Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another chipmunk rescue

One thing I realised this time in the rescue is that you will have to sacrifice your time, energy and your most valuable sleep if you want to be successful at rehabilitating abandoned chipmunk babies.

Last Saturday I couldn't help investigating the constant squealing (if that's the right word) from a house near my brother's house. The noise seemed to come from the electric meter box. I instantly knew there was a chipmunk nest there. At my home I had found two nests in the electrical meter box. After calling the neighbour and on opening the box I found a big nest very close to the fuses unlike my box where the nests were built in an adjacent box next to the electic fuses. I found three little ones. The one that was crying out loud had a bruised tail that was entangled in the fibres of the nest. The babies were already pale indicating that they might not have been fed for quite some time. I told the owner of the house to give it a couple of hours to wait for the mother to come and take them away as is the case when you touch a nest or a baby.

After a few hours when I called I was told that the baby was still crying. It was time for action. I removed the entire nest and took it home. I also managed to de-entangle the crying baby's tail. This time I wanted to do a good job and so rushed to a nearby pharmacy and bought a thermal bag. But by the time I came back with Chaithu from school one of the chipmunks, a female, had perished. I felt extremely sad. If only I had given it a few drops of water or rehydrated it I could have saved it. Time is precious when you are trying to save lives. I quickly got the hot pack ready and gave them a solution recommened by this site There are things I couldn't do that were mentioned on the site - 1. Use Esbilac Milk Powder. This is because you hardly get them in India. I also didn't find an electric thermal pad. I used the hot water thermal pad instead. That was the real hassle as I had to change water almost every two hours. I solved this problem by using a flask.

The night was the problem. How could you wake up in the middle of the night. This was my acid test pending. Will the other two survive? I had to wait for about 5 hours for the next water change. But did I succeed? Oh Yes! The two little ones were doing fine next morning. My sleep was disturbed but it was worth it. I realise it is hard work but the pay-offs and mental satisfaction is gives are worth it.

The babies are doing fine with the home made hyrdrant and diluted cow's milk. On day four one of them is already growing soft hair below his mouth. The two are very active. They scratch at their bodies at times and the most wonderful thing. I have seen them yawn. Wonder who will take care of them when I leave for Kerala this vacation.

Here's a poor shot of them on day 6, blissfully sleeping after a feeding.


Arathi said...

Hi Subash,
You mentioned about one Ms.Subashini Varadarajan in Adyar who can advise on baby squirrels. I just happened to find one under my split AC unit and am thinking of adopting him. I wanted to be sure I am not doing the wrong things for the baby suqirrel. Appreciate your help. Thanks

Subash S L said...

Hello Aarathi,

If your squirrel(actually chipmunk) is pink i.e very young you will need to be more careful. I suggest if they mother is still around, you let the mother take care of the little one. However if you are sure that the little one is abandoned then there's work for you and it is not easy at least till the little one has opened its eys. But if you are dedicated I can only encourage you and say that the little one is in safe hands. You may adopt it. Please read through my posts for information. You will need to feed it every 4 hours. You will have to simulate it's excretion (both stool and urine). This is very important but not difficult. You will need to do it till the little one opens its eyes. Subashini told me that you need to make the milk real thick and so add curd to it. I used a ear-drops bottle that I converted to a feeder. Syringes don't work for me well for feeding. You will have to keep the little one warm, so get a thermal bag. Also don't lose heart if something unfortunate happens because we just cannot replicate the mother. But do your best and the pay-offs are great. Call Subashini at 044-65274646 or my number at 9940168356 for more information. I will only be glad to help. All the best and keep it in a warm box away from any predators.