Well, I suppose sleep is not in the cards for me tonight. That is just as well as I haven’t posted that much lately. I must tell you about our baby squirrel, Dexter. I know you are wondering why do I have a baby squirrel. Well, nearly two weeks ago, we were asked to take on the rehabilitation of two baby squirrels who had lost their mother due to a mishap with a dog. Apparently, the mother squirrel was ill and fell out of her nest, or so I am told. She was unfortunately killed by a family dog who was simply being a dog. I know that my little dog, a pomeranian is always being taunted by one particular squirrel, and as dogs do like to chase small creatures, you can’t blame the dog for being a dog.
We became the new owners to Dexter and Felix. Felix was the smaller and sicker of the two squirrel babies. They both seemed to be okay when we received them except that they were covered with fleas. They both were eating the puppy formula and seemed to be taking it well. The first thing when receiving a tiny wild creature is having to figure out it’s approximate age and if it is dehydrated or not. These babies were about 9 weeks old from the best we could tell. We had infant pedialyte on hand thanks to the people that had the babies prior to us. They may or may not have tried to feed them, but we weren’t sure. We know that they had the bottle of pedialyte, some pieces of apple and some bird seed in the box with them as well as a warm sweatshirt, which we still need to return.
With the fact that we had one other squirrel before and we have had multiple baby rabbits, we have some experience with tiny creatures and rehabilitation, but it’s not easy. The mortality rate is always high and the end goal is always to be able to release them back into the wild, no matter how cute and attached we may become. They are wild animals and deserve the life God has created for them. This being said, it still is not easy to give them up.
Initially, like I said, both babies were doing fairly well. Then, Felix started to decline quickly. We lost him several days later. It was devastating. Dexter, however was doing well. He was eating well, climbing the wires of the cage, climbing us for that matter. He was doing great, until one morning, I noticed he was a little lethargic. He started to drag his front paws. His decline was so rapid. I was so upset. We were doing everything right, or were we? He was approximately 10 weeks old. My 14 year old and I were trying to figure out what was wrong with our baby. There are great resources out there on the internet these days, but none better than the squirrel board. My daughter figured it out. It was a disease that usually affects squirrels around 10 weeks of age. It’s called Metabolic Bone Disease. It can paralyse them and nearly did paralyse Dexter.
Dexter became disinterested in eating, moving was painful, and he just scooted himself without wanting to really lift his head much. This is all due to a lack of calcium. As soon as we had a diagnosis, we also had a treatment and a treatment plan. Dexter was given crushed Tums in his formula, a special puppy formula and not just any one. It has to be a specific one. I also got online and ordered specific squirrel food and baby hi protein blocks for him to eat. We tried getting him to eat more often, many times having to force feed him, very carefully. We even ordered the medication for this specific disease so he would have the correct dosage every day.
Much to our surprise, Dexter is now back to his old, rambunctious self. He climbs and sits on top of my head, jumps from the bed when I’m sitting on it and climbs up my shirt. He loves to sit outside and eat grass and chew the little branches. He is one happy little squirrel again. He still loves his formula even with the supplements in it. What am I saying, he loves to eat! So there is the update on our happy little guy. Warning, he is a very fast little friend who also tried climbing up my curtains this evening. Thank God for the cage where he is now fast asleep. I see a bright future for him outside. He’s very smart for such a little guy. When I can catch him sitting still, I will post some really cute photos!