Today is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Really.
Naturally, it’s time to honor Chubs, the squirrel who lives with me. Since he moved in over the Summer (more accurately: fell down my chimney), you’ve had many questions about what it’s like caring for him. I’ve picked the top five and answered them below — and if you have any others, please feel free to ask in the comments!
1. What does he eat?
Since Chubs lives inside, he has a slightly different diet than wild squirrels because he doesn’t need to pack on as much weight for the Winter. He loves veggies and fruits and every morning, Joey chops up an organic mix. Some of his favorites are carrots, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, celery and apples. Recently, he’s been enjoying avocado, too.
Of course, he loves nuts. He gravitates towards almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
That said, everyone has a guilty pleasure. When Chubs has been a good boy, there’s nothing he enjoys more as a special treat than a big, crusty piece of bread.
2. Where does he live?
For the first few months of his life, he had a wood framed cage with chicken wire that Joey built but he quickly outgrew it. We could tell that he was getting restless from a lack of space to run around in and I had two massive IKEA wardrobes so we cleared one out, added mesh to the doors and built him a full-on jungle gym inside. He has mounted balconies made from old shelves, branches, a “nest” to burrow into for naps, a rope bridge and a water bottle. It’s the equivalent of a squirrel palace.
When we’re home, we let him roam in designated spaces. He loves to play with Rocky and even rolls over like a dog to have his belly scratched!
3. Is he potty trained?
Oddly enough, yes. It’s similar to having a cat. We have litter in the bottom of his cage and though he had a few accidents when he was a baby, he has been great over the last few months. When people ask how it’s possible, all I know is that he’s really smartâ€¦and he just knows.
4. Does he still do squirrel type things like burying nuts?
Constantly! Some behaviors are instinctual and even though he’s never lived in the wild, he still has all the typical squirrel mannerisms. We are constantly finding nuts and crackers hidden under our rugs and pillows.
When he’s not burying nutsâ€¦..he’s stealing my lipstick. I’ve dubbed him the Lipstick Bandit because recently, quite a few of my MAC shades have gone missing.
5. Don’t squirrels have sharp claws?
Yep. They’re like tiny needles! It was easy to play with him when he was a newborn but once his claws grew in, we ended up with a lot of scratches. These days, I always throw on a sweater before I let him out of his cage.
So, there you go. Your pressing squirrel questions have been answered! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to party with Chubs and celebrate his special day.