Yesterday the sun finally came out after a week of cold, rainy weather. Our lawn was beginning to look like a hayfield so I decided to take out the lawn mower. When I engaged the blades something few out from beneath the mower and I thought it was just a leaf but out of the corner of my eye I saw it kept moving. It was a baby red squirrel, not quite able to run, trying to crawl away.
I got off of the mower and took by jacket off to pick it up (I didn’t know if it would bite me). When I picked it up the shivering little thing curled up in the warmth of the fleece. I looked all around for signs of other squirrels or a nest but found nothing so I put a warm bottle of water underneath a small fleece blanket and tucked him into it.
Okay, I have to tell you that I am not a fan of red squirrels, they are destructive little buggers that get into everything. I have a good many of them that spend a lot of their time on my bird feeders or in the shed trying to get into the containers of chicken feed or bird seed. If they feel trapped in any way they chew their way out. We trained Chester this past winter to chase them away from the feeders and would send him out multiple times a day. He thought it was fun and an important job, sadly the squirrels were much smarter than he was so it was really just a game played over and over again.
This was a seriously cute little animal and I couldn’t imagine just putting it back outdoors to surely die of starvation, exposure or owl fodder. He let me pick him up and was pretty content in the warmth of my hands. He’d hang onto my fingers.
Years ago we had friends that raised a baby squirrel, he’d ride around in their Dad’s shirt pocket so I googled care and rehab of squirrels. Yeah, uhm no. Who has that kind of time and energy? Sure he’s cute, sure I don’t want to be the one to bring him back out into the cold world to starve. Ugh, I hate this sort of thing.
I called my vet and she gave me the name of a woman who rehabs wild animals and birds. When I called her she said she’d take him but it would have to be later in the day and to just keep him warm.
So over the course of the next few hours I continued to keep the hot water bottle hot and held him off and on just to check him out and give him a pat or two. Made sure my sister came up to see him. It’s so very rare to get up close and personal to a wild creature to really inspect them. The paws are amazingly long, to grasp and climb. And the whiskers . . .
I took him on a little car trip and dropped him off to be cared for with 17 other squirrels (this is the only red one). It was with a sense of relief that I didn’t have to send him to his doom as well as knowing that he would be set free when old enough far away from my back yard.