Baby Squirrel

One day in late August, I got off the bus after work and found a black squirrel sitting at the edge of the lawn a few feet away from the bus stop. He was just a baby, with a tiny body and a long tail, and seemed to be taking in the world around him for the very first time. He didn’t react when I started walking toward him, so I crouched down and, for some reason, held out my hand for him to sniff as if he were a dog or a cat. He showed no fear, and I was utterly charmed when he rested his paw on my finger. I was worried that he might dash out into the road – it’s not a very busy road, being residential, but buses do go by and there is a fair amount of traffic during rush hour – and since he seemed so trusting, I scooped my hand beneath him and carried him a few feet to a nearby tree. He seemed perfectly content to sit in my hand as I brought him to the tree (which did in fact have a leafy squirrel nest at the top) and held him up to the trunk so he could climb up it. While he was hanging onto the tree for dear life, I took this picture with my cell phone.

Baby Eastern Gray Squirrel

Baby Eastern Gray Squirrel

The squirrel showed no interest in remaining in the tree. No, he climbed right back down to the lawn and parked himself at the edge of the sidewalk, much more interested in exploring the big new world. The thought of leaving such a small, defenseless baby there alone made my heart ache. I know that all baby birds and mammals eventually have to leave the nest and make their way in the world, but he seemed so small and trusting that I had to go back and attempt to move him to a safer place one more time. I bent down again and scooped him up, and again he allowed me to carry him to the tree. The lowest horizontal branch was just above my head, but I reached up and managed to place him on the branch.

He ran down the tree again, and this time he decided to run across the lawn toward a small evergreen. I decided it was time to go, even though I could have spent the rest of the day hanging out with him. I’ve never attempted to hold a squirrel before, let alone carried one around, and I doubt I will ever hold a baby squirrel in my hand again. Hopefully he will quickly learn to avoid the cars on the road and the neighbourhood cats and survive to a ripe old age.

Maybe he will even visit my yard sometime and raid my feeder.


2 thoughts on “Baby Squirrel

  1. We had a similar experience in our back yard, just a kilometre or two north of you, in June 2011. A disoriented and skinny young squirrel appeared one day which showed absolutely no fear of us, just curiosity. That was rather concerning due to the number at “house” cats that prowl the neighbourhood killing many birds and rodents, especially our friendly chipmunks. So maddening, the ignorance of some people and their “harmless” felines. Anyway, not seeing any adult squirrels around at that time, other than the frequent car-killed ones on the nearby major street, we offered the little guy some food, for which it seemed most grateful. After a couple of days we had to go way for a few days and, on our return, were happy to discover that in our absence the squirrel (still alone, as far as we could tell from several days observation) seemed to have acquired a little more caution regarding humans, though we could still get quite near, plus some foraging skills. We have many pictures, including some of him sitting on my wife’s wrist while eating from a peanut butter jar lid in her hand. A little charmer.

    • That’s a wonderful story, Jim. I completely understand how maddening it is when people let their cats out. I have two indoor cats who only go outside in the backyard if I’m with them. My male is quite territorial and gets VERY upset when a strange cat comes into “his” yard, so much that he starts fighting my other cat and urinating by the doors. I wish people understood that their roaming cats DO affect other people and their pets, not to mention the wildlife!

      I had four black squirrels in my yard this morning, one of which looked a bit small and sleek. I’d like to think that this was the same baby I found back in August; however, when I opened the door to throw out some peanuts he ran away!

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