Walt and Winnie, clearly fully recovered from their recent surgery, found a couple of squirrels today. When I say found, I mean they sat watching them for about half an hour before I wondered what was holding their interest. The squirrels were on the ground below the trees at the end of our garden. They looked pretty young.
Walt and Win couldn't decide what to do with them. The young squirrels didn't run around, just crawled slowly away, which probably saved their lives.
I thought I should intervene. So I fetched an empty Prosecco box - we seem to have a few in the garage :-) and put them in it.
We added a few nuts and bits of apple, and for some reason a conker, but the squirrels weren't interested.
So we gave them a drink of water, and left them to calm down away from the kittens for a while.
Then we tried to release them back into the wild.
So I tried feeding them again and giving them a drink from a pipette, but that didn't go too well either.
At this point I noticed that they were literally covered in fleas. I mean covered. There must have been 500 fleas on each squirrel.
OK not about to make pets of them then. So I called Ghostbusters. Well not actually Ghostbusters, but rather the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital Trust. These Folks.
"I have squirrels" I said. "Lucky you" they said. "They look young and scared" I said. "Are their eyes open?" They asked. "Yes" I said, "and they are covered in fleas". "Bring them in" they said. So after some confusion getting their address I put the Prosecco box in a bin liner, and put the whole package in the car.
Half an hour later I arrived at the rescue centre. I was met by a very nice, if slightly stern lady. 'I have squirrels?" I said, hopefully. She looked suspiciously at the plastic bag I was carrying. "I hope they can breath in there" she said, giving me a somewhat baleful look. "They have fleas" I explained, a bit weakly.
I opened up the bag and the box, hoping very sincerely that the squirrels hadn't suffocated. They hadn't.
"We'll put them in this carrier" said another lady, lifting the first squirrel out and gently putting it in a very comfy blanketed carrier box. "Oh, it's covered in fleas!" she exclaimed. "Yes" I said. "Oh we better keep it in your box until we've treated them" she said. "Good idea" I said. "Would you like a donation towards their upkeep?" This won them over.
We parted on the best of terms, with promises to keep me informed of the squirrels' progress. Apparently they would be wintered in the rescue centre and released next spring. Sounds like they got a good deal, The ladies were very kind.
I've been itching all day.