Welcome to Life in Squirreldom!
I began chronicling my experiences fostering orphaned squirrels for the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley on my other blog, Embrace Adventure, but have decided that these little guys are interesting enough to warrant their own blog. 🙂 If you’d like to see how it all started, check out this page that tells the story of the first set I raised, right from the beginning.
Now to what’s new… Last week, I released the set I fostered this spring into my backyard. It was bittersweet, because one of the squirrels had passed away while it was in the outdoor enclosure, where we put them for a few weeks between home care and release. We don’t know what happened. I also don’t know which specific one it was, but that’s probably just as well. They’re all special and the loss of any one is definitely a sad occurrence after we’ve put so much time into getting them to that point. But unfortunately, sometimes they have internal injuries or some other condition that doesn’t show up until they’re older.
But the other five were more than healthy, as our squirrel coordinator, June, could attest to when she tried to catch them to put them in carriers so I could bring them home. They gave her a real run for her money, which is the best possible sign that they’re truly wild, and that we’ve done our jobs correctly!
I took my last two squirrels of this season to the Center today to join their four “siblings” in an outdoor enclosure for the next few weeks until I can release them all back into the wild.
Speaking of wild, that’s the way we’re describing this season after the huge onslaught of the wee critters we received. I don’t know what the final count is (and there could still be stragglers), but we usually get around 50 in March. This year there were more than 80!
I’ll write more about this season’s squirrel adventures later, but for now I’ll just post a few pics to remind you why it is I love doing this!
Last Thursday I brought my first set of squirrels back home from the Wildlife Center and released them. Yay!
I actually got a bonus squirrel out of the deal. I had been down at the center a couple of days earlier. When I checked out the enclosure, I was quite surprised to see a black squirrel running around with my guys. What probably happened was that s/he escaped from one of the other enclosures and whoever caught him/her didn’t know which one s/he came out of. Oh well, no such thing as too many squirrels in my mind! 🙂
Here’s a first look at my new set.
The first one I got, the black one, opened his eyes today. One of the others also had just a slight opening in one eye at the last feeding.
The three smaller ones are still a little thin, but they seem to be getting a little more robust and energetic at each feeding. Two of them had bloody noses first thing this morning, but those seem to have cleared up. The weird thing, though, is that not one of them (not even the big one) has peed once for me while stimulating them. They don’t seem to be uncomfortable, so I assume they’ve been going in the carrier (you can’t really tell, because at this size we’re talking just a few drops). They have been pooping to various degrees and, as I said, they seem healthy otherwise, so I’ll try not to worry too much about it for the time being.
Three more squirrels came into the center today. I brought them home and kept them separated from my other guy until their next feeding, then put them all in together. I have one more feeding to go today, so I’ll have a chance to see how they’re getting along before I go to bed.
Well, I’m a Mom again.
There are still some stragglers coming into the wildlife center, so I picked up a new little guy today. He’s already about 120 grams, but his eyes haven’t opened yet. I was supposed to get two more that are currently at another volunteer’s home, but apparently one of them has diarrhea, so they want to get him stabilized before handing him off to me. But whether it’s those particular ones, I’ll definitely get another two or three in the next couple of days, so this guy won’t have to be alone for too long.
My new charge is almost completely black, totally different from my last bunch. Because I just picked him up today, I’ll wait to take some pics so he can get settled into his new environment. I’ve fed him once since I got him home. It’s really weird to be holding such a small one again.
As for my first set, I’ll be going into the center tomorrow to pick up some more formula, so I’ll check on how they’re doing. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again!
I finally have a chance to report on how the transfer to the enclosure at the wildlife center went last Monday.
The first challenge was just transferring them from their cage to the cat carrier. Three of them went easily; the other two, not so much. But eventually I managed to snag all five of them. I put some of their bedding in the carrier with them so they’d have familiar scents around them during the trip.
Here’s a picture of their new home:
It’s 4′ x 6′ x 8′, which gives them a heckuva lot more room for running and climbing than the little cage in my spare room. Before I moved them in, I did a little prep work. I had taken the nest material from their hammock at home with me and filled up their new hammock with it, and spread some food around the ground to give them an incentive to come out of the carrier.
More pics. My little charges will be heading back to the Wildlife Center tomorrow to spend a few weeks in a large outdoor enclosure until they’re ready to be released. So I’m posting a bunch more photos so we won’t forget them while they’re gone. 🙂 The good news is that they will be back, as the plan is to release them in my own backyard. I already have a few eastern grey squirrels here, so we know it will be a suitable environment for them. Until then, though…