Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Somehow, without me realizing it was happening, Lottie grew into an adolescent squirrel.
The teen girls had gone away over the weekend, and at that point, Lottie quit drinking her milk almost completely. I was worried that she was on a hunger strike due to the absence of her beloved Becky. But Becky came back and still, hardly any milk down the pie hole for Miss Squirrel.
Suddenly it occurred to me to check the calendar. Lottie is almost 10 weeks old! At 9 weeks they wean and start their move out of mom's nest.
I can tell the difference in her age when I take her to the woods. She's anxious to get up the trees and explore the world above our heads. And she's not anxious to come back when it suits me.
We were reading about the grey squirrel last night and found a statistic that the first photo would prove: squirrels waste 15 more times than they eat!
Lottie loves pens, pencils, and highlighters. I contribute this to the Charlotte Mason method of squirrel schooling which encourages the love of learning. I hope she keeps up with her continuing education after she moves into her own nest.
Look how little she seems playing hide 'n seek in Becky's bed.
I had meant to blog consistently during her time with us so other people could use the knowledge we gained, but really, the care and feeding of a baby squirrel is easier than we expected. I'm a little shocked at how much like a human a squirrel is. Lottie, we found out, can see quite well, and in color. She recognizes all the people she lives with, and is shy of strangers. She's clever, and can learn helpful habits. It's possible, if she's very fortunate, and only the FSD hunts the property, that she may live up to 16 years!
These will probably be the last indoor pictures of her.
I've placed her cage down in the tree house near the barn. There she'll live, locked in, for a couple days before the door opens and she has free range of the dark and dangerous forest.
I'm contemplating moving her from there to the oak on the trail, a little farther away from the house, to keep her safer from the cats, and to give her a thicker wood with plentiful acorns in which to build. Big Dan will supply her with a squirrel mansion, built to specs of course, but I think she'll end up making her own winter drey.
I'm hopeful that she'll keep up her friendship with us. I think with enough Jolly Ranchers and fruit preserves, it's a possibility.