Squirrels: Thistle & Dandelion
We had many squirrels come through our doors this month. It is always the way; you have no babies, then you have tons! We had a mixture of 4
different litters in, which created 2 groups. Thistle came into us after being found by a lovely family in their garden under a tree. The children had found him and kept him warm until they could get in contact with someone to help. His smaller chum in this picture is called Dandelion. We can only imagine, that these guys managed to fall out of their nests, and at such a young age they are unable to climb well enough to get back in.
Two of our other squirrels - Elm & Ash - were also found in someones garden. They came in very cold and underweight and took a little longer to get the hang of hand feeding. We had to make sure we were getting fluids and food into them every couple of hours to ensure they started to put on weight and recover from their ordeal.
The last to join the ranks was Camellia and her brother, who were very poorly indeed. They came in after we received a call from a lady that had recently had roofing work done on her house, the flat roof had been painted with a red waterproofing paint - they had no idea that there was a nest of squirrels up there too!
The lady had managed to catch one of them and keep him warm until we could get to her. Just as we walked through the door, having collected the squirrel, we received a call saying she had another one! This one was thoroughly covered in the waterproof paint. We attempted to get the paint off, but nothing worked so we decided it was best to leave it to come off naturally.
Young squirrels need to stay incredibly warm as they cannot thermoregulate. Female squirrels create the nest called drey to be compact and dense so her babies are packed in tightly, ensuring their body heat keeps them hot. As soon as orphaned squirrels come into us, the first port of call is to heat up heat pads as well as putting them in an incubator. Once they are at a suitable temperature, they will then be able to accept food. Typical of squirrels, these guys didn't take long to get the hang of being hand fed, so they began to put on weight pretty quickly.
Once weaned we feed our squirrels on a mixture of fruit, veg, seeds and rusk. Here is a video of Elm chomping on a rusk whilst the others were asleep!
Camellia is no longer a Grey Squirrel in disguise as a Red one! Thankfully, all the waterproof paint came off naturally, and she is much more comfortable.
One of our nutters decided the best way to eat was, clearly, upside down!
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