If you remember the blond squirrel from a previous post, we found out that it is a rare genetic mutation. We’ve seen white squirrels with brown eyes (specific gene), white squirrels with pink eyes (albino), black squirrels, blond squirrels with brown eyes, but not what we have – blond squirrels with pink eyes. Here’s our girl that stayed around our property….
that is until Erynn found her drowned in our horse trough 🙁 After she collected the body, dried it off, and gave it to her biology professor for preservation (and took a sample of hair in case she has the chance to have genetic testing done on it in the future)…..
Erynn knew she had babies. She had studied the Eastern gray squirrel (that’s what she was but with a genetic mutation). Erynn also knew where her babies would be. She located them and with the help of our wonderful neighbor who had a very tall ladder, Erynn climbed up and grabbed the three babies.
The squirrel babies still had their eyes closed and definitely needed to be bottlefed.
You may expect the babies to be blond like the mother, right? Well, that’s not how it happens. Erynn has been studying genetic coat patterns in animals for years. Since there isn’t much data on this particular mutation – in fact, can’t seem to find any data….. she started comparing this mutation but in other close relatives to the squirrels like chinchillas…. She soon figured out that most likely, this gene is a recessive gene that both parents must carry in order to pass it on to their offspring. So if what she has concluded is correct, these three babies carry the mutation and if they breed to each other or to another squirrel carrying this mutation, they will have blond offspring.
By the way, on an added note – we have a male blond squirrel that hangs out on our neighbor’s property! We had no idea that there were more in our area!
so… back to these little babies….
They were so sweet….
Eventually they opened their eyes…. Cutest little tree rats ever….
If you ever find yourself in need of supplies for orphan baby squirrels, while we tried other methods, THIS is the best out there….
Squirrel nipples – they easily latch onto these and don’t choke/aspirate as easily. This was a lifesaver because those little things are strong!
And squirrel formula – Erynn found out that you can definitely use puppy formula with squirrels but actual squirrel formula is better.
Prior to getting those special nipples, this is how feeding went once they started really moving around and getting strong…. She had to keep taking the bottle away because they would aspirate….
Okay. This dude is ready for a fight. Don't get between him and his food!!! ???? #squirrelspam #angrysquirrel #squirrelsofinstagram #squirrelsofig #squirrel #squirrellife #squirrellove #squirrellover #babysquirrels #babysquirrel #wildlife #wildliferescue #wildliferehab #funnysquirrel #squirrelsounds
Pretty soon, we had to move them to a big cage. Thankfully we seem to have extra around here. I made them a little hammock.
After she switched to the better nipples, feeding went a LOT better…
Even though Erynn is handling them here, she is the only one that handled them. We kept our pets away and she only handled to feed. she was determined to keep them wild. Too many people rescue squirrels and tame them to the point where they cannot survive well outside. They become too dependent upon people. That’s not good if you want a complete rehab and release. And no matter how cute, squirrels are not meant to be pets. Those claws are fierce on your bare skin and they are very destructive.
When she weaned them, she constantly brought in certain barks, fungi, leaves, nuts, and other items from outside that she researched and knew they would eat. Her idea was to keep them familiar with what was a normal squirrel diet so when released, they would recognize much of what she offered. She also gave them other things including rat food.
We kept the squirrels a little longer than we probably should have but we had a really bad heat wave and didn’t want them going from an air conditioned house to 100 degree weather without getting acclimated.
Eventually we put the cage outdoors when it cooled down some, and opened it up a day or so later…. (but first, Erynn took another hair sample from each of them to store for future testing).
They did well – they immediately started running around and exploring…. we still see them from time to time. One hangs out down by our barn and another near our deck in the tree line….. This was really a great experience.