Our otherwise lovely weekend here in the mountains was punctuated with sadness on Saturday morning. My husband Robert was in the backyard watering some plants when he discovered a motionless baby squirrel on the ground, curled up in the leaves. A gentle nudge elicited a slight movement as the furry little guy drew his body up tighter into a fetal like position. His fur was cold to the touch but I could see him drawing small breaths. A rescue mission kicked into gear. Robert found a small box and I found some rags. We picked the baby squirrel up gently and brought him inside where we had created a cozy bed for him in the box. We covered his little body with another layer of towels and placed it all under a lamp for additional warmth.
Years ago, Robert's father raised a baby squirrel just like this one. The squirrel grew up healthy and was very much a part of the family until meeting his demise by chewing through an electrical cord. As we watched our baby squirrel, and talked about his dad's experience, we were like young parents, going so far as to name our "baby" Rocky.
With Rocky resting comfortably, I went to the Internet in search of information about what to do with baby squirrels. Robert remembered his dad feeding his squirrel with an eye dropper, but what do baby squirrels eat? I learned how to tell if a baby squirrel was dehydrated and that you should never try to feed one until their body temperature is a normal 99-102 degrees, and is re-hydrated. I learned that you should never feed baby squirrels cow milk. Instead, the choice is either Pedialyte or another product designed for young puppies.
We checked on Rocky every few minutes and were surprised to see him moving about, his head popping up as if he was trying to orient himself to his surroundings. When we first found him, his eyes were closed and we assumed he was either sleeping, or had slipped into a bit of a coma from the trauma. But now, as his little head bobbled around, his eyes never opened. According to my scant research, I had also learned that baby squirrels don't open their eyes until they are around 36 days old. Rocky appeared to be breathing better now, though his body still felt cool. So we found a heating pad, turned it on low and put it under half of Rocky's bed in hopes that the warmth would reach him soon. I had learned that by putting the heating pad under only half of the bed, it would prevent overheating the young squirrel.
We watched Rocky for a minute or two, optimistic that his movement, his improved breathing, and now a cozy, warm bed would surely bring him back from the clutches of a certain death had we never found him.
But sadly, it wasn't meant to be. Not five minutes later, young Rocky laid still in his bed. We gently stroked his soft fur to see if he had simply drifted into a deep sleep. I held him in two hands, raising him up and down like you do with newborn puppies who have stopped breathing. Nothing worked. Rocky's life was cut short in less than 36 days.
We buried him in a nice soft spot under the rhododendrons in our back yard, near the tree where we had first found him. Had he simply fallen out of his nest accidentally, or had he been pushed out by the mother squirrel? We'll never know for sure. But at least he died in a warm bed, surrounded by people who cared. In the end, we should all be as lucky as Rocky.
Proudly serving buyers and sellers in Asheville, Hendersonville, Etowah, Brevard, Cashiers, and all the wonderful mountain communities in between.
For more information about buying or selling homes or land in the Brevard, NC area, contact the Clay Team today at BrevardNCProperty.com!
To receive to our monthly e-newsletter, property updates, or other information, subscribe here.