Spring has sprung?!?

February 12, 2012

Babies are starting to come in even though the calendar still says “winter”.  Squirrels seem to be a bit ahead of schedule, probably due to the warmer weather and rain we’ve been having.  Baby squirrels are born blind, deaf, and hairless and are called pinkies.  Their ears gradually open and eyes open at around five weeks of age.  This little guy at the right is around five days old (he came in with his umbilical cord stump still attached).  Many trees are being cut down due to the drought we have experienced; unfortunately, dead trees are perfect nesting habitat for many animals.  Most mother squirrels do build more than one nest.  Even though this guy’s rescuers tried to give time for his mother to find him (his sibling was killed in the fall), she was so stressed that she would not come back.  He is very bruised, but when he is stronger we will put him with other babies as we never raise squirrel babies alone.

This is another recent admit.  She is a little swamp rabbit, less than a week old.  Her ears are just starting to open and her eyes should open soon.  Her nest was found by a family dog and once discovered, he just would not leave it alone.  No siblings were found (let’s hope they were not Fido snacks).  Swamp rabbits are bigger, stockier, and darker in color then cottontails.  She will stay with us until she is about six to eight weeks old.  Rabbits can be very challenging to rehabilitate (the younger they come in, the more difficult it is) as they have very specific digestive issues.  We try our best with them. 

Here are some more pinkie squirrels that came in recently.  Their nest was high up in a palm tree and was blown down.  If you find baby squirrels on the ground (with or without a nest), you can give mom some time to reclaim them.  If it is not inclement weather, place the babies and/or nest in a box.  Attach the box to a tree near where they were found about four feet off the ground (out of direct sunlight if it is a hot day).  You need to make sure they are warm if it is a cooler day (place some uncooked rice in a sock, then microwave until warm; place this at the bottom of the box, put a towel over it, and place babies on top).  Keep dogs and cats inside and observe for a couple of hours to see if mom returns (check babies periodically to make sure they are staying warm).  If mom does not come back within a couple of hours, bring babies in, keep them warm and quiet (rice sock or a heating pad under half of the box on LOW; make sure it is not auto turn off type) and contact a wildlife rehabilitator.  Do not attempt to feed anything, especially cow’s milk.

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