Ever since our first raccoon baby arrived back in April, staff and volunteers of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary have been bustling with work day and night, bottle feeding various orphans – raccoons, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, fawns, beavers and bears.
The animal baby season isn’t over yet.
One of two baby grey squirrels found by cottagers on Lake Rosseau arrived at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
These tiny bundles needed feeding every four hours, but now that we are into August, things have settled down (sort of), and all the orphans are on solid food and consequently, life for the humans has become somewhat easier.
Just as we thought we could catch our breath, we were brought two very tiny grey squirrel babies – no hair, eyes closed and no bigger than a mouse.
Unlike other mammals, squirrels have not one, but two litters per year, but we weren’t really anticipating any brought in until later in August. However, some cottagers on Lake Rosseau discovered one at the base of their deck, probably fallen out from a nest in the tree above it.
They really weren’t sure what it was, but thought it might be a red squirrel and brought it to Aspen Valley that morning. At 10 p.m. on the same day, they arrived with a sibling to the first squirrel, which they had found again at the base of their deck. It is a wonder that neither were injured in their fall to the ground from their nest.
The first thing staff does when an orphan is brought in is to hydrate it with electrolytes.
These two little squirrels responded well, and soon were drinking squirrel formula from a syringe on which a tiny nipple is attached.
Because they have no hair, they feel the cold even with our warm weather, so they are kept in a small crate with a heating pad covered with several layers of towels, and only brought out for feeding.
Baby squirrels are extremely fragile, but these two are doing well, and we anticipate that they will soon have fur and open their eyes, ready for solid food and the slow rehabilitation procedure aimed at keeping them wild enough to return to their native habitat.
(These articles are contributed by staff at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with a mandate to educate the public towards a better understanding of local fauna.)