Gulliver, hungry and lost, asked to one of my students to pick him up. She put him in a shoebox and brought him to me. Poor little fellow didn't know how to feed himself, had lost most of his fur, and had lost his mum. I brought him home, put him on a heating pad, and fed him kitten milk replacer.
This is what he looked like when I first brought him home. He had just a little fur on his face, feet and tail. Other than that, he was pretty much naked. A number of things could have caused this, including mange, fungal infections, malnutrition, etc.
I wasn't able to enlist the help of veternarians or wildlife rehabbers, so I figured I was going to feed him well. I learned how to make squirrel chow - milk whey with lots of pulverized vitamins and minerals. Later on, I offered him avocado, berries, applies, grapes, bell peppers, oranges, peas, corn, bananas, and pomegranates.
Gulliver came to me mid-November 2008. He remained hairless for quite a few months. Then one day, I noticed he was covered in a coppery fuzz. Before too long, he recovered fully and had a beautiful fur coat.
|Gulliver, my little rescue squirrel, sick and orphaned.
|Gulliver, with his shiny fur coat.
I kept Gulliver for about 9 months. The nights started getting cooler, so I set about acclimating Gulliver to my backyard. I set up a large cage on my back porch for him. He soon showed interest in exploring, so I began to leave his cage door open. I provided him with a nestbox high in a tree and hung a feeding tray from a cherry tree. Because he didn't know how to cache of food for the winter, I set food out for him through the winter.
|Gulliver in the winter of 2009, chowing down on avocado and raspberries at his feeding station.
I love happy endings!