Would you let your kids play with squirrels? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Would you let your kids play with squirrels?
Sure, I would let my kids play with squirrels, including feeding them and petting them 16 7.92%
I would let them feed them, but not touch them in any way 57 28.22%
NO WAY, I would have nothing to do with them. 122 60.40%
Other, please explain 7 3.47%
Voters: 202. You may not vote on this poll

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#31 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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Heck, the fleas alone are a deterrent enough for me.

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#32 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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While it's possible for squirrels to get rabies, it almost never happens. Squirrels don't get distemper. They can carry fleas that transmit plague in some parts of the country, but that's not a concern in the OP's area.

I probably would discourage my kids from playing with or feeding the baby squirrels because of the possibility they might get nipped, and because if the squirrels get too comfortable with people they might become a nuisance. But I don't see it as a big deal either way.
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#33 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
While it's possible for squirrels to get rabies, it almost never happens. Squirrels don't get distemper. They can carry fleas that transmit plague in some parts of the country, but that's not a concern in the OP's area.
Ah, good to know, thanks! I'd still be concerned about lyme disease and other problems, which also occur in my area.

In any event, disease aside, it's no fun to be bitten by a rodent - which is very likely to happen.
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#34 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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any squirrel who is willing to walk up to two rambunctious boys and allow them to be petted deserves to be 'honoured'.

ultimately it is your philosophy. but me - i would totally honor the specialness that is happening.

you didnt go after the squirrels. the squirrels chose you guys.

*shrug* i am not big on disease and parasites. that would not stop me. i would take the precautions taken for touching any unknown animal - even domesticated.

we did have a squirrel who would take apples out of my dd's hands. and it was such a huge lesson for my then 4 year old. it brought out the gentleness in her. that squirrel taught her to be 'gentler' than our cats did.

i would definitely not keep them as pets. i would wait for the natural thing to happen. wait for the squirrels to move out (when the weather is right otherwise destroying the nest now would be essentially killing them), hopefully to a tree in your yard and see what happens. if they continue to 'hang out' with your boys.

one of my favourite memories from my childhood was when a crow adopted me and we would hang out together.

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#35 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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no no no
rats with cute outfits

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#36 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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One more thing to ad and I am done...

Squirrels are NOT known carriers of rabies! As any animal/human *can* come in contact with rabies and *can* contract rabies, squirrels are not known carriers.
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#37 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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no way! cute as they are, and sweet as they may be at the moment, they are wild animals who carry lots of wild animal cooties. they are very prone to bite, also. i would let them be.
This.

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#38 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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Heck, the fleas alone are a deterrent enough for me.
We took care of some babies briefly when I was a kid. I don't know if they fell out of their nest or what but our area was full of cats so basically we were just trying to keep the cats from eating them. The babies did die and the number of fleas that leapt off those tiny bodies was truly impressive!

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#39 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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This is a bit alarmist and I don't agree at all. (I also don't agree with keeping squirrels as pets but I don't think it's a reason to become paranoid either) You can EASILY get ringworm from a doorknob! My DS got bit by a field mouse that my cat caught a few months back. He didn't need rabies shots and he is just fine.

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The thing is those squirrels have never been to a vet. They have not gotten rabies shots. No one checks them for flees. Yada-yada. Though thy are acting like domestic animals they aren't cared for as domestic animals are.

When grandpa's cat bit DS b/c DS pulled his tail, I kissed it, settled DS down and explained that you don't pull cat's tails. I could take this relaxed attitude about it b/c I know GP's cat is basically healthy. If one of those squirrels bit one of you boys they would need rabies shots and a course of anti-biotics.

Even just petting the squirrels risks getting ringworm, and if they do carry rabies just coming in contact with their saliva is a slight risk (if one happened to have an open wound such as a paper cut and the saliva got in.)

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#40 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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I think the chances of getting ringworm from a doorknob would be... significantly lower. Otherwise we'd all be infested, with all of the doorknobs we come into contact with daily.

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#41 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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I needed stitches as a child after a squirrel bite.
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#42 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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While it's possible for squirrels to get rabies, it almost never happens. Squirrels don't get distemper. They can carry fleas that transmit plague in some parts of the country, but that's not a concern in the OP's area.

I probably would discourage my kids from playing with or feeding the baby squirrels because of the possibility they might get nipped, and because if the squirrels get too comfortable with people they might become a nuisance. But I don't see it as a big deal either way.
This. But what a wonderful opportunity for your kids to observe them up close! I'd just find ways of limiting their contact, because as others have said, if you encourage the squirrels and they become a nuisance for other humans, it really could endanger their lives.

I had a semi-tame, wild rabbit as a child (it was wild, but would climb into my lap sometimes), so I completely understand the appeal, and personally wouldn't worry too much about the 'what-if's' for my children. I think the benefit of learning about wild animals outweighs the minor risks, as long as there is no specific disease outbreak in your area that you'd want to avoid. However, if you truly love the animals, this is not the best thing for them, and that needs to be taken into account.

Suggestion: If your kids are old enough, look into wildlife rehab programs in your area. I trained as a wild life rehabber years ago, and many areas have fantastic programs that I bet your kids would be very interested in after their experience with your resident squirrels.
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#43 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
any squirrel who is willing to walk up to two rambunctious boys and allow them to be petted deserves to be 'honoured'.

ultimately it is your philosophy. but me - i would totally honor the specialness that is happening.

you didnt go after the squirrels. the squirrels chose you guys.

*shrug* i am not big on disease and parasites. that would not stop me. i would take the precautions taken for touching any unknown animal - even domesticated.

we did have a squirrel who would take apples out of my dd's hands. and it was such a huge lesson for my then 4 year old. it brought out the gentleness in her. that squirrel taught her to be 'gentler' than our cats did.

i would definitely not keep them as pets. i would wait for the natural thing to happen. wait for the squirrels to move out (when the weather is right otherwise destroying the nest now would be essentially killing them), hopefully to a tree in your yard and see what happens. if they continue to 'hang out' with your boys.

one of my favourite memories from my childhood was when a crow adopted me and we would hang out together.
Thank you, this is exactly how I feel. It is a really unique and special opportunity. And I think we can really teach the boys some things through it. Including respecting the animals, caring for them and ultimately, doing what is best for them.

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#44 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
any squirrel who is willing to walk up to two rambunctious boys and allow them to be petted deserves to be 'honoured'.

ultimately it is your philosophy. but me - i would totally honor the specialness that is happening.

you didnt go after the squirrels. the squirrels chose you guys.

*shrug* i am not big on disease and parasites. that would not stop me. i would take the precautions taken for touching any unknown animal - even domesticated.

we did have a squirrel who would take apples out of my dd's hands. and it was such a huge lesson for my then 4 year old. it brought out the gentleness in her. that squirrel taught her to be 'gentler' than our cats did.

i would definitely not keep them as pets. i would wait for the natural thing to happen. wait for the squirrels to move out (when the weather is right otherwise destroying the nest now would be essentially killing them), hopefully to a tree in your yard and see what happens. if they continue to 'hang out' with your boys.

one of my favourite memories from my childhood was when a crow adopted me and we would hang out together.
Yes, I agree. It could be a great learning experience for your kids.
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#45 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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I think the chances of getting ringworm from a doorknob would be... significantly lower. Otherwise we'd all be infested, with all of the doorknobs we come into contact with daily.
ringworm is VERY very common actually. (IE; jock itch/athletes foot are a common a form of ringworm).

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#46 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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any squirrel who is willing to walk up to two rambunctious boys and allow them to be petted deserves to be 'honoured'.
I agree. I'm surprised the squirrels hung around when the boys were running.

I grew up on a farm, we had squirrels. they never came near us. If we left food(peanuts & sunflower seeds) out for them they'd take it but rarely did we see them take it.

We'd go to the lake alot & there are ALOT of squirrels there. They'd come up to us & we'd feed them sunflower seeds. We usually stayed there for a week or so & they'd keep coming up to us, but if we saw one in the bush or wandering around & got close to it the squirrel would run away. I've had the odd squirrel run up my pant legs, hurts less than a baby kitten doing it.lol
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#47 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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ringworm is VERY very common actually. (IE; jock itch/athletes foot are a common a form of ringworm).
I don't want to know what you'd be doing with a doorknob to catch jock itch from it.

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#48 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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I don't want to know what you'd be doing with a doorknob to catch jock itch from it.
lol. it's just a different strain of the fungus. I don't think you get jock itch from the doorknob per say but men have to touch the door then use a urinal or get dressed in a locker room, right? I think there is a female version too if I recall correctly. I have gotten it from using public showers! (athletes foot)

you can get ringworm from basically any surface! it lives awhile.

ETA- you are more likely to get ringworm from getting your haircut than petting a squirrel! (and I have seen some nasty unsanitary practices in NUMEROUS salons over the years! blech!) ringworm is common.

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#49 of 58 Old 03-18-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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Absolutely not. I volunteer at a wildlife rehab center and we raise squirrels every year. They are very sweet and tame for the first few weeks, then they start becoming extremely territorial and wild. They get extremely mean and aggressive, bite and claw like crazy, etc. That's when we move them to an outside cage and progress to a soft release. Since the squirrels you're seeing are well-furred and starting to come out of the nest I would guess the wild stage is fast approaching. Don't touch them or feed them or encourage them in any way. We've have squirrels that would hang around in the woods around the rehab center after their release and chase us down, climb us, and bite if we kept them inside too long and they got too comfortable with humans.
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#50 of 58 Old 03-20-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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My DH had neighbors growing up that ate them.
Totally OT, but, since this was a one-line response, and didn't contain the word "squirrel", my brain immediately said that the "them" that had been eaten had to be your dh's family.

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#51 of 58 Old 03-20-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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I would probably play this one pretty carefully. I'd let my kids interact some with the squirrels, but only for a short time, especially if they were orphans. I talk with my children frequently about how to be safe outside, and respect for animals (and what they can do.)

I had a friend who was a logger and sometimes baby squirrels would fall out of the trees when they were cutting. They would feed them and keep them going until they were big enough to be on their own, but no more. Even the friendly ones. I can see this approach.

I think I would probably talk to my kids about the needs of squirrels and help them evaluate whether or not we could provide those needs, and how to go about doing it. (In the case of orphaned baby squirrels, maybe taking them to the "squirrel doctor", that is, the vet, might be the best option. We did that once when dh found one that had fallen out of a tree. The vet put it on a warmer, and fed it, and then transferred it to a wildlife rehab place.)

There are a lot of lessons your boys could learn from the squirrels, sure, but I'd proceed with much caution.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#52 of 58 Old 03-21-2010, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Totally OT, but, since this was a one-line response, and didn't contain the word "squirrel", my brain immediately said that the "them" that had been eaten had to be your dh's family.

Heather-- I'm a <>< SAHM of two fabulous boys 8/05 and 2/07
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#53 of 58 Old 03-21-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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They are wild animals. I wouldn't feed them unless I was planning on taming one as a pet, but if you're going to do that, the squirrel would have to still be a nursling, I think. I would be worried about parasites, disease, etc.

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#54 of 58 Old 03-23-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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No.

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#55 of 58 Old 03-23-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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OMG - Your squirrels sound so cute!
I havn't read all the replies but I wish we had squirrles like that!
Mind - we don't even get birds in our garden because of the cats. One caught a squirrel once (our garden is lined with hazelnut trees so they are about) and as sad as it was, it was pretty amazing too that one actually caught one! lol

I remember visiting New York once, a lady in the park told me off for freeding the squirrels and birds! I was having so much fun though - they were crawling all over me!

I guess one worry is disease. Tetanus here - we don't have rabies in this country. And even though we don't vax - I am pretty confident with my ability to treat a bite if one were to occure. I have been bit by mice several times rescuing them from my cats - they are so thankful they give me a love bite! lmao

I personally would love a squirrel as a pet - but once again, the cats are a problem! lol If we didn't have the cats - they could be our 'free range' pets hehe! I personally wouldn't mind making that a habit (feeding them). You can buy chipmunks as pets here though - they are pretty cute - look very much like squirrels! hehe

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#56 of 58 Old 03-23-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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No, our old neighbor had a pet squirrel, and because it was comfortable with people it would jump on folks who came up on their porch, causing a lot of uncomfortable visitors.

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#57 of 58 Old 03-25-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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You arent supposed to feed wild animals - what happens when your kids loose interest, you go on vacation or move? They starve.

I would let ds watch them, but not feed or touch them.
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#58 of 58 Old 03-25-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pygmywombat View Post
Absolutely not. I volunteer at a wildlife rehab center and we raise squirrels every year. They are very sweet and tame for the first few weeks, then they start becoming extremely territorial and wild. They get extremely mean and aggressive, bite and claw like crazy, etc. That's when we move them to an outside cage and progress to a soft release. Since the squirrels you're seeing are well-furred and starting to come out of the nest I would guess the wild stage is fast approaching. Don't touch them or feed them or encourage them in any way. We've have squirrels that would hang around in the woods around the rehab center after their release and chase us down, climb us, and bite if we kept them inside too long and they got too comfortable with humans.
Yes, in the park near here people feed the squirrels and they become rather aggressive when people don't pony up. Becoming more wild seems to be the case with a lot of animals, I have noticed the same thing with raccoons.

Also, if they get in the house they are dangerous, they will chew wires and cause electrical fires.

And it's also easy for them to get hurt if they are too friendly - in that park my mom actually saw one accidentally stepped on when it approached someone who didn't notice it.

I'd let the kids watch them, but I wouldn't encourage a lot of other interaction. Feeding, if you do it carefully, may be ok - either seeds or things that can't be carried away, and if you start you must continue through the winter.

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