Sunday, August 29, 2010

Something Fun!

I was at a potluck supper this eve and there was someone present who's been following the Baby Squirrel Oscar story. K. has been a staunch reader of the blog and this evening, he presented me with an amazing model of a squirrel that he made that, someday, Oscar will resemble exactly.


Thank-you, K, for being so thoughtful.

I think what I'm going to do is to visit Oscar once a week or so and do an update for all his fans and friends.

Several people wrote letters of consolation when they heard that Oscar was moving to a new home and I am grateful that he touched so many.

Check back often or if you're a follower, you'll get the goods as soon as I post.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oscar Moves On

Off to live with other squirrels and enjoy the rest of his life.
Sure am gonna miss him.
Bye little buddy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oscar is Moving to a New Home

Today it was determined that Oscar needs specialized attention and certainly, the company of other squirrels so he'll be relocating tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today, his teeth were checked and he was weighed so that there's a baseline. Improvement since last week is noticeable in his coat and general demeanor. He is more alert and capable of rudimentary climbing and his tail arches in a squirrel-like way.

When compared to other squirrels, Oscar is several weeks behind. He is seven weeks old but looks and responds like a four to five week old.

With proper nourishment and stimulation, and being with other squirrels, he'll come along much quicker than if he stays on my kitchen table.

It's not going to be easy to give him up but it is all about him, after all,  his well-being and not what his human counterparts want or need.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oscar's Balance Improves

With the infant stimulation program in full-swing, Oscar is coming along by leaps and bounds. He is more active, what with more food and better lighting conditions so that he knows when it is day. Squirrels are not nocturnal so they sleep at night and forage during the day.

When placed on the upper level of his two-story cage, initially, he did not use the branch to return to the first level. Mainly he sort of dropped to the floor.

However, a couple times after being placed on the upper floor, he realized that the branch was a big help returning to his sleeping area. He nibbled the branch a bit and certainly seemed to appreciate the smell of it.

Several times a day, I am waking him and letting him navigate a large tray in which are interesting objects. His muscles are becoming stronger and he is more certain when he crawls.

I really wish I could get a buddy for him because I think he would learn quickly through imitation.


Development Delayed

I am going to recap the post that was lost the other evening.

It appears that Baby Squirrel Oscar is developmentally delayed. His peers who are a week or so younger are already sitting up, holding food and their tails are arching over their backs. Oscar can barely crawl and he eats and sleeps most of his life away.

Squirrel expert, Donna, says that he will clearly not be able to be released this year which means that he'll need care throughout the winter. He'll still need to develop some big squirrel skills and to this end, we're begun on an infant-squirrel-stimulation-program.

In addition to carrying him in a pouch around my neck so that he gets motion and different sounds/smells, he is encouraged to use his limbs for balance and climbing.

Items in a plastic tray provide stimulation.

He is being handled more and exposed to different situations. A friend, ML, collected pine cones and these provide a semblance of the outdoors for him. Great texture for climbing, too.

We are going to see how well he comes along over the next two weeks.

Bit of an arch to his tail which is a good sign.

Oscar's New Stim-Abode

Word is that Oscar is not developing as he should so in order to make his neurons snap, crackle and pop, stimulation is in order. Carrying him around in a pouch is good for vestibular improvement as is letting him climb so that he stretches his muscles and gains confidence.

On the home-front, he has a new double-story cage that is tricked out for his baby sensibilities.

He has an appointment with a wildlife specialist on Tuesday and it would be good if he'd show some improvement over when he was seen last Thursday.

Quite the colourful home!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oscar's Neurons Need Stimulation

Just lost an entire post so am simply going to submit these photos and explain tomorrow.

Oscar wrapped in a KLeenex after being bathed.


Poking his head from the pouch.
He needs stimulation so I am carrying him around my neck in a pouch. This provides movement and also, aural stimulation as he can hear my heartbeat and voice. and olfactory because he is right up against my bare skin.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Oscar Branches out

Added a tree branch to Oscar's lair today. Gives him something to climb.

He is climbing the bars of his cage but this does nothing for his sharp nails. He's all set now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bananarama!

Today was the first time Oscar ate solid food. Well, OK, he had some mushed-up banana but this is different from anything else he's ever eaten. And subsequent to the banana, he ate some ripe avocado. What a good baby squirrel!

video

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Solid Food for Oscar

A bowl of fruit and thou, Oh happiness enow. 

Well, not exactly solid food. I am mashing a bit of banana with his formula getting him used to the taste and smell. I will do the same with the avocado and apple as we go along.

Once he starts eating bits of fruit, watch how his tail bushes-out and how quickly he grows.

In speaking with a squirrel-raising expert today,  I was asked if Oscar were becoming aggressive seeing as how he is the male of the species. I had to say no, that he's very sweet and although determined to slurp back food quickly and to not let the syringe slip from his mouth, he never becomes testy. Perhaps this is because he has pretty well only known the warmth of human hands since he was born.

In a surprising comment, my squirrel expert indicated that Oscar should have a buddy and she didn't mean a stuffed toy. She suggested that he needs to accept other squirrels now and said she'd look around for a similarly-aged one that might move here with Oscar and me.

This would be fine but I also said that if the person raising the other squirrel is adamant about keeping it, then Oscar could move there.

This is all about the animals and their adaptation so we shall see what comes of this.

Oscar's Day in the Gatineau

Oscar had a fine day today, driving through the countryside with the top of the MG down, him snug as a bug in a rug in his picnic basket.

Two youngsters met him today and were enthralled with his story: how the cat brought him home and how he started out looking like the end of their thumb but now, six weeks later, is a miniature squirrel. They loved watching him eat.

The other thing that amazed the children was Oscar's feet. What amazing claws he has developed! No wonder squirrels can climb so well.
Long claws on hairy feet and the beginning of a bushy tail.

Interesting pads on the bottom of his hind paws.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oscar's Good Day

Oscar had lots of rest today since little work took place at the kitchen table so he had peace and quiet.

I was looking at some information on squirrel development and here's where they say for his age:


Baby Squirrel Development Six Weeks
At six weeks, the baby squirrel’s eyes have been open for a few days. His vision will improve dramatically during the sixth week of life, and as this occurs, the squirrel will begin exploring his environment. During the sixth week, teeth will emerge from the upper jaw, making him more apt to nibble on the solid foods that should have been introduced to the nest the previous week.

Food intake changes dramatically at week six. In his nest, provide a small bowl and offer fruits like avocado, banana, apple and melon, but avoid citrus fruits. Also offer high-quality puppy food like Science Diet or Royal Canine. Hand-feedings of formula must continue at a frequency of every four hours; the baby squirrel will eat up to 8 ccs or 9 ccs per meal, sometimes more depending on how much solid food he’s eating.
--------------------

Oscar is certainly consuming formula in prodigious amounts but he has not, as yet, been introduced to solid food or puppy kibble. Looks like I'll be casing the fruit stands tomorrow to get suitable nourishment for him.

Thankfully, I like all the things he's supposed to so we'll share.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Video of Oscar Eating Lunch

Oscar just under six weeks old.
Oscar is rather ungainly in photos as he is rarely still and the pictures tend to blur. Maybe I should try the sports setting.

I attempted to video him this afternoon by myself. Usually, someone helps because it takes two hands to feed him. However, I thought I would try to prop him up and feed him with my left  hand while taping with my right. This ended up with hilarious results so I switched hands..and then back again.


video

Not sure Oscar wants to be a movie star but video is certainly a great way to capture his spurts of growth.

The other day, he actually did something I wish I'd caught on tape. He climbed the bars of his cage! This was a total surprise to me as he is barely able to crawl yet he was adept at climbing the bars.

And yet another thing, from time to time, he emits a high-pitch whistle that I can hear out in the back yard. It's a wonder every mother squirrel within two blocks doesn't come running. I know that I dashed up the stairs to see what was going on.

Nothing was the matter. He was simply vocalizing, trying out his voice/lungs, like all babies do from time to time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oscar has a Friend

Poor little tyke. He's taken to calling loudly, a high shrill whistle, for, well for whomever or whatever, so I've put a small stuffed tiger in his cage with him. Also, a ball as like other young animals, squirrels no doubt like to play.
 

He was famished when I returned home post-feeding time and I'm preparing to feed him one last time before we both sack out for the night. I am trying not to feed  him in the middle of the night as I have been doing. I think we both need our rest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oscar's Eyes are Open

Over the past couple of days, from a sliver of shiny orb, Oscar's eyes have almost fully opened. I don't think he's actually focusing with them but he is aware of light and dark. I try to feed him so that he's not staring into the overhead kitchen light.

And of course, he's grown strong now that he is eating his fill at each meal and he crawls around his larger new hamster-cage-home. Even before his eyes opened, he would explore, navigating the circumference and sniffing interestedly.

I have set up a water bottle but so far, he is unaware of it.

So a milestone has been met. Baby squirrel Oscar can see!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Growing

Oscar's growing by leaps and bounds. No photo available this eve.

Goodness, look what happened? I am so tired, fell asleep with my fingers on the keybaord and this is the result:

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc/llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Almonte and Back

A couple new things today. One is Oscar is no longer contained in a one gallon aquarium. He is in a hamster cage which has had the wheel removed. I still keep this cage protected by the larger guinea pig cage. My cats are good but can I really trust them around prey?



The other thing that was different about our trip to Almonte today than the Gatineau yesterday is how Oscar was transported--in this wicker picnic basket. Very comfortable.

Say it Ain't So

Yikes! Oscar wants cotton diapers, never mind the poly-fake fur.

This baby squirrel thing is getting serious!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Sleeping Baby Face

 What a trusting little beast. He falls right asleep after eating without a care in the world.

Today, we were in the Gatineau Hills and tomorrow, we'll be in Almonte. Maybe we'll do some video so that you can see how he's growing.
  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Morning Feeding, Accomplished

And I was having such a great sleep!

I realize that initially, I was underfeeding Oscar. Now, he slurps back a full syringe and, sometimes, another half, and he has a warm water chaser, to boot. Look at how large he's grown. Almost fills my hand. And who knew that squirrels had such long whiskers?


This summer camp thing, I dunno. Sitting around the campfire, snuggled into a warm hand, he pretends to be asleep after breakfast, hoping that he won't be disturbed.


 The other thing I notice is how simian are his paws. If his thumbs were opposable (also spelled apposable), he would fall into the genus of mammals who can perform more human-like activities.

Here's what Wikipedia says about opposable thumbs:

Many animals also have some kind of opposable thumb or toe. An animal species is said to have opposable thumbs if the thumb is capable of bending in such a way that it can touch all the other digits on the hand. Most species do not have opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs are a signature feature of the primate family, and played a large role in the ancient humans' invention and use of tools.
---------------

Meanwhile, Oscar will eventually be able to climb trees with different sorts of bark and he'll be able to hang from branches and even leap from tree to tree, but he'll never do this "bent finer grip" cricketer Iverson's unusual pad-to-side precision grip designed to confuse batsmen. Of course, I doubt I could do that grip, either.








Sunday, August 8, 2010

He's Baaack!

And what changes! It's as if he went away to summer camp as a scrawny kid who gets sand kicked in his face and then returns home, a graduate of the Charles Atlas School of Body Building. He's huge!

And he has longer whiskers and more fur, especially on his head and tail. Quite remarkable the growth over two days.

Looks like his ribs are showing but he really is a fat little fellow.
His ears appear to be fully developed.
Returned from Camp ML quite spoiled. Likes to be cuddled.
His eyes are still shut. Perhaps this week, they will open.

Oscar's Due Back at Noon

Everyone loves Oscar and he's difficult to pry out of the hands of babysitters, aunts, fans, friends, etc.

I am excited to see what has changed with him over the past two days I have not seen him. I find that every day, there's something bigger, and some would say, better, about him.

No longer an embryonic being; he's becoming a furry mammal with a funny little personality.

One thing I said to May-Lo when I dropped him off on Friday was that perhaps he would open his eyes this weekend and like the father at work who misses his baby's first steps or syllables, I'd miss this momentous moment.

We'll see when he arrives home.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oscar is Being Babysat in Manotick

He is being babysat by his Aunty May-Lo for the weekend.

I expect that they are having a grand time together.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Growth Spurts for Baby Squirrel, Oscar

Now that I'm pouring the enriched food to him, he is growing fatter and much stronger. There is something about a fat baby that everyone loves. As for strength, he is quite the squirmer now and I keep him wrapped in one of his blue blankets and hold him close to the table when feeding so that he, heaven forbid, hasn't far to fall.


It's interesting how the photos show his development when I really don't notice it in real time. But certainly, he is no longer pink and scrawny. He's actually got black fur on his head and more appears on his body daily. His eyes, however, remain closed.

He does appear to be more and more rodent than alien or homunculus.

After his pre-midnight feeding, I put him back in his aquarium, still on the heating pad which keeps him toasty warm, and he did what other babies when they have a full belly and are sleepy, he folded his paws under his chin and dozed off.



Encounters with Wildlife / CBC Today

On their noon program, there's going to be a phone-in about encounters with wildlife. I wonder how Oscar's story would fit in.

Not exactly an encounter of a third kind although for the first month, he suspiciously looked like an alien.

If I'm around and can get through, I'll give them a call. If asked why the name Oscar, I might have to say that I named him for the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

I'd been reading a story in early July about this quirky vehicle and the name stuck in my head. When Oscar arrived on my doorstep, seemed fitting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Feed Me, I'm Yours

Here's Oscar enjoying breakfast. I use a Q-Tip to clean him up before and after, simulating a mother squirrel's attention. He seems to like this but he does not like having his tummy stroked afterwards, something that is done to get his bowels moving. 

At some point very soon, his eyes should open and I am looking forward to seeing what difference this makes in his five-week life.
video

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Galloping about the Kitchen Table

Figuring out the video thing. Oscar sure is a little super-star, isn't he? I think he should have his own reality TV show! The script could go like this: 

Infant squirrel plummets from cosy nest, leaving behind five siblings. Mother is frantic when she sees that her firstborn has been toted off in the mouth of a mountain lion, read, black and white house cat, a male with distinct maternal tendencies. Poor squealing baby squirrel gets rescued by starving garret artist who enlists  help of all and sundry.

OK, someone else had better take over the writing of the script before it becomes too outlandish.
video

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some Interesting Info. on Squirrels

Annie, a friend in Kingston sends some information that she says is for red squirrels but, "I'll bet it's similar for black squirrels."

"Offspring grow at approximately 1.8 g/day while nursing but do not reach adult body size until 125 days of age. Offspring first emerge from their natal nest at around 42 days of age but continue to nurse until approximately 70 days."

My goodness, at this rate, Oscar will be here for Christmas!!!

Sleeping like a Baby

Funny little beast. The change I most notice today, in addition to his weight-gain, is how his tail is actually furry. It no longer looks like a rat tail but actually has heft.

And Oscar's head is quite like a miniature squirrel now. It's just the rest of his naked body that's holding back from his metamorphosis.

As I feed him enriched formula, more of it and more often, he develops quickly.

More Laundry

Did you ever notice that as the baby whatever grows older, the amount of laundry grows exponentially?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Milk Moustache

Oscar's not what we call a neat eater. While feeding him this morn, I was reminded of the brilliant advertising campaign for milk, Got Milk, which incorporates the ubiquitous milk moustache.

I think more people would benefit from milk if they saw how much this baby squirrel enjoys it. 

Here's Oscar's rendition of the milk moustache.


I am feeding him more formula at one sitting than before and during the day, giving him water. The addition of cream to his meals is putting weight on him which is good as his growth spurts are daily so he needs the calories.