This is a story of my first encounter with a baby squirrel and not a resource on how to take care of a baby squirrel.
My neighbor called on the telephone and said, “Can you come down here?” “I need to show you something; I think it is one of your squirrel friends.”
I Didn’t Know What To Expect
As I rush down three flights of stairs, I realize I have no idea what I am getting into, but I know it doesn’t sound promising. As I walk in my neighbor’s door, she says, “I didn’t mean to do it; I didn’t know it was there! And I swear that thing is an attack squirrel. If she comes back, you better run.
Without hesitation, she shuttles me out to the balcony as she takes position by the glass sliding door, not daring to step foot on the balcony. She says, “there” as she points with her finger of one hand down to the cold and grey concrete floor of the balcony and gripping tightly to a broomstick in the other hand.
I look, but not seeing anything. “There, right there”, she says again, “I didn’t mean to do it.”
And then I see it, tears are welling up in my eyes, and my heart is racing like a sports car on the Autobahn. I looked at my neighbor and told her I didn’t think it was breathing.
I almost missed it, right there on the hard cold floor.
I Think It Is a Baby Squirrel
It was late afternoon in February right around the start of COVID, and the afternoon daylight was about to disappear. I had to squint my eyes so tightly due to the lack of light to see this tiny little creature. “I think it is a baby squirrel,” I exclaimed. My neighbor replied, “Of course, it is a baby squirrel, that’s the nest, and its mother is around here somewhere ready to attack me.”
“I was sweeping the balcony, behind the grill and when I pulled it away from the wall, that thing came tumbling down,” said my neighbor. She pointed to the nest turned on its side; it looked like a long hand-woven basket from Africa similar in shape to a tornado.
There It Was A Pink Seahorse
So there it was a little naked pink circle that reminded me of a curled-up seahorse. What stood out most were the eyes. Tiny bulging eyes as black as coal. I didn’t see any ears. It was no bigger than a half-dollar or a casino chip. I take another quick glance not wanting to look too hard because it was so sad to look, but this time, I believed I saw the baby breathe.
Can’t Touch This Baby Squirrel
I knew not to pick up the baby because I thought If I touched it mom would reject it. I reached into my pocket stuffed full of nuts for my cell phone. Who do I know that can help me? Karon Kritters the go-to rehabber extraordinaire!
Karon answers immediately, but I can’t seem to put two words together. I believe my first couple of sentences made no sense at all. Karon’s response was, Ok, now tell me what is going on. As I am explaining, Karon stops me and says, I need you to pick up the baby and place it back in the nest. Mom will most likely return to get the babies shortly.
I squealed, but if I touch it, mom won’t take it. With a very calm and directing voice, Karon said, “I know what I am doing and I need you to listen closely and do what I tell you. Listening to Karon’s tone and instructions snapped me back into reality. I had to put aside what I thought I knew and accept her advice recognizing she is the expert.
Just As I Reach For the Baby Squirrel
So I bent over, extended my arm, and I was interrupted just short of scooping up the baby. My neighbor starts yelling, There she is, the attack squirrel! We better get out of here. Now I am puzzled, not that the commotion itself couldn’t cause that but because Karon seems relieved to know the attack squirrel is here. She automatically knew the mom had come back for her babies.
Fast As a Bullet Train
Between concentrating on what Karon is telling me and my neighbor who was getting more wound up by the minute, I was unable to concentrate. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a squirrel running on the balcony railing fast as a bullet train and squawking like a screech owl. Her tail whipped around like storm winds from a category 4 hurricane.
I turn around and I see the squirrel and I blurt out, “oh, it is Miss Hazel.” Then you hear Karon exclaim, “oh, it is Miss Hazel.” The squawking, tail-whipping, and running back and forth on the railing came to a complete halt as we locked eyes. I honestly believe Miss Hazel recognized me even though I was not at my house.
My neighbor, in disbelief, that the “wild attack squirrel’ had suddenly become silent.
Do You Think She Knows What She is Doing
I said to Karon, she stepped on the baby on her way into the nest or maybe she doesn’t see the baby. Karon reassured me Miss Hazel knew what she was doing and would get the baby. Hazel’s furry little head pops out of the nest with a baby in her mouth, and shoots down the railing, and climbs up the wall. Minutes later, Hazel returns and repeats the same process, still stepping on the baby as she goes to retrieve another baby.
I tell my neighbor I am going outside to see if I can spot where she is headed.
I take Karon with me via cell phone, and I spot Miss Hazel on the wall. She was headed directly to the upstairs neighbor’s unit. Karon mentioned that squirrels often keep backup nests close by for purposes just like this. Also, she said it is not unusual for moms to switch to another nest periodically.
I guess squirrels need a change of scenery too.
Oh No, She Keeps Stepping on the Baby Squirrel
I went back to the balcony, and Miss Hazel stepped on the baby each time, she made her way into the nest to retrieve the other two. Miss Hazel had three babies in total, and yes, she finally picked up the little pink seahorse lying on the concrete floor last. As she scurried away with the baby in her mouth, I was so relieved.
I said in a whisper, “Take Care Baby Squirrel.”
She worked tirelessly that evening for hours in the dark taking stuffing from inside the fallen nest and transporting it upstairs to their new home.
I left a note on the upstairs neighbor’s front door to let them know of the situation. They called the next day to tell me she set up shop in a huge clay pot. They eventually did have a look, and there were three babies. Miss Hazel moved again around 2 weeks later. Where, I am not sure, but I do know where she lives now!
Miss Hazel Eating Nuts At My House Since 2018
Hazel has been coming to my house since October of 2018. She has had baby squirrels quite a few times now and she is oh so adorable and round.
The question I get asked often is if I know where the squirrels live. Since this story is about Miss Hazel, it would be fitting if I let Miss Hazel show you the way to her “tree.”
So, let’s go…..