I grossed out my son this morning. You’d think after all these years, he’d have seen it all.
I guess he’d never seen me give a squirrel CPR.
Earlier in the morning a woman had called and said she had two young squirrels that seemed fine yesterday, but weren’t doing well today. They had come up to her family earlier in the weekend and started crawling up legs at the campfire.
Squirrels aren’t supposed to do that.
Luckily, they realized that these were quite young and very hungry. They gave them bread and bits of nuts and seeds and let them drink a little water out of a dish. Last night, they made a little nest for them in the wood box outside (What? Not everyone brings random squirrels into their house like me?) It got really cold last night. The babies were cold and lethargic this morning and wouldn’t eat.
What she didn’t know, is that young squirrels who loose their mother stay in the nest for a few days waiting for her to come back and feed them. When she doesn’t, they crawl out and down the tree and walk up to anything bigger than them looking for food. Unfortunately, what is bigger than them is usually looking for food too….end of squirrel.
By the time someone finds them or they find someone who will pay attention to them, they have usually been without food three to five days. The first thing people think is that all squirrels eat nuts and seeds and bread. They don’t. Baby squirrels will nurse up to three months and sometimes longer. The only thing their system is able to digest is milk. They may not be able to process the hard foods, especially if they are dehydrated.
These were dehydrated, even though they had tried to give them water, even mixing sugar and a bit of salt with it, they didn’t realize how much and how often they would need it. The poor little things did not have the resources to keep warm through the cold night.
By the time they got here, only one was moving and that was barely. The other was cold and still. I didn’t want to tell her the squirrel was dead, so I rushed them into the house. The breathing squirrel went right into intensive care (a box on my desk with a heating pad underneath)
The other squirrel was still limp instead of stiff and since the woman said he was still breathing when she left the house…I figured I’d give it a shot.
I started CPR. You have to pump fast to keep up with a squirrel’s metabolism and after about 30 compressions, I went to give him a breath. That’s were Levi comes in. He was at the desk working on my computer.
I gave a few tiny puffs and more compressions. As I went to give him another puff of air, I glanced over at my son.
He was sitting there, mouth agape with a look of horror on his face.(Maybe it was disbelief, it’s hard to tell any more.)
He said, “MOM! You don’t know where that squirrel’s mouth has been!”
I told him, “Well I KNOW where yours has been and I still kiss you!” and went back to work.
It wasn’t long before the squirrel took a few breaths and moved a tiny bit. I tucked him in my shirt to warm him and feel if he stopped breathing again. Pretty soon, I could tuck him in with his sister in ICU.
It was absolutely amazing how quickly Levi finished up on my computer and disappeared.
Throughout the afternoon, I gave them Pedialyte and kept them warm. By tonight they were up and wanting milk. Now their tummies are full and they are snuggled next to the miracle squirrel from last week. I think they will be just fine, even if one does has a trace of lipstick over his nose.
And Levi? Well, I don’t think I’ll be kissing my son anytime soon…..and he thought all he had to worry about was Corona…..