I Raised a Baby Squirrel

I have always loved squirrels, even though they are classified as rodents and I hate rodents, squirrels are cool.

Several years ago, my son (an avid animal lover) found a baby squirrel which was treed by the neighbors dog.  The baby barely had his eyes open. He brought it home and we put it in a little shoe box. The next morning I got up early and started searching the internet for instructions on how to raise one of those cute critters. I came across a web site by a lady who lived about 30 miles away. I called her and she told me to bring it over. So, I drive on over thinking this lady was going to take this baby squirrel off my hands. She invites me in, and examines the baby.  She tells me it's a "he" and he's severely dehydrated. OK, so she takes an IV bag of Lactated Ringers, draws some up in a syringe and injects about 5cc of the fluid into his little butt area. Now, there's this huge lump where this was injected and I'm mortified! His butt was almost as big as 1/2 his body. So she proceeds to start telling me how to care for him. Now I'm really mortified,  ME? TAKE CARE OF HIM? No problem, she says! She tells me to go to the pet store, buy some powdered puppy formula. She gave me a couple of syringes and tells me how hot to heat the water, make the puppy formula and feed this critter with a syringe! And she tells me I have to keep him warm with a hot water bottle! Sheesh! So, on my way home, I stop and buy a canister of puppy formula, go home and start feeding this little guy with a syringe.  Now, this is worse than a baby. You have to feed him every 3 or so hours and change the water in the bottle as it cools to keep him warm. So, this little guy goes to work with me every night in a little 6 pack soft side cooler with his little water bottle, he goes with me on a couple out of town trips I have to make, all the while sucking the formula out of this little syringe faster and faster as he grows. We named him Rocky (as in Moose and Squirrel)  The lady calls and asks how things are going. I tell her and she said just keep on doing what you're doing and start feeding him monkey biscuits. HUH? monkey biscuits?  So I finally find a pet store that has monkey biscuits. (In case you're wondering, they're little briquettes that look like tan lava rocks) and the little guy starts devouring them along with the formula. Meanwhile, he's growing by leaps and bounds and shredding my arms when he runs up them!  I finally have my husband bring in the big bird cage from my beloved Ms. Scarlett (who went over the rainbow bridge) and layered it with leaves, twigs and a couple of branches so he could climb.

Nearly 2 months later, I can hardly handle him anymore, he's shredding everything, including my skin and one day I was feeding him and he grabbed the syringe in between his little paws (?) and shreds the hell out of the syringe! He just shredded it with his teeth into tiny little pieces!  Now we know it's time to let him go..... So we take the cage outside and put it near a tree and he goes on top, runs up the tree and comes back down. He's running along the railing of the wrap around porch and he's helping my husband change the oil in his truck as we're getting ready to go on vacation.  It's now time for him to go out into the world on his own.  The next day we leave to go on vacation and I'm sick inside because I'm going to miss him, I'm worried about what he's going to eat because he needs to learn to forage for food and it's winter and because of hawks, owls and turkey buzzards out here in the country. Anyway, he did well. When we returned, he was pretty much acclimated to nature and he still came on the porch sometimes. I got to where I put out a monkey biscuit for him a couple of times a week. he came and ate them. I put them out for nearly 4 years. Then he didn't come around anymore. Looking back it was a marvelous experience that I'm glad I had the opportunity to have! And I loved him too!
 

JojoWazoo JojoWazoo
46-50, F
1 Response Feb 17, 2009

Thank you for telling me you enjoyed it. I love nature and wildlife too. Feeding the ducks is really cool. We sometimes buy old bread from the bread store and take the grand kids to feed them. One time we were feeding some Canadian Geese and boy they got really mean and nasty! I thought we were a goner! I picked up the kids and ran and they were literally chasing us and honking all the way to the car! Holy Mac! I'll NEVER feed the geese again! We even plant "deer greens" along the wood line and watch the does and fawns come to eat them. It is so awesome. Sometimes our little Mr. Hankie (Italian Greyhound) plays with the fawns! They like to spar a little bit! The first time I saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes!<br />
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We also have an owl box that has a screech owl cycle through it sometimes. He is pretty tolerant of us getting nearby (within reason) and taking pictures of him! Right now there's a squirrel in there! Go figure.