Lil'Mo has grown up into quite a lovely & smart little squirrel. She is lovely with a bushy tail and a very unique red coloring, so she is very easy to spot. A few weeks ago I started the release process and now she lives in the WTS woods, and stops by for breakfast & from time-to-time just to play. As a singleton and being born so late in the early season (squirrels will usually have more babies in August), I'm happy to play with her a bit and know that this will not affect her success in the wild. It's important for her emotional well being and for learning motor skills.
I am also happy to provide her with breakfast as at this time of year young squirrels depend on their mother for her cached nuts (the spring buds have passed and the nuts are not out yet). She gets a breakfast platter of a bowl of formula (she doesn't need to nurse anymore as she can lap it up relatively well), and a selection of nutes & grapes. But NO PEANUTS & SUNFLOWER seeds. These rob the body of calcium and in young squirrels can lead to metabolic bone disease. Sadly, as people see wild squirrels eat these foods at birdfeeders, they will feed young squirrels the same. Wild adult squirrels will naturally balance their diet with wild foods, but the young won't especially if they are in captivity and can only eat what they are offered. Last week a rehab friend got a young squirrel whose legs were literally curving as the bones bent under the body's weight. Hoepfully afer a few weeks on a calcium rich diet and in the proper cage set-up, this squirrel will heal, but only time will tell.
In this picture Lil'Mo is eating a walnut.
But she also quite likes to hunt the moths on my window screens! I have never seen any other squirrels doing this, but I assume it is a great source of nutrients. She has also started to bury her own nuts and I am so proud of her! I wonder if this is instinct, or if she learned it from the wild squirrels. The first time I gave her a brazil nut, she took it, hopped away, buried it, and placed a leaf on top, patting it down so that the nut was nice and safe. Adorable!
Speaking of moths, look at this beauty who appeared in my house the other morning. Anyone know what type it is??