The Korean squirrel is a land animal. In the wild, it lives in the deciduous forests at the edge of the woods. A squirrel population usually has a density of 5 to 10 individuals per hectare. It digs its own burrow in the ground and this burrow is made up of a series of tunnels that end in a sort of chambers: the “nest” and the “dispense” for example. The former is lined with a flexible and insulating material such as grass, moss and dead leaves. It is in this room that the squirrel sleeps, takes refuge during the cold winter months and protects itself from the hot summers. In the other room, he stores all the food found during the summer, which will help him survive the long winter months.
Its coat is characterized by a reddish-brown color, with five black longitudinal lines that follow the entire body from neck to tail. Similar longitudinal stripes are also present around the eyes. It measures between 20-30 cm long, including the tail, which he wears as a plume in most cases, but sometimes curled over his back. The tail is only as bushy as that of other squirrels and this lack of hair is the consequence of its rubbing on the bars of the cage.
He is a very good climber who does not particularly enjoy the company of his fellow squirrels (although he is very social). Very attached to his territory, he can be raised alone. He is particularly active during the day, during which he likes to dig, climb and jump from branch to branch. And it is for all these reasons that his cage must be very well equipped, with the right accessories.
He is a somewhat shy pet: it is necessary to approach him little by little and with a lot of gentleness, for example by offering him a small treat presented on the palm of your hand. Never force him to approach you, as he might get scared and, as a reaction, bite you and then hide in his lair. It is essential to remember that the only way to take him in your hands without traumatizing him is to let him climb on you using his sense of greed and curiosity. Never take him by the tail, as it could break and cause him a psycho-physical trauma followed by his death.
The cage and its environment
The ideal cage for the Korean squirrel (and generally the most recommended) is rectangular in shape, like a sailboat for large parrots. It should be equipped with corn cob and hay bedding, twigs (securely attached), ladders, tunnels and a nest shed in which the squirrel can burrow.
The cage should be located in a well-lit room, with a constant temperature and away from the television or hi-fi system, in order to ensure a peaceful environment without sound waves (certain frequencies particularly disturb this species of squirrel). During the winter, it is preferable to warm the cage, either by using heating mats (to be installed under its “nest”) or electric cables (to be fixed outside the cage, so that the squirrel cannot reach them). Even though in the wild it hibernates from October to April, in captivity this only happens very rarely (unless weather conditions favour hibernation).
Finally, it should be noted that smoking is very harmful to the Korean squirrel.
The Korean squirrel reaches sexual maturity at about 11 months. Generally, it breeds in spring and summer and in each breeding season it can have up to four litters of 3-4 young each. The gestation period lasts between 29-35 days and weaning of the young occurs 2 months after birth.
The Korean squirrel lives on average between 4 and 6 years, if all its needs and requirements are taken into account.
As an omnivore, the Korean squirrel needs a varied diet: it can eat fruits, seeds, vegetables and a few foods of animal origin. Among the fresh fruits, cherries are particularly suitable for its diet (once the tail is removed, which proves to be toxic), but also pears, apples, peaches, oranges, tangerines, clementines and pomegranates. It is always advisable to wash and dry fruits and vegetables and administer them at room temperature. Among the dried fruits, he likes peanuts, nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chestnuts and pine nuts, which should not be roasted or salted and administered in very small quantities. The fibre and mineral content comes from vegetables, the most suitable are carrots, dandelion leaves and flowers, tomatoes and salads, such as lettuce, endive or chicory.
A small amount of protein is provided by foods of animal origin, such as insect larvae (butterflies), “light” kibbles for dogs, chicken breasts and yoghurt. Remember, however, to incorporate them with fresh fruits and vegetables.
As far as water is concerned, it should always be available, via a drip, and replaced every day. If you notice that he doesn’t drink much, you can stimulate him with cold tea (which he loves), but without exaggeration.
Squirrels do not require any type of vaccination, but it is preferable to perform a stool test every year to check for intestinal parasites. Abrupt temperature changes, drafts and exposure to high heat (beware of the summer months) should be avoided. Furthermore, if you wish to add a new specimen to the cage, it is advisable to quarantine the newcomer to avoid possible disease transmission.
Squirrels are extremely clean animals, which do not need to be washed.
And now that you know everything or almost everything about the habits and morals of this adorable rodent, you can in all tranquility turn to a breeder to adopt one or more.