A little handful of cuteness and joy from a wild thing, who fell out of a tree during the SC flood.
Arthur's story got shared on ABC news this morning. (I may have gotten a little over-excited about his cuteness and posted half a dozen photos on instagram. Somehow they found me over there). From there it got passed all around the internet to a degree I did not know was possible. Then it ended up overseas at the UK daily mail.
We've seen much loss from this sudden storm. I am so blown away at seeing this community come together and lend hands. There are remarkable people here. I think this little guy gave a few people a little smile in the midst of sad news.
So some fun things about Arthur:
1. He's named after Disney's The Sword and the Stone where Merlin changes Arthur into a squirrel. I thought it was fitting since he fell out of a tree. "Whoa, Wait, Whoa!"
2. The flood hit us in a surreal way. I have always ignored the flash flood warnings on my phone, but then the rain turned into craziness and kept seeing things on the news. It really hit home to see buildings I grew up around covered in water over the windows. The networking was unbelievable as literally everyone stopped what they were doing to check on their loved ones and to make sure they were in a safe place. We lost water/ power and had a little leak but nothing as devastating as some of our friends.
3. Sunday morning it had lessened to a drizzle and I went to go look at a flooded creek with my umbrella. I saw Arthur on the ground in standing water not moving. I couldn't spot the mother or litter mates and fallen branches where everywhere so he'd clearly was knocked from the tree. He's got one hurt paw where his nail was broken.
4. I dont think he'd been in the rain for very long or else he'd have drowned already. I used body heat + a sock filled with rice to keep him warm. I tried to get him some water but had no supplies, syringe or anything and they'd just issued the statewide curfew.
5. I woke up at 6am to go nearby and get a baby syringe. They didn't have special tiny nipples so I just used the kind for human babies, not ideal but, you do what you've got to do. I gave him Pedialyte at first to re-hydrate him Then started some puppy milk replacer called Esbilac. There are many places online warning of using Esbilac. It used to be a well known replacement for squirrels that rehabilitation used, however they changed the contents and it's no longer the best option. At the time it was my only option and it worked to get some nutrients in his tummy. I then ordered squirrel milk replacer online when the power was back.
6. Feeding wildlife or baby animals in general is not like plopping your cat's can in a bowl. You have to pay attention. Do homework, measure carefully and time carefully. Baby squirrels can die from the wrong formula, drinking to fast, or not pooing. It's a constant job as he required feedings every four hours and body heat.
7. Don't go try to find a squirrel or keep one as a pet. They are not pets, they are wild animals. I have had some experience with rescuing squirrels and exotic animals and our sc wildlife rehabilitation was under water- to a point where they were looking to evacuate and house their animals.
8. Arthur will be transitioned back to his natural habitat once he is weaned. I'm keeping him away from people and pets in hopes that he will retain a healthy fear of them. If you're interested in this process you can read about it here.
9. Yes, some people do keep squirrels as pets and it's not illegal in SC. However squirrels usually bond with ONE person, and that one person is subject to biting or scratching at any general randomness. They need free roaming hours and cannot be permanently cooped up. They are going to jump on anyone they please, your friends or a small child. Usually at two or three they "wild up" even more and the male squirrels will have extreme mood swings due to mating season. They're temperaments are not always logical.