by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
One day when I and my partner at the time went over to my mom’s house, we weren’t expecting to rescue any baby squirrels. In fact, we had gone over to clean out our storage area in her basement. It was getting a bit unorganized. But Operation Rescue Baby Squirrels was about to interrupt us midway.
In the midst of the cleaning and sorting, one of my teens rushes down the stairs and says “Grandma needs you! There’s a squirrel in the truck.” We rushed up the stairs and out to the truck. A big squirrel had run out of the truck, revealing a baby and a nest. So we got to work on getting the baby out because he had wedged himself in between some of the wires of the engine.
While I’m working on coaxing the baby to an area where I can grab him, Tee (ex's nickname) is busy pulling out all of the leaves, couch stuffing, and other debris that was forming a nest among the truck engine’s wires. All of a sudden he says “Oh no, Baby! There’s more!” More turned out to be just one more. His tail was poking out one side, while his body was on another, making it look like multiple squirrels at first.
Since the second baby was in an easier location to grab, I pulled him out first with my fuzzy-gloved hand and placed him an inside a baby blanket. The super fuzzy glove was worn to make the squirrels feel safer, since they’re used to beings with fur, not human skin.
I took that baby squirrel over to the tree that Mama Squirrel had run into and placed him underneath, all cozy in the baby blankie. Then, I got back to work on the feistier squirrel sibling. Operation Rescue Baby Squirrels was going well so far.
Some who know me will know this is far from my first animal rescue operation. I’ve become quite the expert. But this other baby squirrel was determined to challenge my expertise. He kept burrowing himself further into the wires. But of course, there was a reason I chose the fuzzy gloves.
I kept putting my fuzzy-gloved hand in front of the baby and eventually he started coming toward it. Tee was able to gently nudge him from behind for further motivation. He finally got into my hand and I placed him gently in the blanket with his furry sibling and Tee cleaned out the rest of the nest from the truck engine.
At first, the mama squirrel didn’t notice where I had placed her babies. She hopped into the next tree and I was afraid she wouldn’t see them. So I went into the house and chopped up some fruit to place under the tree near the babies for scent/attraction purposes – and also for nourishment, of course.
Success! In no time, Mama Squirrel ran over to the food and spotted the babies. She chose the food first! That was a shock. I had expected her to rush to the babies. But perhaps she was eating while coming up with a master plan. She ate an apple piece about a foot from her babies. Then, she came back, scooped them up one at a time and carried them into a hole in the tree.
Once she got them inside, she stuck her head out and when she noticed us taking pictures, she peeked out even more. Then, she looked at us and kept posing and climbing and posing again on near branches. So we took more pictures. There is a limit of ten pictures per post, so I’ve only shared some of the best ones here.
Eventually, Mama Squirrel came back and carried all of the fruit into the hole with her babies. She also grabbed some leaves and other debris. She attempted to drag the baby blanket up, but of course it was a bit big and heavy for her and she was unsuccessful. Once she is no longer making attempts, I can cut the blanket into smaller pieces that she can handle, so that she’ll have something soft and fuzzy to keep her babies warm with. Sorry Mom, I’ll have to get you another one. *Smiles*
Operation Rescue Baby Squirrels appears to be a success – and it felt very good to be able to help out that mama. It was a good addition to the day for Tee and I -- and a reminder of how connected people are to nature. It needs us to respect it and care for it in order for it to continue growing and giving us all this beautiful home.
UPDATE: Mama Squirrel ended up replacing the nest in Mom's truck several times and being a pain in the butt, making my mom remove it again and again. But at least her and the babies were cute enough to mask some of the trouble.
*I originally published a version of this article elsewhere (no longer published there)
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