Welcome to my Rehabber Diary for 2000. Here I will post pictures and updates of my latest batch of wildlife which I am rehabilitating in my home for future release.
This spring, it is once again squirrels. Arriving in my care on February 28, the approximately two week old Eastern Gray babies were relatively hairless and with eyes tightly shut. Blown out of a tree during a recent storm, a kind gentleman had found the boy and girl pair in his yard and called our wildlife center. He brought them in and after they were stabilized with Pedialyte and Gatorade, they came home with me.
We are hoping to add others to the two as this will be more like a natural squirrel litter, but for right now, it's just the two of them.
By the week of March 6, their fur was starting to come in. Resembling more of a "five o'clock shadow" along their backs, it was beginning to become more clearly defined on their heads, with the blacks and tans and reds showing vividly. Hmm...wait a minute...the "reds" showing? I am beginning to think these are Eastern Fox squirrels and not Eastern Grays as they were originally called on the paperwork.
It is now the week of March 18 and they are still klutzy and learning to use their little bodies. But, it's amazing to see how much bigger they already are! I received a call on Monday about another stray boy (an Eastern Gray) who had also come in and thought he might fit in with my group. I picked him up on Tuesday and when placed next to my two other squirrels, he is Gargantuan compared to them. So the dilemma of where this poor lone squirrel will go is still not solved, though the three of them get along quite cozy, despite their differences. We shall see what happens.
But, MAGIC! The little boy opened his eyes for the first time. Welcome to the world little man! Here is a picture taken just moments after he opened his eyes:
But, the mystery of what species they are is still not solved. I have sent some pictures to the Head Coordinator which don't show the coloring as clear as I would like, but will hopefully show enough that they will be listed as Eastern Fox squirrels instead. Here is one of the fuzzy photos:
Today is March 26. It's been a really busy couple of weeks. We definitely know that our little squirrels are actually Eastern Fox. So, the Eastern Gray was transferred to go live with more of his "own kind."
On March 23, I was called to the center to pick up the "cutest squirrel in the world" as everyone at the center was calling him. He is also a Fox squirrel and though larger and a little older than the other two, he was thought to be a good match for the babies. Here he is:
But the other babies continue to grow as you can see in this picture:
March 27 - what a nightmare last night was! When tending to the squirrels for the early evening feeding, I picked up Teddy (the nickname for the "cutest squirrel in the world") to feed him and found him completely flat on his belly on the bottom of the cage. I picked him up and within moments he began stretching out his front legs as far as they would go, tilting his head and twirling his tail. At first I thought he was just stretching, and then he did it again and again, collapsing back into my hand with half closed eyes.. It was obvious that he was having seizures. I immediately called Ann, our special needs person, and she had me bring him to her house. Once we arrived, she gave him a shot of lactated ringer solution, and tried to give him a little squirt of glucose in the mouth. He had stopped seizing by then, but that was because he had passed out to the point where we kept having to check if he was breathing. She tried to inject some LRS directly into the vein, but they kept blowing, so he didn't get much. He had no swallow response so she asked to keep him so she could tube feed him and we would then hope for the best.
In hindsight, it is really easy to be down on myself for not noticing how skinny he was because his beautifully furry coat hid that. It's also easy to try to tell myself that maybe I should have tried to feed him more, though he was getting as much as he would take. We will probably never know why he started crashing in the first place. Perhaps he wasn't as stabilized as we thought when we took him from the center. Perhaps a head injury which occurred before his arrival was just now manifesting, and the listlessness of the first couple of days should have been taken as more a sign than just writing it off to shock. Who knows? But to be really fair, I have to constantly remind myself that he had a chance to live that he wouldn't have had without me, and that I have always cared tremendously and done my best.
So I left Teddy with Ann and went to bed with a heavy heart, nonetheless, and slept fitfully.
What a surprise this afternoon to hear from Ann that he is actually beginning to move around on his own and eat! She is going to keep him one more day for observation, but then I should be able to pick him up tomorrow and bring him "home" to complete his rehabilitation and release. I will have my fingers crossed that he continues to improve, because he really is the "cutest squirrel in the world."
Keep coming back for more of my rehabber's diary.....