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Fox Squirrel Rescue IV: Bushy Grows Up!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I wish I could say the Miracle Squirrel from the second rescue made it, but he didn't. That blood at the nose presaged a battle for his life, which he lost. 

It's hard to have to jump out of a tall tree for help. It's amazing any of them survived that at their tender age. I'm glad, I guess, that the two who didn't make it left this world warm, fed, and loved instead of dying slowly of exposure in the rain.

This is wildlife rehab. You win some, you lose some, and Angel lost sleep for three nights straight trying to save them. She's the hero here.

Angel was down to one squirrel now, but that was SOME SQUIRREL. 

When she was pretty sure he was out of the woods, she named him Bushy.

And she began sending me cellphone photos of what Bushy could do.


And This!

And even...THIS!

I was so thankful that we'd been able to save Bushy. He was worth the work and heartache. 
At least from my comfortable, well-rested point of view. I'm sure Angel would agree. Even though she's the one who stayed up all night with the squirrels I brought her.

I'll keep you updated. At last communication, Bushy was taking solid foods: nuts, grapes, corn, dandelions and birdseed! But still taking darn near a whole bottle of formula at each feeding.

 I have always loved fox squirrels. I love them about ten times more than I love gray squirrels. I love their big beefy build, their beautiful color, their fat bottoms, and the phlegmatic way they move, as if there's really nothing here to be concerned about. I also like the kind of forests where they live: mature deciduous hardwoods, which are getting harder to find. The modus operandi around here is to wait barely just long enough for one's timber to be of value, then cut it and cash in. That kind of ever-recovering young forest doesn't constitute "mature" in a fox squirrel's eyes. So we have a ton of gray squirrels, which aren't choosy about forest type, and far fewer fox squirrels in Washington County Ohio.

But Chet the Perfect Dog treed an adult fox squirrel along Duck Creek last week, and that squirrel was just fine up in its tree, but then he looked down at me, figured I must have a gun, and panicked.  Lost his head, he did. Little did he know I am a Squirrel Fairy. Anyway, he decided to make a run for it, jumped out of the safety of his tree and landed right at Chet's feet. Duh, Foxy. Duh.

 Chet obligingly tied into this gift-wrapped prey item, this Schmoo among squirrels, and snarfled around on him. He never got purchase with his teeth, though, and the squirrel was freaked out but unhurt. I was just leaping on Chet to pull him away when the squirrel broke free and made a fluid, fat-bottomed, slo-mo dash for another tree. He barely made it up there, but this time at least he had the sense to keep climbing and not jump right back down into the middle of things. I stood there laughing my head off at those two, Chet hardly able to believe he'd gotten another chance at a grown fox squirrel, and me shaking my head at the fox squirrel's doofyness. A gray squirrel would never do something like that. What's not to love about fox squirrels?

Now, thanks to this incredible experience, I know a little more of what to do for orphaned squirrels and how to do it, and that's something. I know a new call, and I won't forget it.

Stopping to help: It can be heartbreaking, but it's always worth doing.

Heartfelt thanks to Angel, for all she does. 


In a world without "fairies" not even one of these little guys would have survived. Heartbreaking, yes, but Bushy was worth a heartbreak or two to help him survive his leap into the big unknown world below, into the warm hands of a real live fairy who would deliver him to an angel who would nurture him and his siblings to give each a last chance. What a story he will have to share with his grandchildren one day!!! :-)

I love reading your blog!
I used to be a wildlife rehabber, taking in only grey squirrels here in the Catskill Mtns. of upstate NY.

When I read your remark about Chet and the fox squirrel, I remember this very scenario playing out before my eyes right in my own woods. My 2 dogs have treed grey squirrels more than once and I've watched the squirrel wait for 30 secs. and then run right back down the same tree, practically into the waiting mouths of my dogs. They've killed at least 2 squirrels this way. For the life of me I can't figure out why the greys just didn't stay up in the tree, but chose to run down literally into the jaws of waiting dogs. Very upsetting to witness:
, Chet hardly able to believe he'd gotten another chance at a grown fox squirrel, and me shaking my head at the fox squirrel's doofyness. A gray squirrel would never do something like that. What's not to love about fox squirrels?

Thank you for getting those Fox Squirrels to the earth angel who worked so tirelessly to try to save them. Geez, it's hard work.
Teresa Jurdy

Well Teresa you learn something every day. Thank you for this story, upsetting as it must have been for you. Perhaps it's the same impulse that makes any squirrel barely clear your car wheels, then rush right back under them. Huh? It's like a wire comes loose in their little brains.

Thank you for the update, Julie. It's sad that the other two didn't make it, but we am joyful that one did! Please let us know how he does, and when he is released.

Posted by Anonymous May 3, 2015 at 4:15 AM

Glad for the happy ending!

I'm so glad to hear about Bushy's good fortune. Fox squirrels are very bad decision-makers. "Hey, I'm safe in this tree! Hey, here comes Joy and her car! I think I'll dash down into the road, then panic and freeze! I wonder why she's yelling Those Words at me??"

Posted by Joy K. May 3, 2015 at 5:25 AM

Completely amazing and inspiring series of posts. Thanks, Zick.

It's so gratifying to read your blog and through it find so many good people out there. Thanks, Julie.

Posted by Gail Spratley May 3, 2015 at 7:38 AM

Thank you for this update. I've been thinking about those baby fox squirrels and hoping for the best. Really good news about Bushy. I hope he has a wonderfully long life and stays off the roads and out of the open jaws of doggies. Please tell Angel thank you for me too!

I don't know. Maybe we just have particularly stupid grey squirrels but several of them have fallen out of trees right at my dogs' feet. The squirrels were perfectly safe in their tree but decided to jump to another. Dogs think it's manna from heaven.

Posted by catspaw May 3, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Bushy, Bushy, Bushy. I'm so glad you made it with the loving intervention of Julie the woodland fairy and Angel, the angel of squirrels. It is sad to hear the other two didn't make it but like you said, they died warm and with full tummies. You can only hope. And they were following their instincts to go for what they thought was their mama. Says something. Glad you know a new call that you will recognize the next time you hear it. About those mature trees being cut down in your area--is there any organization in Ohio that gets landowners to manage their forests instead of cutting them all down? My friends in Wisconsin are in a program like that. Just curious. Upward and onward by all means. Thanks to you and Angel, and Mr. Photo-bomber.

Great post about the realities of animal rescue. Thank goodness you have the instincts to even attempt it.

You just never know when a walk in the woods will give you a peaceful walk, an adventure with a (perfect) dog or a dramatic life-and-death decision.

But, hey, if there were no challenges, everyone would do it!

Have a good week!

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