MEET THE SQUIRRELS:
It is often true in life that adversity makes humans more likely to lean on one another. The same holds true for animals. During Hurricane Irma, many baby squirrels were orphaned after being tossed from their nests into muddy waters and onto leafy grass. It’s just poor timing to have a hurricane at the peak of baby squirrel season. Quick action on the part of local caregivers helped many survive, including three that are comfortably recovering before being set free. Instead of chasing these adorable critters up a tree, I am sharing their tale of courage and survival in the midst of a storm.
IN THEIR WORDS:
I fell from a tree alongside my brother and our buddy was found soaking wet atop a pile of leaves during the storm. We were not abandoned; we simply needed help being reunited with our mother. This wasn’t an easy task. When efforts to locate our mom failed, and our cries went unanswered, we were taken to a safe house.
Our guardian is nursing us back to health until we are strong enough to eat on our own. Sometimes she places a warm pad beneath our towel to keep us comfortable. Other times we sleep huddled together under a blanket to stay warm between feedings.
When it’s mealtime, we guzzle servings of salty sweet water, but only when our bodies are warm. Our human is very careful to squirt one drop at a time while we lie flat on our bellies.
That’s pretty much our lives right now: heat, eat, repeat. As we get older, and our teeth get stronger, we will need healthy foods, like fruits and nuts, and twigs to chew, so our teeth don’t grow into our skulls.
Soon we will return to nature, but first, playtime. Jumping and climbing are just a few of our natural talents, and getting lots of exercise will prepare us for living outdoors, where a squirrel can be a squirrel.
While some animals will get nature’s alerts and leave, others can’t heed hurricane warnings. Even birds that have the ability to fly away may not know which way to flee. Rescue efforts are still underway for wildlife that felt the brunt of Hurricane Irma.
The Wildlife Coalition of Northeast is open and prepared to take orphaned and injured wildlife that have been displaced as a result of the storm. These animals were harmed by the storm in a number of ways, from seeing their habitats destroyed to being stripped of food sources. Volunteers are currently caring for an injured deer, a barred owl, and more than 250 squirrels. At any one time, as many as 300 wild animals are housed at the center, undergoing rehabilitation or in foster care. Some will need care for weeks, even months. The facility is staffed with wildlife professionals and animal advocates who help these critters get a second chance at life.
Visit the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida website and learn how you can help protect Florida’s native wildlife: wildlifecoalition.com.
Davi the dachshund definitely heeds the call of the wild…just when his mom isn’t looking!