I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
The Texas Wildlife Rehab Center came to the rescue of the baby squirrels in the photo above. Here is the story of how and why it happened.
We have a large live oak tree that has been growing as if it is on steroids. Although we had it trimmed last year, we employed a tree trimming service to give it a severe "haircut" this year. It resulted in making an unexpected visit to our local wildlife rehabilitation rescue place in Houston.
By accident, some innocent baby squirrels and their nest suddenly dropped to the ground. The three little darling creatures were so young that their eyes were not yet open. Fortunately, they seemed not to have suffered any injuries. Losing their haven amidst the tree branches and separated from their mother had to be the biggest shock of their young lives.
Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition
When our tree trimmers showed us the three baby squirrels on the ground, the first thing that my husband did was to look up the information online about the Texas Wildlife Rehab Center folks. They had helped us in the past. They are open seven days a week from 10 AM to 2 PM.
TWRC has caring individuals on staff who know how to handle emergencies. They also help injured wildlife, or those in need of care, such as our baby squirrels.
Unfortunately, it was past 2 PM when this accident happened. But fortunately, information is right there online coaching individuals as to what to do until (and if) the animals need to be brought in to the shelter.
Information online advised putting these babies into a box with some soft bedding keeping them away from any ants. Using an old and soft sheet, we made a little bed in a box and put the three little guys in it. They immediately curled up and snuggled close to one another.
The posted information also said to leave the box outside in case the mother squirrel would come back and relocate her young ones. We did this with some trepidation hoping that other wild critters or roaming cats would not find these little defenseless guys.
Checking on them several times late at night and early in the morning, we found them each time to have pulled the sheet over themselves and huddling together they appeared to be sleeping most of the time.
I am sure that without making any noises, the squirrel's mother nor other creatures were able to find them. Thus we decided that we needed to get them to the shelter soon after the shelter opened to get them some much-needed help.
The staff and many volunteers at TWRC keep the doors open for those seeking to find help for wildlife of all kinds.
We were still filling out some paperwork when another gentleman brought in some baby possums. A dog had killed the mother opossum, and these babies would have died if he had not intervened. Before we left, another group brought in a sizeable big-beaked bird that had a broken leg.
Some animals, if they cannot be helped, are humanely euthanized. At least they do not suffer long and needlessly. But a good number are cared for in the best way possible until they can once again be released back into the wild, which, of course, is the ultimate goal of this organization and others doing the same kind of work.
The reasons that the animals in one particular room of the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center cannot be released back into the wild vary with each one.
In the case of Frodo the possum, he had toes missing that would prevent him from being able to climb as is their norm, and therefore he would be in danger. Frodo graces the TWRC with his presence and has quite a sizable cage in which to live and entertain visitors with his friendly antics.
According to some staff, he loves his yogurt, which is supplied to him along with other food daily. The yogurt gives him some of the needed calcium that he needs. Some dry pellet cat food along with some vegetables, fruit, and other nutrients and limited amounts of meat make up Frodo's diet.
The gentleman that had brought in the baby possums asked if they would like some of his figs off of his tree when they become ripe, and the answer was a happy affirmative. Donations of all types are gratefully accepted, and the website supplies a wish list if people can help donate things to help the wildlife.
Bob and Lucy are two non-releasable squirrels that are among the first to greet visitors to the shelter. They are in a large cage outfitted with all kinds of branches and other stimuli to keep them seemingly happily engaged.
Bob and Lucy are Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus Carolinensis), according to the posted sign on the cage. They are used for educational purposes.
The baby squirrels that we brought in to the shelter were fox squirrels.
The Squirrel Lady
Years ago, we had brought an injured baby squirrel into their old shelter location. One signs a document as to whether one wishes to learn the outcome of the animals one surrenders to the TWRC. We usually say, "yes."
We were contacted by a lady who titled herself "the squirrel lady" as she fostered and took care of these orphans or injured babies until they could assume their place back in the wild. After talking to her on the telephone and learning that our injured one was recovering nicely, she invited my mother and me to come to her home and visit our little recovering waif.
That was amazing! This lady dedicated herself to the saving of squirrels of all kinds. She had incubators and cages of all dimensions in her living room, dining room, kitchen, and covered patio. One pen even had a baby flying squirrel in it!
We learned that baby squirrels have to be fed every three hours. That is real dedication on the part of these rehab people!
The older ones closer to being released were in the large cages on her patio, where the wild squirrels in the yard could interact with the caged ones before release. Most, when deemed ready, were taken to a secret spot way out in the countryside and released to live out a grand squirrel's life hopefully.
We also learned from her that it was her own money that she spent purchasing all of the groceries from the produce department each week to feed all of her temporary wards. When visiting her, my mother and I took several sackfuls of what she said that she ordinarily purchased. I remember that it was nuts of various types for the older squirrels as well as things like leaf lettuce, etc. I no longer remember the other particulars.
I asked at the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation shelter, whether "the squirrel lady" still took in animals, and the reply was, "Which one?" I had not kept her name from the past. These folks that dedicate their lives to helping animals in need tend to specialize.
The call would be put out to these people to see who had room for more baby squirrels, baby possums, and who knows how many other babies brought to the shelter that day.
Visiting the Rehab Center
Wildlife of all sizes and shapes enter the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Some remain there as ambassadors and for educational purposes like Frodo, Bob, and Lucy.
You can view some colorful snakes that had lost their fear of humans and could no longer live in the wild for that reason. See a live Chilean rose-haired tarantula and other creatures.
If you live in other areas of the country, check your local listings for wildlife rehabilitation centers to find helpful and caring folks where you live if you ever need help with injured or orphaned animal care.
Support your local wildlife rehabilitation centers. You never know when you may need their services!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2020 Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2020:
I would be amazed if you do not have a similar organization like this one in your area. Many people care about wildlife and would wish to help injured or orphaned ones.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 31, 2020:
How amazing. I don't even know if we have anything like this here in the central valley of California. We have lots of wildlife around here. I remember seeing lots of coyotes in the hills.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2020:
Yes, the Texas Wildlife Rehab Center does a fantastic job in helping to save many animals.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 14, 2020:
Great work the Texas Wildlife Rehab Center is doing. Thanks for sharing this story and lovely pictures.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2020:
Had that nest not been accidentally removed from the tree due to tree trimming, I probably would never have seen baby squirrels either. By the time they would usually leave a nest, they would be larger and more active. These little cuties did not yet have their eyes open.
Adrienne Farricelli on July 13, 2020:
I have never seen pictures of baby squirrels before, so it was nice to see them featured in this article on baby red squirrels saved by the Texas rehab center. So cute!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 05, 2020:
Hi C E Clark,
These baby squirrels probably had a good life after the treatment they received at the Texas Wildlife Rehab Center. You are obviously kind-hearted when it comes to wild animals.
C E Clark from North Texas on June 05, 2020:
I love the squirrels here. When I lived where I could, I fed the squirrels right along with the birds and possums and raccoons, etc. They're all so entertaining and fun to watch. So glad you were able to save these little ones. Baby squirrels go through a time when they're fresh out of the nest and they are too trusting.
Posting this wonderful story to AH & FB.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2020:
I am so happy that you noticed that swan that was in trouble. Thankfully it was rescued due to your calling your local Wildlife Sanctuary. The people working in these sanctuaries are to be lauded for their efforts in saving wildlife.
Ann Carr from SW England on May 08, 2020:
What a wonderful place this is! As in Britain, these sanctuaries are so important for all the wildlife that find themselves in difficulty. We have a local one which saves badgers, owls and various other creatures - anything, really, that needs help. One winter, we saw a swan that seemed to be distressed, out on the water in the marina we lived nearby at the time. It was cold. We hadn't realised that the waters had iced over (very unusual for that to happen here) and the swan was completely trapped. We phoned the Wildlife Sanctuary, they came straight over, and the creature was rescued, checked over and went happily on its way, probably back to the lowland fields all around here where they roost in large numbers.
Thanks for sharing this interesting place and all those sympathetic and dedicated people who work there.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 25, 2020:
Oh I admire this rescue center so much. I love all animals. I remember my son went hunting with his father and shot a beautiful red fox. It made me furious. I guess seeing Bamby when I was a child instilled a love that stayed with me. I love that you cared for the three baby squirrels that fell when you cut down the tree. You are special.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 25, 2020:
This is a wonderful story. I am glad you saved the three little squirrels. I have compassion for wildlife also. I am glad that so m
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 25, 2020:
Well that's a feel good story we can all rally around. Thanks for sharing this one. You made me smile.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2020:
If it were not for many dedicated volunteers, organizations like this would not exist.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 24, 2020:
This made my day. It’s good to know that such dedicated and wonderful people are everywhere caring for animals and giving so much of themselves.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2020:
It is wonderful that some people dedicate their lives to helping wildlife in need of assistance.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2020:
We have needed to use the Texas Wildlife Rehab Center several times. It is good to know that the people there know what to do to help wildlife who need their help.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 24, 2020:
That's a wonderful story. I really admire these people that help animals.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 24, 2020:
This is a fascinating account of your experience with some lovely photos. It's good to know that there was help available when you needed it.