Nov 192014
 

I was happy to see your Nov. 13 column on Gray Squirrels. Having on two occasions been in close contact and cared for squirrels, I can say that they are a very interesting and smart animal. Each one has its own personality. In the 90’s, while living in Scarborough, we had an adult female, Blackie, who would visit us outside for about four years to get peanuts. She’d show up as soon as our car pulled into our driveway and even climb up and sit on our laps. This June, I raised two orphaned baby males between two and four months old. We slowly released them in July, so they could learn to forage and set up dreys before winter, only to have a neighbour a few weeks later capture them (and many other squirrels) to release outside the city.

I’ve seen squirrels enter their dreys from the top. My two males tried to fix an abandoned drey in a cedar tree, only to have a dominant male attack and chase them out. They finally built their own drey somewhere else. In hot weather they’re active in the morning and late afternoon, rest during the day, and in their dreys before dark. Mine would sometimes stretch out on our deck and lay together in the sun. When I had them still in the dog crate, they would rest during the afternoon, curled together under a towel until their next feeding. After I released mine they would show up every morning and evening for food, and we have lots of video of them playing like two kittens and grooming each other.
Squirrels also eat rose hips which are rich in vitamin C.In the wild, they live only about one year (predators, weather, roads) but in captivity up to fifteen years. I’ve sent some pictures of the squirrels we’ve been lucky enough to spend time with.  Darlene McLaren

Feeding one of our orphaned Gray Squirrels - Darlene McLaren

Feeding one of our orphaned Gray Squirrels – Darlene McLaren

Blackie - Circa 1994 - Darlene McLaren

Blackie – Circa 1994 – Darlene McLaren

Our two orphaned male squirrels - Darlene McLaren

Our two orphaned male squirrels – Darlene McLaren

 

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