And Then There Were Four

I got another squirrel on Sunday. It was really windy all day, so I wasn’t surprised when I got the call. Her nest had been blown from a 30-foot palm tree. She was brought in the Center with her bigger brother, but unfortunately he had too many serious injuries for us to be able to save him. She, on the other hand, seems to have a real fighting spirit and she’s doing very well now. (However, I’m always more than happy to accept any good thoughts headed our way!)

Here’s a picture of the four of them right after a feeding. She’s the one on the right.

And here’s a closer look at the two on the left, just because… :)

The new girl came in at about 52 grams, so she’s a little younger than the other three, but close enough to be able to raise them together. She was very cold and thin and dehydrated and, like most we get, riddled with fleas. But we got her warmed up and hydrated and now she’s on formula and eating really well.

We call squirrels that look like her a “dirty face” because they have very dark markings around their nose and mouth. You can get a sense of the difference in this pic.

Here’s another photo of the four of them. That’s her jammed in the middle… sometimes I wonder how they don’t end up smothering each other!

In case you’re wondering about the fuzzy things in the pictures, people donate their used furs to us and we cut up pieces so that babies can feel like they’re sleeping near their mother.

You might also notice in that photo that she has another interesting characteristic. Her tail is shorter than it should be. It’s like the tip has been cut off at some point. I can’t imagine this was a result of the fall, especially since it wasn’t bleeding when she came in. It’s possible it was a birth defect. So far it doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all. And I’ve got a couple of backyard squirrels that only have about half their tails, so it’s not something that will impair her as an adult.

Here are a few more pics from the last few days.

And one last bonus pic. I managed to get a nice shot of one of my backyard Fox squirrels. I didn’t raise her (I know because I’ve never released Foxes here). I just love her coat… that red colour is so striking. But looking at how fat and furry she is, it’s hard to believe that she and my little skinny guys are the same type of animal!

And So It Begins…

I got my first squirrels of the season on Friday. There are three of them—two girls and a boy, all Eastern Greys—and them came in around 45g each, making them probably somewhere between three and four weeks old now.

These guys were found in a nest in someone’s roof when the person was having some work done to it. So they had no injuries, which is good. The arrived at the Center last Sunday and my home-care colleague, Carla, took care of them for the first several days, so they were in good shape when I got them. They’re all eating, peeing, and pooping well, which is about all we can ask at this point in their lives. :)

Here are some first pics.

Wish us all luck!

Squirrel Tales

The Animal Care Coordinator at the WCSV sent out a note today announcing that the first baby of the season had been brought in. Not a squirrel—it was a fledgling Anna’s hummingbird. But it’s definitely a harbinger of things to come… soon.

Of course, I know lots of squirrel lovers from my work at the Center. But I’m always thrilled when I find out that my non-rehabber friends also enjoy having the little critters around. Two of my colleagues from an online writing group have shared their squirrel appreciation with me (and their gratitude for the work we do for them), so I’m passing on their stories.

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In Memoriam

As we’re about to start a new year, which means only a couple of more months before the first new squirrel babies start arriving at the Center, I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to those furry friends that are no longer with us.

By definition, animals that arrive at the Center are already at risk, whether from injury, illness, losing their mother (and her perfectly nutrionally balanced milk), or simply the stress they experience from us trying to help them. But knowing that doesn’t make it any less difficult when we lose them, no matter how briefly they touched our lives.

Warning: Before reading the rest of this entry, you may want to make sure you have some tissues nearby.

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Christmas in Squirreldom

When I was home in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago, I woke up one morning to fresh snow falling. I don’t see that very often in California (!), so I went to the window to appreciate its beauty.

My parents’ backyard borders on national parkland, which is heavily forested. As I looked outside, I saw a black squirrel, dusted in snow, racing along a high branch, jumping from tree to tree, finally arriving back at his nest. I wonder if this is what he was rushing back for:

Happy Holidays to all my nutty friends, furry and otherwise. :)

Ho Ho Ho!

Squirrels Gone Wild

Based on the date of my last post—July 14th—you would probably think that I didn’t have any more squirrels since then… Um, no.

Quite the opposite in fact. We had a major onslaught of squirrels at the Center during this year’s summer season, and I was kept quite busy with my little charges—so busy, in fact, I wasn’t able to post anything about them at the time. And even though I’ve been squirrel-free since the end of September, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to write about them. It seems especially fitting to do so today, since I’m very thankful I’ve had the opportunity to work with these brave little animals over the last two years.

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Gone, Gone, Gone… They’ve Been Gone So Long…

Okay, so they’ve only been gone for a week, but it seems like a lot longer!

I took my two not-so-little squirrels to another volunteer’s home last Monday. She has an outdoor enclosure, so she’ll continue feeding them while they strengthen their muscles and skills so they’ll be in prime condition when they are released back into the wild.

They were certainly ready to make the transition. Often when we bring squirrels to an enclosure, they hold back in their carrier or cage for a while and, even once they venture out, it’s not unusual for them to run to one place and “freeze” for a while until they feel comfortable. Not these guys! The minute we opened the carrier door, they SPRANG right out and ran all over the sides of the enclosure. One even jumped from one side to the other, missing my head by about an inch I might add!

In case you’ve forgotten what they looked like, this video has some nice scenes of them thoroughly enjoying the natural foods (e.g. branches, twigs, leaves, weeds, etc. from my backyard) I stock their cage with, which is another sign they’ll soon be ready for life in the great outdoors.

So I’m rodent-free for a while, but I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last, since on Tuesday we got our first babies of summer season into the Center! One of them was too badly injured to save, but the other one is now in the caring hands of one of our other foster moms. Two more came in on Saturday—little pinkies between 20-25g… I’m not sure who’s taking them or if they’ll make it. But I do know they’ll be given every possible chance!

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Change of Address

Quick administration note: I’ve changed the URL for this blog to www.LifeInSquirreldom.com, so if any of you readers have a link pointed to it, I’d appreciate it if you could update it. The old URL redirects to this one, so old links won’t be broken.

Likewise, my new e-mail address is Mama_Squirrel@LifeInSquirreldom.com.

If you’re an e-mail subscriber, you should continue to receive them without doing anything else (which you’ll know if you get this post in your Inbox tomorrow!).

If any of you happen to stumble upon any bugs as a result of this change, please let me know.