My 24 hours as a Squirrel Rahabilitator

I was jogging while my daughter rode her bike back to the house and we heard a rustling in a palm tree as we passed by. I didn’t think anything of it really, until I heard a chirping sound multiple times. So I looked back and saw something moving in the grass, and saw two of the frequenting neighborhood cats approaching; looking down and I saw a little baby squirrel. After picking it up and checking it out, we saw it was a male and he had a bloody nose, probably due to his journey down from the nest.
We started walking back towards the house, when I heard a cat meowing and more rustling in the grass. I rushed over and didn’t see anything, except a third cat. I tried to chase it away, but it just sat and meowed. So, looking closer, at the stump of the tree in the high grass was another baby. I searched around to see if there were anymore. This second baby was a bit smaller, and a female. Thankfully she had no injuries on her.  The two squirrels cuddled into a ball in my cupped hands as we made our way home.

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So precious

It was just about 7:30pm when we found the two babies. Got home, pulled up google and did about 45 minutes of research while the kid showered. Confident I had learned enough to get them through the critical first night, I rummaged for what I had on hand for them: a heating pad, a small shoe box, paper towels and a soft shirt. I also happened to have the correct syringes to feed them with. I checked them for injuries, bathed them, cleaned up the bloody nose on the male and wrapped them in the shirt and placed them into the middle of my chest. Thank Goodness for the workout I had, my body heat was up and they don’t really produce enough of their own body heat, it was a perfect place for the time being.

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We hurried to Pet Supermarket to pick up Puppy Formula, 20 minutes before they closed, than went to Publix to for grocery shopping, forgot to get pedialyte and they didn’t have the correct syringes, so we drove across to Walgreens for Pedialyte.

All the meanwhile, the squirrels snuggled in the black shirt, balled up and stuffed into my bra… I walked around with squirrels shirt. (Felt like I was hiding a secret from people, on a top-secret mission not to look weird or sneaky as I walked into the stored and shopped with a Black shirt wadded into the top of my shirt.)  We had everything we needed and the kid still had to get ready for bed, as well as for the next day of school.

We drove home, & I set up the squirrels on a warm heating pad in a shoe box with paper towels. I fed them the pedialyte; every 2-3 hours I would get up from to feed them; they were sooo dehydrated. In the morning, I had ro figure out what to do with them, kid had school and both the hububs and I worked. So I put them in a my overnight bag, with all of their essentials and brought them with me.

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Looks just like a work bag.

I had  them in their shirt, on a towel, on top of the heating pad, inside the bag. I was able to plug-in the pad occasionally and it would stay warm in between travels

Rehydrating them at work turned out to be an adventure. Thankfully it was a short shift day at work, I hydrated them before work, once while I wasn’t busy and right before I left. I placed the bag ont he seat next to me while I went out to eat and in the car rider line waiting to pick my daughter up. They were so quiet and well-behaved. Thankfully as the day went on, they were both getting better.

The female was doing better, from the start, than her brother; she urinated a bunch at 7:30am, and then at each feeding and even pooped a bit once. The Male didnt urinate untill the 10:30 feeding and still seemed dehydrated around 2:30. However, their skin flexibility, between the shoulders, was much better than it was the day before, and they both seemed more alert.With them both doing well, it was time to start thinking about formula. I hadn’t even opened it yet, and I researched their age; about 5 weeks, based on their eyes being opened, the fur on their feet and bellies, as well as having bottom teeth but no top teeth. They would need to be fed every 4 hours and  released in approximately 6-9 weeks.

I decided to take a Nap and dreamt about the 11 squirrels I grew up with; my mother would always seemed to be rescuing baby squirrels, she would nurse them back to health, rehab and release them. It was such an enriching experience for my sisters and I, that I thought it would be an enriching experience for my daughter. When I woke up, I researched what I needed to accomplish rehabbing these cute babies, I would need 2-3 cages, specific foods and a strict schedule.

Well, I really thought about it, and these ARE babies, I just finished hand rearing my two youngest cockatiels a year ago, and I thought I was done for a while. I work just about full-time and I am completing my last semester of school, always doing something for family or friends, have my daughter’s schedule to manage, as well as a full house and a hubby to be there for. I felt horrible for thinking about handing over these babies, that may have been meant to be my responsibility. Well after 5 phone calls, 40 minutes of listening to  “volunteer stuff” I found a lady whom I could drive the squirrels out to that night, so they didn’t miss a feeding.

When I got to the lady’s house, and saw all these wonderfully  cute squirrels of all ages, I kept thinking of the memories of raising them as a kid, and my heart broke a bit.

So there I was, I had found these precious babies at about 7:30pm on a Monday, and was handing them over at about 8pm (Just about 24 hours).

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Snuggle, Snuggle Babies.

 

I swear as I was leaving, the two babies untangled themselves from the black shirt and pressed their paws to the little glass (plastic) side of the container the lady had put them in.  It was like these babies were accusing me of abandoning them. I knew, however, they were in good hands.

Well that was my 24 hours a squirrel rehaber.

Enjoy your Day.

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