Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Baby squirrels! Last week, one of the vets, Jim, brought in a box with holes drilled in the top and told everyone he was fostering four Peruvian lynx cubs. They were actually baby squirrels found after he'd livetrapped and released the mother out of his attic. It brought back memories of the time when I was 11 years old and tried to raise a baby squirrel who had been kicked out of the nest in the fall. That story did not have a happy ending. Though very sad, it was a good experience--I remember having to get up for feedings every two hours. That little guy was so young (and bald) that we didn't know ay first if he was a squirrel or a rabbit. I had him long enough to see his eyes open and his fur get glossy and full before he got very sick. These guys are already that old. They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are starting to get very fluffy tails. They sleep most of the day but are good climbers and pretty active when awake. I'm hoping they've gotten enough of their mother's immunity to make it. Jim asked if I wanted to spend some time socializing them so I took them into my office and had them one at at time on my lap as I returned phone calls and e-mails. One of them climbed out of the box and was halfway up the inside of the my pants leg before I noticed his escape. The box is now secured with a rubber band. I got to feed them with a syringe on my lunch break. Jim had shaved a spot off on a different leg for each of them so we could tell them apart. We had quite an audience watching through my office windows. I don't think there's anything cuter than a baby animal who is still on milk (or milk replacer in this case.) I got to see (and play with) them again today when I stopped by the St. Paul shelter at the end of the day. One of the other staff took two of them to foster so Jim only has to juggle the frequent feedings for two now. Their tails are fluffier and they are a little bigger. I'll try to get photos next time. They were a little too wild for me to handle both the phone camera and squirrel. Everyone else was still on duty and I didn't want to interrupt their work.