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Squirrel

Rescues

Threats

Despite squirrel's first year offering less than a 1 in 3 chance of survival, predators (birds of prey, Martens and even snakes) make up a small fraction of that risk. It probably won't surprise you to hear that humans are responsible for a vast majority of squirrel's population decline, but that's true of pretty much all nature. Hunting, habitat loss and fragmentation, pets, vehicles and introducing other invasive species have all had a huge impact of their numbers. We have hunted them nearly to extinction in many areas at least once. That was before and during wiping out most of their natural contiguous habitat (agriculture, construction and transit).

 

Red squirrels have been around for tens of millions of years (far longer than humans). They're not quite endangered yet (like ground squirrels and many other species), but their numbers are dwindling and it's somewhat of a miracle they are still around. Actually in some places they aren't. England's population is on life support. Grey squirrels are largely blamed for this, ignoring all the other elements mentioned above, but some use this as a justification to do yet more animal cruelty. 

Rescues

These four baby squirrels lost their home and mother when their tree was cut down by a developer. Fortunately there are some superheroes around that can spend the vast amount of time and effort it takes to care for these amazing animals. The 6-7 week old kits (babies) will be taken care of until they're old enough to be released. Their new home will be a remote forest with no cars, cats, dogs or people. This should give them a much better chance...

When they were woken to eat, they were plucked from the layers of warm blankets, where they were curled up together. They were then stimulated with a wet-wipe, to encourage them to pee (like young kittens). They don't like this so squirm around trying to get away, so it helps to be firm with them. Click here to see my wife's video of the whole experience. The first couple of days were risky for them and them being lethargic was a little scary. By this point (day 3) they were getting very active after being fed. You could see their energy levels grow exponentially over a short period. I'm so curious what they think about using their surrogate parents as a tree...

Video

I got a couple of small clips of the baby squirrels while I was there. I had only had the camera for a couple of weeks at this time, but luckily I managed to find the 4k 120fps mode for video, so here's a couple of the squirrels in slow motion with some nice audio...

I wish these squirrels didn't need saving, but I'm happy I got to spend a few days with them and that they went on to a better place...

NOTE: It can be very tempting to want to take care of these cute creatures, but it's not something you should try to do unless you are very experienced. Squirrels are wild animals, not pets! In most countries it is illegal to take them home. If you find a baby squirrel that looks abandoned, do not move it! The parent will likely return, but if they don't after many hours seek experienced advice.

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