One of the guys at work found "a half-dead naked thing, might be a puppy" in the parking lot at work. Turns out said thingy is a week old gray "skwerl" baby boy.
So now, on top of 1 horse overcoming a 5 month battle with fistulous withers, and a partly-bald underweight over raced OTTB, I have to wake up every 2 hours to feed this baby.
My husband is clearly horrified. My cats have no clue he's here, as I have gone to great pains to hide him. He is sleeping in my bedroom in a small box, a soda bottle filled with hot water as a heater, wrapped in an old sweat shirt. In my state, unfortunately, having a skwerl is a HUGE no-no.
Its nice to bottle (syringe) feed him, while he holds my finger. Its actually pretty damn cute. But, I know I will have to say good bye very soon...raising him and releasing him PROPERLY will put him RIGHT in danger's way with my 2 75lb dogs, who view skwerls as toys to be mangled...so the little bugger will have to go to the local wildlife rescue.
Anyone ever rescue a little vermin like this? And even more, NOT fall in love???
I had a squirrel after Hurricane Ike. Loved it. He came to an unfortunate end after he set himself free a little early, but we loved him. Wish you were near me. I have a series of three cages of increasing size that I haven't disposed of yet. I even have a little squirrel hammock that he loved to sleep in.
No personal experience, but my teacher in highschool rescued the little rascals and cared for them. She fostered them through the SPCA, and when they were old enough they went to a wildlife rescue. She took in skunks and racoons too.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
Ah! My dear friend Ellen is the "Animal Rescue Agency" in our town--she's raised/rehabbed numerous squirrels/chipmunks--in fact, she has the little chippy my SIL found in her garage (they are next-door-neighbors), who is doing very nicely.
She uses a yogurt maker to "nurse" her babies--perfect temp, little cups hold tiny baby squirrels, rodents, bunnies, raccoons, kittens, etc. in an adorable and snug fashion.
Squirrels, according to her, are very easy to raise--they are tough and tenacious fighters for life, and make surprisingly good pets. She had one, who was partially paralyzed, for several years. A stout and large cage on her patio was his home.
I can't think of an animal she hasn't rehabbed...maybe a porcupine is the only one she hasn't taken in. Currently bottle feeding two buck fawns,has a raccoon, 2 chipmunks and more dogs, cats, sheep, goats, ancient llamas, one-winged geese... like Dr. Doolittle right next door.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
Major downfall of keeping said skwerl...laws aside...we have 3 crazy cats. Sphynx cats to be specific. They are CRAZY active (in fact, I went to throw out a tampon-unused, opened by accident, which was sans applicator. Well, I missed the barrel and one of said cats jetted out of the darkness, declared victory over the offending "mouse toy" and scrambled away) these guys just might tag team little "Badger" as he is aptly named.
And the dogs? The 75 lb boxers who scurry violently up and down the yard tree line seeking skwerls that dare disrupt the arborvidae-I dont know. They were AGAST at a stray kitten that parked it here for 2 weeks because, well, the thing was little and furry (much unlike their hairless feline family members) and thought it was surely a skwerl.
And why, might you ask, am I up at 12 AM (eastern) drinking a Miller Lite when my eyes need toothpicks to stay open? Because BADGER needs another feeding at 12:30. And 2:30. And 4:30, and so on. I'm sure my job wont suffer. Much, LOL. Thankfully, another crazy animal lady works with me and can take him during the day to give me some relief.
I raised a baby squirrel when I was a kid - my brother had found the naked little thing in the middle of the road, next to his/her (oh who knows how to sex a squirrel when one is 12??) dead mother.
I bottle fed the little bugger, just like you, every 2 hours - and it survived, and thrived. When it was about 5 months old, I turned it loose because it started biting. But it hung around the yard for years afterward, and would 'hang' on the screen door to beg for peanuts. I could always get it to sit on my knee while it ate the peanuts, and he/she would come when I called its name ("Scratchy" - an awful name, I know) It was a fun pet, and made me a legend of sorts in the neighborhood.
I just found a pet skwerl board. Just like this one. For a second I thought the posts were loopy, then I remembered that I have, in fact, dressed my pony up as a giant bumble bee, 2 foot stinger, 6 foot wingers and antennas.
I guess this is more common than I thought? Some say squirrels are awful pets, other people say they are great.
I thought I was really pushing DH's buttons buying an OTTB 2 weeks ago (which was just after said hairy kitten found a home). He went semi-neurotic over it. Now he comes home and says "Why is there puppy formula in the fridge?" (long pause)
"Uh, I got a squirrel"
"You're shitting me"
"No, am not. He's in the bedroom" (cue blank stare)
"Uh, can you move it? Like to the spare room?"
"No...I have to wake up every two hours and feed 'em. Its easier just to sit up, feed him and go back to sleep"
"Well, uh, whens it leaving?" (cue MY blank stare)
"As soon as I call Wildlife Rehab"
"Where are they?" he asks
Mind you, this is after we bickered about my 2 hour trip to the barn that was supposed to last an hour (silly hosing and gentamicin injections....)
I used to do wildlife rehabilitation professionally full-time. Including squirrels. They do NOT make good pets and you are short-changing their lives by trying to tame them. Tame wildlife usually meet a terrible death because they end up biting their "owners", or get mauled by cats or dogs, or shot or beaten by neighbors. "Friendly" 'wild' animals are often confused with "rabid" or "sick" animals trying to 'attack' people or pets.
My advice: if you love this little squirrel, then you want to increase his chances of living in the wild as best as possible. This means that he cannot get used to the idea that being around dogs or cats are OK, and he CANNOT have the idea that people = OK or that people = food. He CANNOT think that dog or cat or people food is food he can eat. He should not get used to being in a house or being comfortable around people. Kiss of death...a very unpleasant death...do not inflict this on the little guy. The wilder the baby stays, the greater his chances of survival and of integrating with other wild squirrels. He needs to recognize local, wild food. He needs to be raised within a squirrel social group. He needs to understand proper squirrel living spaces. And he needs to get used to the out of doors when ready. Place this baby with a qualified rehabilitator ASAP if you want him to survive like a normal squirrel.
Baby squirrels can be cute but raising them as pets or to be friendly with people is the most selfish and destructive thing we can do.
In short, don't baby this squirrel and get him to a qualified rehabilitator ASAP so he can be raised with other squirrels and can learn to be WILD and not TAME. Think of what is best for his life.
I raised a pet squirrel, named Bug, in high school. We bottle fed him and he thrived. We eventually took our old ferret cage outside on the back porch and left it open. He would run free during the day, but we always found him tucked in his hammock for the night. We eventually removed the cage and set him permanently free. He would hang out around the house and would occasionally press his face to the back window and look in the house. He was fun and would play chase games back and forth across my shoulders. I hope he had a long life!
Oh, I dont plan on KEEPING him. No way. And the only time I actually handle him is feeding him. He is kept seperate from cats and dogs (no one knows hes in the house, actually). I do plan on either giving him to a rehab or setting him free on the farm...cant do it at my house, due to the dogs, and he has a better chance of living well in the nice rural sprawl at the horse farm. I know exactly where I could put said cage when he was ready...away from the farm cats (when he is big enough to run like hell up a tree).
Yes we've raised lots of them every since I was a kid since my mother takes in birds and squirrels and all. They are pretty wild, so usually when they get 1/2 grown they start staying away more than they like to stay in the house. Just let him or her come and go as he gets bigger, and don't let the cats or dogs get him.
My dogs always caught the babies who were kicked out of the nests by their parents, and mother raised them to be big squirrels who go back to the wild. Of course my mother also buys and cracks the pecans for the squirrels who use our birdfeeders.
I talked to my vet today (Badger in tow in a fabric lunch bag, water bottle full of hot water to warm him). I showed him the skwerl and he said that he knew a woman who would rehab him and release him eventually...but she's on vacay for 2 weeks. Question is-how does one NOT attach to a wee little guy who relys on them for life?
Question is-how does one NOT attach to a wee little guy who relys on them for life?
By realizing that he IS relying on you for life. His whole life! His ability to survive, find a mate, and raise little babies, and avoid life threatening situations (i.e. encounters with people and pets) depends on YOU. Raising a wild animal to be wild...even temporarily...is the ultimate unselfish and selfless act. It is incredibly satisfying to give without expecting anything in return from the creature.
I noticed you're in NE...not sure if you're in Mass... When I found a half-dead baby squirrel last year laying in the middle of my MIL's front lawn, I tried contacting wildlife rehabilatators listed on the web but they were all no longer doing it. Not surprisingly...I guess there's a a high burnout rate. I finally called the Tufts wildlife people. At first they were pretty hard on me... "You shouldn't have touched it, you didn't handle it without gloves, did you?" and so on. Seriously...they made me feel like I should have just let it die instead of trying to help it. Trust me...the LAST thing I want or need is another dependent creature. lol Anyway, eventually they gave me some phone numbers of wildlife rehabilatators in my area (Groton, Townsend) and i was able to take the little one to someone who could truly give her the best chance of survival as the wild creature she was born to be.
"You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.