitable for release.

I nitial exam provided no evidence of injury other than the presence of shock where he hit the ground. However, after observing him , I am not sure that it would be safe to release him.

He will climb a tree, rarely, but will only go around 10 feet high at the max. He will not venture far from the trunk of the tree onto a branch. He does not seem to have a problem gripping or holding, but out of nowhere he will just fall completely backwards onto the ground. He has done this at least 10 times since I have had him. He is just walking along or sitting and he just falls. He is not scrambling to hang on. It's not that he is losing his grip. It's almost like he blacks out and just falls. After a fall he is always traumatized - and sore I am sure. I truly think he has developed a fear of heights and a fear of falling. At times he has probably sprained a foot, as he appears t ender. But no dilated pupils or fluid from the mouth or any ot her opening indicating a massive injury.

He is fully instinctual, but his use of his abilities seems skewed around what I believe to be a real fear of being in a tree. He is nesting, but IT IS ON THE GROUND, almost in a burrow of sorts. He has no desire to jump AT ALL. He is a big eater, and does well with cracking nuts, eating tree bark, or hulling veggies to eat. He expresses normal defense mechanisms.

I am just really concerned for him and think he would be better suited if he was isolated to an outdoor area where other animals would not be a threat.

I have never seen anything like this in all my years of rehabbing. Can you offer your perspective please?


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Old 07-18-2009, 07:06 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Location: Texas
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Default Re: Developmental or neurological disorder?

Thanks for posting the emails, Mommybritches. Hopefully others have some more insight!!
Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator (Texas)
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