On my way out of the house to the car yesterday, in the front yard I saw a strange sight: a squirrel was carrying something odd in its mouth, something enormous. The squirrel was startled to see me, appeared to panic, dropped what it had been carrying, and took off into the neighbors’ yard. When I went over to investigate the dropped thing, I realized it was a very tiny baby squirrel. I also realized that I have never in my life actually seen a baby squirrel. An hour later, when I returned from my errands, the baby was still underneath the shrubs, and Mama was nowhere to be seen. Baby was lying very still, flat to the ground, in what seemed an effort not to be noticed. There are a lot of outdoor cats here, and I was certain that would be the fate of this animal if we didn’t do something. So we found a big, empty box and put it on top of the planter by the shrubs, off the ground. Our hope was that the squirrel would seek shelter in the box on its own while awaiting its mother’s return. And it did. And while we figured it was probably so young that it wasn’t yet weaned, we left out a bowl of water at the edge of the box.
All day, that little squirrel sat in the box and chirped periodically, calling to its mother. After a few hours of this, I began to wonder if it had been truly abandoned (hard to know for sure, because I know deer leave very young ones alone for whole days at a time as well, so that the babies often just *seem* to have been orphaned). But since I couldn’t just stand by and watch it die, and as young as it was, that’s where things would be heading, I Googled all over, trying to find some sort of wildlife rescue in this area to help out. The closest I could find was in Roanoke, about 40 miles away. But they didn’t laugh their heads off at a person calling for them to rescue something as common as a squirrel; their intern, who lives in Radford, said she would drive down after work, pick it up, and drive it back up to the rescue.
By evening, when we checked, Baby was gone. I have to believe that the mother did eventually come back for her baby.