If you or your community, scout or other group is looking for a worthwhile project to help our wildlife, building a squirrel pre-release cage on your property would be a tremendous help to successfully rehabbing our young squirrels.
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Out of over 1,200 animals received each year for rehab, we take in more squirrels than any other mammal. Rehabbing organizations are required by regulations to provide a “soft release” for orphaned or injured squirrels when they are healthy and old enough. Young squirrels, when they are approximately 3 months old, are transferred from large indoor cages to larger outdoor wood-and- wire “pre-release” cages, where they will spend several weeks enjoying natural habitat, warm nest boxes and food, and acclimating to the outdoor weather. Once released, in spring through early fall, they will return to the cage for a week or two for food and shelter while they are building nests and otherwise adapting to the wild.
While Sierra Wildlife Rescue’s squirrel rehabbers have built a sufficient number of release cages on their properties over numerous years, the number of squirrels received for rehab is increasing annually, and our need for additional cages has grown. The major difficulties we are facing are increased competition for release cages every year and avoiding over-populating areas with established cages.
Larger properties are best, but even an acre or two in an uncrowded neighborhood will do. No previous experience is necessary, just a desire to help and some building skills. After a cage is established, daily care requires providing food and water while the animals are in the cage and for a short while after they are released, and requires less than an hour a day. You will not have to handle the squirrels. We will help you organize the cage with appropriate habitat and other necessities, and provide hands-on training with an experienced squirrel rehabber on caring for the squirrels. Since SWR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donation of the cage materials is fully tax deductible.
If interested, e-mail [email protected]; include the name of your area of El Dorado County and your phone number. An SWR representative will contact you as soon as possible to further discuss possibly building a cage.