One week already? Yes indeed, it was last Tuesday that I found that poor abandoned and hurt baby squirrel, laying in the  grass by the sidewalk with the tip of its tiny tail bleeding. He revived alright after a couple of hours but then become a tad lethargic. That passed when the “real” food arrived ( remember folks : puppy milk replacement is the only option ). Since then, everyday or almost showed progress. And lo and behold, today saw Spip MacSqueak get his first fanmail. Sharon wrote :

I have some other suggestions regarding MacSqueak.  I don’t know if this true with squirrels or not, but when I was raising Ladah, my orphaned pup, I had to wipe her vagina and anus with a moist, warm cloth to stimulate urinating and defecating.  I also carried her to school, so she wouldn’t miss a feeding.   The kids loved feeding her.  I really don’t know what adult squirrels are supposed to eat, but I do know that they love to eat from my bird feeder.  I buy seed for wild birds from my local grocery store. Ladah became a wonderful adult dog.  She was very  bonded to her family.  Paul was at home at the time and taught all sorts of neat tricks. 

I’ll have to answer for Spip since he is yet lacking in typing skills. Yes, that suggestion goes for squirrels too, Sharon. The human replacement parent has to take up the task of stimulating those bodily functions. Of course, I choose to use a warm wet cloth to do so instead of using my tongue as the small mammal mothers do. The readers may fault me all they want for that cheap ersatz : my mind is set. ;) Let’s just say on the matter that forgetting this care would bring about a painful death to the patient ( ruptured bladder for instance ). It is however a great luck that the young Spip is advanced in this respect. Despite being around 4 weeks old, he has been doing both number ones and twos by himself with regularity with more ease everyday. And interesting little known fact : male squirrels have huge “thingies”. At first I thought it was deformed until the generous warm drops shower that followed the first stimulation confirmed the nature of the appendage. Spip is a he, no doubt about that.

SPIP on the day after his rescue.

SPIP on the day
after his rescue.

The second suggestion is a no go however. Baby squirrels don’t particularly like lights nor noise. The little thing immediately quiets and / or curls up under either. What’s more, they relish warmth. Going outside in the city in what is so far an average Spring would not fit the bill. And the same applies to food. His eyes still being closed, the poor Spip finds the tube at the end of the syringe by smelling and fumbling. Much more of the latter actually which has him taking milk baths. While this is considered great for ladies’ skins, it does no good to his fur so that the cleaning detail after nourishment ( including the bathroom affair ) takes as long if not longer than the meal itself.

But your admission of ignorance about the adult squirrel diet is quite normal, Sharon. No one knows for sure. There is a lot of variety in preferences from species to species on the first hand and the lovely rodents are very opportunistic feeders on the second. Contrary to what many folks think, squirrels do not fully hibernate even in the coldest climates. To compensate for scarcity in the cold period, they will grab what they find from insects in Summer to donuts if nothing else is available. No surprise that the seeds from your bird feeder get pilfered? For now though, Spip is not interested in anything else than the formula. After his eyes open and upper teeth appear ( both of which should come in roughly a big week maybe two ), I’ll slowly introduce rodent block since he’ll need that to insure a balanced diet until release age and vegetables. Nuts will come later.

To reassure you and the rest of Spip’s fans though, here are the good signs ( apart from pooping like a big boy ) : Spip eats too much which is common as squirrels are gluttons. He compensates this by sleeping longer. Thus he ingests nearly 50% more than he should but also lapses by the same margin before his next meal. The extra sleep by itself could have been a maladaptive response. I know this is not the fact though because Spip’s activity level around feedings is on the rise too. Add an expanding repertoire of cute little noises and we can safely conclude that our little boarder is on the right track. His fur is slowly thickening and morphing. Today, he curled his tail back for the first time as will be the norm when he reaches maturity.

My only real problem is that he has no siblings which is not optimal. He thus bonded very strongly with me. I am looking for clues to diminish this prior to his reinsertion but since squirrels are quite slow in developing ( up to 12-15 weeks before autonomy ), I hope to find a way. In any case, that will be a subject for a later Post.

Good day Sharon ( hello to Ladah ); good night Spip.



3 thoughts on “Spip’s first week and first fan mail. MacSqueak Part3.

  1. Pingback: Spip’s first week and first fan mail. MacSqueak Part3. | Gaia Gazette

  2. You may problems releasing him. There was an article about a mama cat who raised a baby squirrel. The baby even purred like a kitten. The owners decided to keep the baby as a pet because it would never be able to survive in the wild. You may be getting a new pet, but that’s a good thing in my book.

    • I hope that it won’t get there, Sharon. In fact, despite Spip being raised alone, I’m doing my best to insure that he keeps his chances high : not letting people handle him, encouraging natural behaviors even when cumbersome for me, not feeding him human made foods, etc.
      I did see the purring squirrel you mentioned ( video on Youtube ) but that is one of the big mistakes rehabilitators avoid and is “forbidden” ( hence the hand rearing ). We even have found a spot for its release in a semi-countyrside setting in the garden of a caring grandma.
      I wouldn’t mind keeping him as a pet personally but he belongs in the trees. Not managing to let him go live back there would be a partial failure in that respect. Saving his life will only have made sense if he gets to live it fully? :D Fingers crossed and thanks for the concerns, Tay.

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