Thursday, October 1, 2009

Guest post: a squirrel story

By Steve Hutcheson

This past week my stepson found a baby squirrel in the middle of the street with one eye closed and favoring a hurt arm.

It was sitting on a sewer cover and people were driving over it.

He took her home in a shoe box that a lady was kind enough to give him. Once home, we had to figure out what to do with it so he called the city for advice. They told him to throw it back in the woods where he found it.

Although that is standard answer for things like this (see link below), you really need to care enough to dig further to see if it makes sense in that particular case. In this case, the wildlife rehabilitator said the baby would not have survived the night due to cold or predators.

The best thing to do if you find a baby animal that is definitely orphaned (see link details: ) is to call one of the wildlife rehabilators on the state internet link ( ) and not the city for advice.

In addition, there are also websites that tell people how to temporarily help them until you can drop them off to a professional. For instance, even taking it home would not have helped if we had left the baby outside that night in the box without bedding, she would have died from the cold anyway. So the Internet was real important for this baby squirrel from immediate care to knowing where to bring her....without the internet we would not have known what to do....

Don't call the city first. I need to work on improving that.

Per the wildilfe rehabilitator, the baby squirrel turned out to be 4-5 weeks old and had either fell or been pushed out of the nest. That is what most likely caused the arm injury. One eye was closed because it was so young her eyes were just starting to open. Her eyes just starting to open was significant since the first thing she saw was a person. So it thought people were her family and not another squirrel.

My wife and daughter tried to let her go in the same area she was found but it ran back to them for that reason (which we didn't know at the time). My wife and daughter both thought she just liked people not knowing it actually thought we were it's family.

So we took her home for the night and brought her to the animal hospital in the morning. We would have liked to keep her as part of the family but we didn't know how to feed and care for the baby squirrel and it's illegal to keep them as pets.

Here is a photo of the baby squirrel warming up in its new bed. Happy ending to this story thanks to my family and the internet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently Mr. Hutcheson does not have neighbors who feed squirrels -and therefore his garden is not being destroyed by these same squirrels. So, if he'd like to stop by our neighborhood, we'd love to have him adopt some of our local wildlife!