Anyone want to caretake a baby squirrel?
The Audubon Society will not take care of him as he is an invasive species. They will humanely put him to sleep. I can’t do that. I also can’t keep him because he needs food every 4 hours. Any ideas?

Naturally, I had a few…which is why William the Conqueror-squirrel is now part of a household already enriched by Lola, Nikki, The Resident Carpenter, about a million saltwater denizens of the deep, assorted garden vegetables, a giant berry patch, and a number of wild critters living (solely, I hope) in the backyard.

Given my typical reaction to inhouse rodents,* William is an, er, unusual TEMPORARY addition to the family, but a totally inevitable one.

William fell or was pushed from his nest (AKA dray) onto the sidewalk in front of a nearby family’s house last July, when he was only a couple of weeks old. The family tried to replace him, to no avail. Shortly after, his mamma moved to a new tree, leaving poor little William behind. 

The Audubon Center agreed to take him, but only for euthanasia. Apparently in Oregon there is a self-righteous dude in charge who’s decided that rehab centers must kill non-native baby animals. Rehab centers will lose their licenses if they don’t comply with this kill order (you can move a few miles down the road to Washington state, or out to just about any other neighboring state, and they don’t do this, BTW).

So in supposedly liberal, overtly tolerant and loving Oregon it’s adios, baby animals. Uhm…not on MY watch, suckas…

Fortunately, most Oregon rehab centers do give folks the choice to indignantly refuse the baby-snuffing option.

This family duly refused, but now was in a quandary regarding what to do with this pink, hairless little critter.

A friend facebooked their above plea for help. I saw it, immediately texted the Resident Carpenter for advice.

Nathan’s done rescue-and-rehab with a number of small mammals, including several raccoons, so I figured he’d possibly have some insights…

And he did. “TELL THEM YES, YES, WE’LL TAKE HIM!!!”

Uhm, Nathan, I said INSIGHTS. Not adoption, dammit.

And that’s how William’s shoebox arrived on our front porch a few hours later. By then, the RC had already been to the pet store for baby formula and assorted animal rescue goodies.

The RC opened William’s shoebox, peered inside, and instantly fell in love. If William’s eyes had been open, I’m sure he would have done the same for the Resident Carpenter. 

I was skeptical. The shoebox’ contents bore a close resemblance to Smeagol from The Hobbit: Pink, blind, nearly hairless, with long, black claws. I recalled friends’ stories of squirrels chewing through attics, eating weatherstripping out of a brand new Audi to reach a sack of bird seed in the back seat, slipping into a vacation house to turn the living room into a kapok-studded wonderland….

Gulp.

“Are we SURE about this?” I asked cautiously, “How long is this going to take, getting him back to the wilderness and all?” I asked. I could stand a week or two, I supposed.

“Probably three to six months,” Nathan blurbled confidently, “We do NOT make him a pet or keep him confined, he has full access to the outside and can come and go as he pleases. We just teach him to be a wild squirrel.

He’ll start going out on his own when he’s ready, then meet a little girl squirrel and one day just disappear…”

All I heard was… SIX MONTHS? HOLY… there go the drapes, the sofa… sigh.

And just like that, William joined the family as a temporary, if beloved, resident.

“I’ll take care of him,” Nathan promised, “He’ll need round the clock feeding. And peeing. And pooping.”

“Won’t he do those last two himself?”

“Not really, you have to help–you swab his little private parts with warm water until he’s stimulated to go. We’ll need cotton swabs. Lots and lots of cotton swabs. Also rags and a heating pad, and he can sleep with me in my room, I’ll set the alarm clock for every two hours…”

Welcome home, little William.


*Screaming panic, followed by murderous intent and a mousetrap, followed by “OH MY GOD YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY HAVE THAT MANY GUTS SPILLING ALL OVER THE…!!!!” squeamishness. You can adopt cats to take care of indoor rodents, but you won’t ever think of them as gentle, furry purr machines ever again.