Squirrels are curious little creatures. They are smart, enthusiastic and extremely energetic! They love to explore their new surroundings and they like to eat, but are particular about what they eat.
We have been blessed to be given the opportunity to rehab Dexter. He’s a red ground squirrel who entered our lives several weeks ago with his sickly brother, Felix. Unfortunately, Felix didn’t make it but Dexter is thriving!
There is a disease called Metabolic Bone Disease which affected both babies probably caused by their mama being sick and not able to produce enough milk for them. Mama was killed which is how these precious babies came to be in our care. MBD is a severe lack of calcium which is a very painful disease which will cause weakness, lethargy, decreased appetite, paralysis, seizures and eventually death if not treated immediately. Dexter was lucky. Felix, well, we weren’t able to save him.
Dexter was dragging his front paws and whimpering when the disease became very apparent. He had been fine the night before, climbing in his cage and all. Within a few days of calcium treatments, he was no longer in pain and had control of his muscles again but was still lethargic. The treatment continued.
Eventually, he recovered from this awful disease but continues with treatment. We have to make certain his diet is high in calcium and he still is taking his formula. Just when I think he will wean, he wants his syringe of formula. Yes, there is special squirrel formula. He loves bananas for a very special treat. Knowing the importance of the balance of calcium and potassium for proper muscle control, I.e. your heart, I don’t mind giving him a little bit every once in a while. He also loves spinach, avocado, walnuts, grass, wood, dandelion leaves and other dark leafy greens.
We hope to release our little friend in the coming weeks back into nature where he belongs. It will hard to say goodbye to him, but his place is there, not stuck in a cage. I hope he lives in our backyard and lives a long life. Squirrel babies are the best but also are the most needy of all the wild babies. We love our little guy and hope soon he will be happy in our big tree out back.