Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wild Animal Nursery Update

Gray Squirrels. Three have been in a cage outdoors for two weeks now. On Friday, I began leaving the door to their cage open. One departed. The other two were inside their hanging bag when I checked at dusk, so I closed their door for the night to protect them from predators. Saturday, the remaining two departed, but returned to their nest sack for the night. Sunday morning early, the third one returned and I admitted him back into the cage. Today they all ventured back out, and none has returned. I’m hoping to dismantle the cage by Wednesday.

The two tiny squirrels I took in September 14th have grown quite big. Their eyes have been open a week. But they are strange squirrels! For one thing, normally by the time a squirrel’s eyes open, it is fully furred. These are still practically naked. For another thing, such sparse fur as they do have on their tails is white instead of gray. So they aren’t in a wire cage yet; they still snuggle in a box on flannel baby blankets. I’m just hoping their hair will all come in and that these are their only abnormalities and others won’t show up.

JUST IN (THURSDAY): Comparing notes with other rehabbers, I find that two of them also have squirrels whose hair grew in very late. Nobody knows why. Something wrong with the formula? A disease? Thyroid problem? Too much heat? But the good part is, others tell me their squirrel babies DID eventually become fully-furred and were thereafter normal.

Flying Squirrels. I’ve had Roscoe about three weeks. He is the only survivor of a nest of five caught by a cat. Last week, once we were sure Roscoe would live, he and I sent out a Personal Ad to the other rehabbers: “Male flying squirrel, 16 grams before feeding, eyes opened October 6, seeks female (or male!) flier for companionship, cuddling, and ??? Will provide room and board all winter long.”

So now Roscoe has three foster siblings, Roxane, Hankie, and Pankie. Roxane is twice the size of the others, but seems to like snuggling with them, doesn’t harm them, so it works out okay. She is old enough to be released if the weather holds, but needs one more day of antibiotics because of having been cat-caught. (Cats have a bacterium called Pasturella in their saliva that is toxic to birds and small mammals.)

Hankie won’t be old enough to go before the weather turns. He will be released in the Sping, along about April.

For Roscoe, it’s too late; he already thinks he’s a human; so I’m stuck with him permanently. (Aww, ain’t that a shame!) and I’m keeping Pankie, a female, to go with him.

It's absolutely unbearable how cute baby flying squirrels are!!!