I was working in my study late Sunday evening when I began to notice a strange faint squeaking noise coming from someplace nearby. The sound would come and go, and at first I dismissed it as my imagination.
But as the sound persisted I began to become curious about what it might be. I listened carefully, and as the squeaking repeated I believed it was possible that the noise was emanating from my from my front porch. I suspected some kind of small animal—possibly a bird—and stepped out side to check.
Back inside about 15 minutes passed before I noticed the sound again. This time I decided it must be the television in the other room, and turned it off. Still the faint squeaking continued, and now I thought maybe my ceiling fan’s bearing were beginning to wear out, so I turned it off too.
There was silence! So that was it. The ceiling fan! I sat back at my desk and had just enough time to re-engage in my work before the squeaking began again. But this time there was no doubt about it—the noise was coming from out in my front yard.
I stepped out on my front porch again to complete silence. This time, however, I did not give up so easily. Within just a minute or two the cries started up again and they were clearly coming from a bush at the edge of my neighbor’s yard.
The bush was tall, and thick with branches and leaves. It took a good deal of searching with a flashlight to finally find the tiny little noise maker—a baby Fox Squirrel. The one week old squirrel had fallen from its nest and caught its hind leg in the crotch of a small branch. She was hanging upside down and calling out for help.
Just barely within reach, I was able to bend a branch or two and collect the infant squirrel. I quickly brought her inside and gave her a thorough inspection. She was uninjured and still well hydrated. She was active and strong. All good signs.
But she was not in perfect condition. A number of small red bumps indicated that the baby had been bitten or stung by insects a number of times. Fortunately, she was not in distress from these bites. All things considered the little squirrel seemed to be in pretty good shape.
So, now it was nearing midnight and I had a helpless baby squirrel on my hands. The natural question: Now what!?!
I called a friend of mine who works in wildlife rehab. “Keep the baby warm and feed it puppy milk replacement every two and half hours,” was the advice I received. “Find a rehabber in the morning,” she added as she gave me a couple of phone numbers I could call.
A shoe box lined with a towel and warmed with a heating pad set to LOW accomplished objective number one. Next, I was off to Wal*mart for some puppy milk replacement and eye droppers. No problem.
Back at home, I attempted my first feeding, and the baby squirrel ate heartily! She even wagged her tail while she was eating. A half of an eyedropper of milk later and she was full. I put her back in the towel-lined box and set my alarm clock for a couple of hours later. I went to bed to try and get some sleep.
When the alarm clock went off at 1:30 am I was confused and disoriented. What the hell was going on!?! Slowly, it all came back to me, and I dragged myself out of bed.
I went downstairs and boiled some water to use for warming the milk replacement. As the formula warmed I collected some paper towels and an eyedropper, and then went to feed the baby.
Again the squirrel ate hungrily with her tail a-wagging! And again she ate only a half of an eyedropper of formula.
All this for just a half an eyedropper of formula!?!
So, back in the box went the squirrel. I went to the kitchen to clean up the feeding implements. Then I reset the alarm clock and headed back to bed.
Too soon the harsh buzzing began again. I repeated the feeding routine two more times that morning before it was time to get up.
In the light of day, we first went outside to see if there was any hope of returning the baby squirrel to its nest. There was not. The nest was too high to reach and too protected by a dense tangle of branches to access even if we were able to get close.
Back inside I made a few phone calls and soon located a rehabber who could take our squirrel. So, I fed the squirrel one more time and we loaded up and headed off.
We reached the rehabber’s house less than a hour later. This nice man specialized in Fox Squirrels and had a number of other babies under his care. He gave our little girl a clean bill of health and then put her in with her new brothers and sisters.
We said our thank yous, left some extra puppy milk replacement and a small donation to help cover the expense of the needed care, and we were on our way back home.
A short time later we received a photo from the rehabber. The baby squirrel was doing fine! That’s her in the center of the picture!