Prince holding a pecan!
Sometimes the sweetest things in life arrives in a small package! That is certainly the case with this teeny squirrel, who is the size of two fingers, and who has arrived just in time for the holidays! Now, you might be wondering how I’ve come to be the mommy of a baby squirrel. Several Sundays ago, Jack and I were chatting while standing in the kitchen and I heard what I believed was a baby screaming. Since I don’t know of any babies living near to us, my imagination went crazy. Jack, who believes I get overly emotional over human/animal dramas, said it was the refrigerator I was hearing, that the frig was going out! I know the difference between a squealing machine and live cries, so I rushed to follow the sound. I dashed out the back door, leaving Jack to protest! It was dark but I saw something small squirming on the back lawn — dreading the possibility that my darling cat Paris had done a dirty deed and caught one of our many lovely birds. I jumped off the porch. Birds were safe, but one teeny weeny baby squirrel was not. He was crying loudly while having seizures. That’s when I knew that the little baby had either fallen out of the nest, or had been accidentally pushed out of a nest by his siblings. (Mother squirrels give birth to 3 or 4 babies at the same time.) Jack arrived with a shovel, thinking some poor critter was dead. But, little limbs were moving and tiny vocal cords were getting a work out! I grabbed the baby and ran in the house, wrapping him in a washcloth after giving him a hurried visual physical. There was no blood, thank goodness! Then, the seizures quickly stopped.
Jack’s heating pad loss was the squirrel’s gain! I had a few kitty beds around (Paris will only sleep on human beds) and set the baby squirrel up with a warm environment, hoping for the best. (There’s nothing as heartrending as a vulnerable baby, whether human or animal.) The next morning I fed him cream with an eye dropper. He eagerly sucked the cream. Later I did a lot of research, finding out more than I’ve ever known about squirrels. Cream is a no-no, but thankfully Prince survived my ignorance! (I’ve had 40 pets in my life, including birds, ducks, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, and one horse, but never a squirrel.) I assumed the little fellow would die (It was easy to see little boy equipment). But with tender loving care, and feedings every two hours (yep, during the night I’m setting clocks and getting up every two hours), this baby has thrived! After a week, one eye opened. I considered an eye patch, just to make him appear dashing, but then the second eye opened the following day. (I later read that “one eye at the time” is a squirrel thing!)
Now Prince is a happy little boy. He squeals with joy when I walk into his room (I can’t let him roam the house freely due to Miss Paris, who would want to play with this little baby, and would surely harm him in the process). He eagerly takes a bottle, which is filled with a special formula for puppies who have lost their mother. Over the past day or two, he has begun to experiment with his food, eating apple sauce off my hand, and tiny pieces of banana from my fingers. He has also enjoyed two pecans, holding them very carefully between his little paws, not certain just how to tackle the problem. (His teeth should come in next week, according to the squirrel brochures!)
I’m over the moon with joy that I’ve saved this little life, and hope that soon he can be returned to live in the trees. (I now know that he needs to go to a squirrel rehab center and that they will slowly return him to the wild when he is six months old.) I can barely think about giving him up, but it is actually illegal to keep a squirrel as a pet long-term, plus, I am not an expert on squirrels, and must do what is best for Prince, rather than what I want to do. A rehab center will give him the best chance at life. But, I can’t bear to turn him over to anyone else until he is eating all solid foods, and no longer needs a human to hand-feed him.
Here’s a pic of tiny Prince the morning after I found him. He is drinking cream.
(I can’t resist this message: Now, to all those hunters out there. Unless you are hungry and can only eat if you kill such creatures, please stop and think that squirrels want to live their lives as much as you want to live yours. It’s horrible to think that some thoughtless person might shoot Prince one day, just for the heck of it.) LAST PHOTO BELOW of Prince perching on a shoulder.
Now, after only two weeks of tender loving care, here is Prince happily sitting on my niece Kayleigh’s shoulder. What joy! He loves his little life and wants to be around for as long as possible.