Monday, May 5, 2014

An Exciting Afternoon (with 100% More Baby Squirrel Than Usual)

Today was one of those days where at around 3 p.m. I was not only rushing to quick vac the house, I was also wondering what we would do to pass the late afternoon hours. They're not my favorite hours of the day - I'm usually flagging by then, even with coffee. And the little ones are flagging, too, plus they're hungry. Or worse, hangry. I can't give them coffee, though I did once let Bo try a little decaf and immediately regretted my decision because he adored it. Proving, I suppose, that he is my son.

P., in the morning, often asks to go to the playground in the afternoon, but it seldom happens and when it does the trip is short because she realizes a couple minutes into the visit that she'd rather eat than play. I was considering this as we walked home after a full day when I noticed as little spot of fluff on the ground. A spot of fluff that on closer inspection turned out to be a baby squirrel.

A baby squirrel I now know was about five weeks old - eyes still closed, but "fully furred". And breathing... slowly. So we popped back to our daycare provider's house to at the very list decide what to do.

That turned out to be find a nice comfy cloth and a shoebox because I will say that this too-darn-cute animal also looked not quite right. Shallow breathing. Low respiratory rate - low for people and cats anyway. Not exactly what you'd call responsive.

As we were making our way back to the house with the baby, quickly christened Twinkles by guess who, I suddenly remembered the rule about baby bunnies found in random locations: if you care, leave them there. Perhaps I had made a terrible mistake... but there we were, on the way home and tired and maybe a little hangry, too, because it turns out someone has only been eating fruit at lunchtime.

First thing I did when we got home was google what to do when you find a baby squirrel. The second thing I did was call an animal rehab expert. Apparently this has been quite the year for people finding "abandoned" baby squirrels and yes, if you care, leave them there.

So we did. With a homemade hot water bottle and a note.

And it's a good thing, too! Because it's looking like Twinkles not only found her mama - or more likely her mama found her after she emitted some high pitch calls that mama squirrels can hear - but also her brothers and sisters.

I mean, chances are if she hooked up with her siblings and managed to put some serious distance between the tree we found her under and where she ended up about an hour later, mama was nearby. Everything I've read has said that mama squirrel will book it as soon as she spots a human leaving her babies behind if necessary. Good thing the family was reunited, too, since what I read also said that squirrel mamas won't rescue their babies at nighttime and it is too cold outside right now for five-week-old squirrels to be out of their nests.

Here's hoping that right about now three little ones are curled up nice and snug with their mama!

Tonight at bedtime when P. was curled up nice and snug with me, she said she missed Twinkles and wished she could have spent more time with her. But she was satisfied when I told her that if we'd kept our baby squirrel friend she never would have found her mama or her siblings. And then I asked her to think about how she'd feel if someone thought she was lost and took her away because she looked so sweet; how scared she'd be missing us and how scared we'd all be missing her. Which seemed to satisfy her yearning for more time with Twinkles.

She was cute, I'll admit, though I'm more than half glad because I didn't really want to end up having to foster a baby squirrel.

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