Well, it has been a week and two days since we took in the baby fox tree squirrel that had either been abandoned or separated from its mother.
The first two days she needed hand feeding, warmth and a safe place to sleep. She was almost catatonic the first day. Gradually, she perked up, her coordination improved and her food desires went from goat milk to solids.
By the weekend, warm weather and her improved motor skills made it possible for her to handle being outside in a wire cage.
The past two days she spent the whole day outside and yesterday I watched her talking squirrel, via her waving tail, with another fox squirrel in the yard.
Last night she slept outside in her box in the cage.
Today, I opened the door and gave her the opportunity to go out into the world.
It is a hard thing to let go, but this afternoon Teeny is up in the tree eating elm seeds with the other squirrels. She isn’t very high and I did see her take a tumble, but she went right back up in the tree.
The neighbors who found her and delivered her to the doorstep thought I should keep her as a pet. But a squirrel is a wild creature. If she is able, and she is, then she should be out in the world. It also would be illegal to keep her. But disregarding the legality, it wouldn’t be ethical, it would be putting my desire to own something over its right to live a wild life.
Anyway, Teeny is back where she belongs. [OK, she doesn’t really belong here because she is an introduced species, but...] She has will to live and desire to be free. Will I put out food for her? Probably, if she comes looking. But if she is anything like the hummingbirds of this summer, she will do fine on her own.