Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2009 09:21
For housing, the minimum size wire habitat for one Flying Squirrel should be 18" x 18" x 24" tall with a wire spacing maximum of 1/2." Bigger and taller is better. A nest box measuring 5" x 5" x 5" with a removable or hinged top, should be provided to give it a dark place to sleep. A wren box does well. The nest box should be furnished with cotton, wood shavings (NOT cedar), or grass hay for bedding.
The cage should have a cuttlebone or calcium block, brown salt/mineral spool, mineral block (an excellent source is Hagen Mineral Beak Block which comes in the shape of an acorn), water bottle, running wheel, some perches are needed, tree branches are best for climbing and gnawing.
(Cleaning logs, branches and wooden items: Soak in 1/2 tsp. dawn added to 1/2 cup bleach and 5 gal. hot water. Then rinse under water for 5 minutes and let them air dry outside.)
More nest boxes than squirrels. One nest box up at the top of the cage and one at the bottom. A couple of shelves or places to sit at different levels is a good idea, also. Any natural fiber rope makes a good toy as does a dry corn cob. Sweat shirt sleeves hung up or some toddler size bib overalls seem to be liked.
Unlike many pets which require normal household temperatures, such as 70 - 75 degrees, the adult squirrel will do fine if kept outdoors with no worries as long as they are away from ants, predators and extreme weather ... in the winter protect from the wind and snow. If kept indoors, however, do not place in direct sunlight.
Nontoxic branches, bird perches, hemp ropes, and an exercise wheel are all important for exercise for caged fliers. Wodent Wheels are approved by the ASPCA ... http://www.transoniq.com/ The exercise wheel called Comfort Wheel has a solid back and running surface with no spokes. The front is completely open. It is mounted on a wire base or can be mounted to the cage wire. If you have 1/2" x 1 wire, you may have to cut one cross wire to mount it. It would work on 1/2" x 3" wire. They seem to last longer if left on the stand. The wheel is mounted on a plastic spindle and when it becomes too worn to hold the wheel on, wedged a tiny, folded piece of cardboard into the slit at the end of the spindle and it will hold up just fine. (That may not make a whole lot of sense to you unless you are holding a Comfort Wheel in your hand, looking at the spindle. But it does work, and extends the life of the wheel.) Here's a pic: http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=8535
You can also mount it on a wire shelf and use wire or plastic zip-lock ties to secure both wheel and wire shelf to the cage. AND, it is very quiet as the axle is plastic. It won't last as long as a Wodent Wheel, but it is fairly inexpensive and you sure can't beat the price at around $7.00 depending what size you get.
A new arrival in wheels and currently THE preferred wheel of HOFs everywhere is the Stealthwheel. http://www.sugaraesattic.com/stealthwheels.htm It's main advantage is it quietness (it has a ball wearing) and the grid floor makes cleaning a breeze as urine and feces fall thru. Costs about the same as Wodent, but MUCH easier to clean. Flyers also like to grip the gride once they get it going and spin around in circles until it comes to rest. They can still run full out like on the others.
WARNING: Leyna lost a flyer to a broken back and thinks she figured out what happened. She had 2 wheels in their cage, 1 hanging on the side, the other sitting on the bottom. The wheel that just sat in the cage, would move around when her flyers ran in it and one of the branches was just high enough that the wheel can go under it, but a wheel and a flyer couldn't fit. Leyna thinks that somehow, her flyer got crushed in between the wheel and the branch. So take care when placing your wheels in a cage.
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