Monday, April 20, 2009

Preggers Is Injured

Preggers has been limping around, favoring her front right paw.  

She doesn't put any weight on it, and we're not sure what happened.  If she's not better by Friday, we're thinking about trapping her and taking her to a vet.  Obviously, there are several problems with this "solution" outside capturing her.

First, we think she may be weening and training her little babies.  Last week, we heard some screaming in our driveway and found a little baby squirrel, about half the size of Preggers, but with all its fur.  It was noticably smaller than most of the young squirrels that we think are just free of the nest that visit, but it looked almost big enough to take care of itself.  It would hide underneath our car and stick it's head out every once in a while and let out a little scream.

We watched it stealthily from our window and saw a small male, about the size of Scamp and Spooky try to approach it, curiously, but the little squirrel would bark and get angry.  Then a short while later, Preggers came along.

The male squirrel left of his own accord, the little baby started nursing and then there was a short little "wrestling" match where Preggers was biting the baby's tail and neck, trying to get a grip on the baby.  It was the cutest thing as they went around and around.  It was difficult for Preggers because the baby was already so big, but eventually she got hold of the inside of its neck, and it curled up underneath her belly being careful to keep its tail from dragging on the ground.

Well, that was a waste of effort because the oak tree is just 5 feet away.  When they got to the base of the tree, Preggers realized that she couldn't carry the little one up the trunk, so she set it down and prodded it with her nose to go up.  Baby hesitated, but eventually started climbing.  Preggers would prod the baby every now and then until they got to the place where the tree starts to branch out.  Then she carried him again along the branch work higher up the tree.

About 5 minutes later, we hear a loud screaming and a thud.  We look in the driveway and the baby squirrel has fallen out of the tree or off our roof.  We're not sure, but hubby said he didn't think it was moving.  Preggers is down there like a flash and carries it off.  Needless to say, we were pretty depressed and sad.  We though for sure it would die.

A couple of days later, I hear the same screaming coming from outside, and it's another little baby squirrel.  This time, it's at the apex of our A-framed roof.  I am so relieved because I'm pretty sure it's the same one we thought was dead!

Anyway, the next several days, we hear screaming and crying on and off, and we find baby squirrels hiding.  We think Preggers takes them out to learn to forage and then tells them whereabouts they can hide while she goes out to get something to eat.  They know to stay perfectly still, like a rock, but they can't help but call out.

We suspect she has a litter of 3, like last year, but that's one of the reasons we're not sure if taking her to a vet is a good idea.  We don't want to keep her away from her babies for too long, but we're also worried that her handicap may get her killed.  Also, there may be no medical solution to helping her.  If it's broken higher up her arm, putting a cast or splint on it isn't going to work since she's a wild animal.

She doesn't seem to have any trouble bending it or using it to eat, but she won't put any weight on it, and when she jumps, she jumps very carefully.  We have noticed that she is learning to run on 3 legs, but I imagine she's not anywhere near as fast as a healthy squirrel.  If another squirrel were to get seriously aggressive with her, I don't think she could get away.


worldphotos4 said...

Not shots. I'm sure sorry about Preggers paw problem. Probably best to let her try to heal on her own, with the young and all. Youngster lost one of her litter. It fell down the pipe on the roof gutter. They are just not sure footed at that age.

daffy said...

Oh My! Rene, I was holding my breath whilst I was reading this!
Preggers is a wonderful mum though isn't she. Poor thing, such a shame about her injury. I'm sure she'll heal though, she seems very 'clued up'.

driver said...

Wonderful pictures! I hope Preggers gets better soon. I had no idea baby squirrels could and would scream.

Rene said...

Thanks all.

Steve - Thanks! Yes, I think that's the only viable solution. Sorry to hear about Youngster's baby.

daffy - I sure hope she heals up.

driver - Thank you! Oh yeah. Baby squirrels yell really, really loud.