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Thread: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

  1. #1
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Unhappy sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Sadly and tragically, my 4month old squirrel ( Buddy) died suddenly yesterday (at 1pm) All morning, he was active and playful, eating almonds, butternut squash seeds, romaine lettuce --normal & healthy.

    Background:
    He came to me at 6week old during a bad storm, he & his siblings (who all died then) fell out of their nest to the ground. He was soaking wet and cold, but otherwise no apparent injuries.
    I nursed him and rehabbed him. He had been very active and healthy these last 2.5months until yesterday.

    Death:
    I found him on the floor with a small amount of blood and saliva coming from his mouth... he had been eating romain lettuce on the table above him right before (almost as if he just dropped dead to the floor).

    NO warning signs of illness.
    NO behavioral/mental change showing signs of poison ingestion.
    NO signs of injury.
    NO external damage.


    I am left tremendously heartbroken and confused how this happened.

    Can someone help suggest possible causes of this mystery death.

    The knowledge of "What" potentially caused this will provide some closure, anxiety reduction, and prevention for any repeats in the future.

    Thank you for your time and consideration... I love and miss my little Buddy.

    Rachel

  2. #2
    SammysMom's Avatar
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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Rachel I am so sorry for your terrible loss I am not an expert, but possibly something like an aneurism? Godspeed little Buddy...
    Squirrels, squirrels and more squirrels....
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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Most likely diet related, sounds like your little one may have had a seizure.

    A squirrels nutrition is the most important thing we as caretakers have to concentrate on. They may be eating whatever your feeding them well but if it's not balanced to provide their nutritional needs they can suddenly and without warning crash.

    If you can tell us what all you were feeding him from the start, formula to solids, maybe it'll help us to guide you in the right direction if you should have another rescue.

    Sorry about your loss...

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Stepnstone is correct, Quite often it is diet or lack there of. If you document the diet you gave buddy ie formula given as a baby etc, it will at least give us a chance to rule diet out.

    I am so sorry you lost your Buddy.

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    My biggest fear RIP Buddy...

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  10. #6
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    I fed him organic rice milk mixed with 1/2 dose kitten formula 4-6 times a day until he was ready for solid food. (1 dropper at each feeding)
    which lasted about 3 weeks


    Solid diet:
    first 4 weeks:

    continued rice milk from a bottle 2 times a day and:

    cooked corn nibblets (cooled), 1/2 strawberry, romaine lettuce (2-3 leaves),

    black sunflower seeds -free choice- (in the first few weeks of using his teeth, he preferred these)

    Pistachios (plain roasted, not red) (15 nuts/day average)

    weeks 5- now:

    Romaine lettuce (2-3 leaves a day)

    these nuts were free choice (in shell) for him to eat or hide every day:
    almonds, pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, butternut squash seeds [recently he had been eating a lot of almonds and squash seeds]

    zucchini, strawberry, pear (1/8 -1/4 of the whole fruit /per day) [depending on his appetite]

    whole grain cracker (occasionally)

    Water -free choice- daily


    thank you for your help.
    Sadly, It is still hard walking around my house and not having him here...still grieving and crying when seeing all the things that remind me of him.

    Rachel

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    No expert here, but do u think he could have choked on the lettuce somehow? It could be diet related but it seems like maybe there would have been some other signs before then? idk... so sorry for your loss.
    S4D


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  13. #8
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Unhappy Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    I performed a modified "infant CPR"
    When blew air into his lungs and belly, a gurgled sound and more blood/saliva mix came out of his nose & mouth. i could not revive him.

    and (post mortem) i checked his throat for obstruction...a very small piece of lettuce was still in the back of his mouth.

    (I realize i should have checked to clear his mouth first BEFORE CPR, but i was panicked when i found him and couldnt think straight--it all happened so fast.)



    Rachel

  14. #9
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??



    Buddy RIP

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Aw, what a precious baby.

    I want very much to lie to you because your grief is quite clear. But I think you really want to know, and I also know that once you raise one of these little gems, you will want to do it again, and I don't want to see anyone go through the hurt twice.

    Squirrels have very exacting nutritional needs. They require quite a bit of calcium in their diet - their skeletons need it to provide for the flexibility and gymnastics that are part of their life.

    There are a few things that will block calcium uptake, and one of the big ones is phosphorus. Now phosphorus is necessary in the diet, but what you are looking for is a balance of about 2 parts of calcium for every one part of phosphorus. This all means that no only do you have to make sure they get their calcium, you also have to make sure they don't get foods that are super high in phosphorus, or it will cancel out the calcium. And guess what - of course the highest phosphorus levels are found in the things they love the most.

    Corn, sunflower seeds and cashews are all EXTREMELY high in phosphorus. Corn has one part calcium and 45 parts phosphorus. Sunflower seeds have one part calcium to 9 parts phosphorus. Cashews are 1 to 12. Pumpkin seeds are 1 to a whopping 27. Seeds, grains, and nuts usually have the highest levels of phosphorus.

    We solve this diet dilemma by feeding either a specially made squirrel food that one of our members manufactures, or by feeding "rat block" which is an extruded diet made for rats, which are fairly close to squirrels in their dietary needs. These foods have the proper balance, and are combined with healthy veggies and occasional fruits to make up the total diet. Nuts are fed in very small quantity as treats only. Even among nuts there is a huge disparity - almonds are not all that bad, being 1 to 2 calcium to phosphorus. Hazelnuts are about the same. But pine nuts - they are 1 to 36. So even with treats we pick and chose.

    This info is not that well known. They make commercial squirrel foods from corn and sunflower seeds! Most vets don't know, no pet store employees know - you need to really mine for this info if you are not lucky enough to have found a board like this early on.

    In the absence of enough calcium, or the presence of too much phosphorus, the squirrel will begin to pull calcium from it's own bones to satisfy the need. It causes the bones to become very brittle. Once that has happened, you will finally begin to see symptoms - trouble walking sometimes, and very often, seizures. Because they hide their sickness so carefully, most people do not see problems until the situation is very advanced. His age is just when it hits, too - the baby formula has plenty of calcium but once they wean from it, the danger time begins.

    BTW, kitten formula is not a good milk sub for them - and I am sure you were told to use it - VETS will tell you this for God's sake. It has too much protein and not enough fat. If this ever happens to you again, first, run to a health food store and get fresh goats milk and some vanilla yogurt, for a good temporary formula can be made from those items. Then come here, and we will hook you up with a place to get a formula specifically designed for baby squirrels, and we will help you every step of the way so you never have to go through this again.

    I am so sorry about Buddy. My Mister P is literally the most important being in my life, and even thinking about losing him makes it hard for me to breathe, so I can imagine how you feel. I am so, so, sorry.
    Last edited by Nancy in New York; 11-23-2012 at 03:38 PM.

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    I am so sorry for your loss. These wonderful babies come into our lives and steal our hearts. Please do not think that any of us are being critical of you. You loved your baby and did what you thought was the very best for him. It does seem that his diet was insufficient for a baby squirrel's diet and nutritional needs. Their diets are so specific as other members have described to you.
    When one squirrel comes into your life, others will follow. That is just how it is. Please stick around and read all you can about squirrel diet and nutrition. Another little one will find its way to you again.

    Rest peacefully little Squirrel

    Marty

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  19. #12
    SammysMom's Avatar
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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    This is so well said as well as well meaning. TSB is full of those of us who almost had this happen. My Sammy would never have made it without TSB. You tried your best and nobody here means anything except help and caring.

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom
    Aw, what a precious baby.

    I want very much to lie to you because your grief is quite clear. But I think you really want to know, and I also know that once you raise one of these little gems, you will want to do it again, and I don't want to see anyone go through the hurt twice.

    Squirrels have very exacting nutritional needs. They require quite a bit of calcium in their diet - their skeletons need it to provide for the flexibility and gymnastics that are part of their life.

    There are a few things that will block calcium uptake, and one of the big ones is phosphorus. Now phosphorus is necessary in the diet, but what you are looking for is a balance of about 2 parts of calcium for every one part of phosphorus. This all means that no only do you have to make sure they get their calcium, you also have to make sure they don't get foods that are super high in phosphorus, or it will cancel out the calcium. And guess what - of course the highest phosphorus levels are found in the things they love the most.

    Corn, sunflower seeds and cashews are all EXTREMELY high in phosphorus. Corn has one part calcium and 45 parts phosphorus. Sunflower seeds have one part calcium to 9 parts phosphorus. Cashews are 1 to 12. Pumpkin seeds are 1 to a whopping 27. Seeds, grains, and nuts usually have the highest levels of phosphorus.

    We solve this diet dilemma by feeding either a specially made squirrel food that one of our members manufactures, or by feeding "rat block" which is an extruded diet made for rats, which are fairly close to squirrels in their dietary needs. These foods have the proper balance, and are combined with healthy veggies and occasional fruits to make up the total diet. Nuts are fed in very small quantity as treats only. Even among nuts there is a huge disparity - almonds are not all that bad, being 1 to 2 calcium to phosphorus. Hazelnuts are about the same. But pine nuts - they are 1 to 36. So even with treats we pick and chose.

    This info is not that well known. They make commercial squirrel foods from corn and sunflower seeds! Most vets don't know, no pet store employees know - you need to really mine for this info if you are not lucky enough to have found a board like this early on.

    In the absence of enough calcium, or the presence of too much phosphorus, the squirrel will begin to pull calcium from it's own bones to satisfy the need. It causes the bones to become very brittle. Once that has happened, you will finally begin to see symptoms - trouble walking sometimes, and very often, seizures. Because they hide their sickness so carefully, most people do not see problems until the situation is very advanced. His age is just when it hits, too - the baby formula has plenty of calcium but once they wean from it, the danger time begins.

    BTW, kitten formula is not a good milk sub for them - and I am sure you were told to use it - VETS will tell you this for God's sake. It has too much protein and not enough fat. If this ever happens to you again, first, run to a health food store and get fresh goats milk and some vanilla yogurt, for a good temporary formula can be made from those items. Then come here, and we will hook you up with a place to get a formula specifically designed for baby squirrels, and we will help you every step of the way so you never have to go through this again.

    I am so sorry about Buddy. My Mister P is literally the most important being in my life, and even thinking about losing him makes it hard for me to breathe, so I can imagine how you feel. I am so, so, sorry.
    Last edited by Nancy in New York; 11-23-2012 at 03:39 PM.
    Squirrels, squirrels and more squirrels....
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    savesquirrels@sbcglobal.net



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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Critter Mom is absolutely correct and explained it so well. My guess is that Buddy suffered from a critical imbalance of phosphorous - calcium which caused either a seizure or collapse and then a fall, which killed him. I am so sorry for your loss, ValentineSquirrel. Nutrition is SO critical with these animals.....more so even than reptiles, although similar to them with the extreme emphasis on calcium levels.
    Island Rehabber
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    You can't afford a pet.
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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Dear Rachel,

    Sorry about Buddy. He was a really cute baby squirrel.

    I know you will always miss and love him. We all know what it is like to lose your beloved, we are here for you.

    I lost my first squirrel too, and now I have THREE! So true, once a squirrel comes into your life, others will follow.

    We are here if you need us to lean on.

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    This is a food chart--PRINT IT & Keep it Handy
    The first # is calcium

    The second # is Phosphorus


    Try to offer foods where the
    first # is equal to...or larger than the second #
    When offering foods with a higher second #-- only give occasionally. as a treat...that is OKThe more phosphorus in the food--the more it DEPLETES the calcium in their bodies.
    LOW Calcium is the cause of MBD ( Metabolic Bone Disease ) and leads to weakness in limb and grasp, seisure, stroke and DEATH...
    AIM for HIGH Calcium foods
    USE Squirrel Blocks ( Henry's Healthy Blocks )
    Use calcium supplements ( powder to add to foods )
    Offer Calcium chews ( avail. in PETCO etc.)



    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    Wherever possible, the following data was collected from the USDA. The data for items (such as acorns, raw sweet potato, raw pumpkin, etc.) not listed by the USDA are marked with an asterisk (*), and data was collected from Bitelog.com. All foods, unless otherwise indicated, are listed in their raw form, and all calculations are based on milligrams per one hundred grams. Prepared by Jack D. Gill.

    Fruits and Vegetables

    Food Cacium:Phosphorus ratio Mg/ per 100g

    Apple 1.0:1.8 Cranberries 1.0:1.6 Peas, Green 1:0:4.3
    Apricots 1.0:1.8 Cucumber 1.0:1.5 Peas, Snow/Sugar 1.0:1.2
    Aragula 3.1:1.0 Dandelion Grns 2.8:1.0 Pepper, Banana 1.0:2.3
    Artichoke 1.0:5.6 Eggplant 1.0:2.8 Pepper, Green Swt. 1:0:2.0
    Asparagus 1.0:2.2 Endive/Romaine 1.8:1.0 Pepper, Red Swt. 1.0:3.7
    Avocado 1.0:4.3 Grapefruit 1.5:1.0 Persimmon 1:0:2.1
    Banana 1.0:4.4 Grapes 1.0:2.0 Pineapple 1.6:1.0
    Beans, Green 1.0:1.0 Guava 1.0:2.2 Plums 1.0:2.7
    Beet Greens .9:1.0 Honeydew 1.0:1.8 Pomegranite 1.0:2.7
    Beets 1.0:2.5 Huckleberry No data Potato 1.0:4.8
    Blackberries 1.3:1.0 Kale* 2.4:1.0 Potato, Sweet* 1.0:1.6
    Blueberries 1.0:2.0 Kiwi 1.0:1.0 Pumpkin* 1.0:2.1
    Broccoli 1.0:1.4 Kohlrabi 1.0:1.9 Radishes 1.0:1.3
    Brussel Sprouts 1.0:1.6 Kumquat 3.3:1.0 Raspberries 1.0:1.2
    Cabbage, Green 40:26 1.0:1.5 Leeks 1.7:1.0 Rutabaga 1.0:1.2
    Cabbage, Chin. 2.8:1.0 Lettuce, Green Lf* 1.2:1.0 Spinach 2.0:1.0
    Cabbage, Red 1.5:1.0 Lettuce, Bibb 1.1:1.0 Squash, Summer (yellow, zucchini) 1.0:2.5
    Cantaloupe 1.0:1.7 Lettuce, Iceberg 1.0:1.1 Squash, Winter (pmpkin, acrn, buttrnut, Hubbard) 1.2:1.0
    Carrots 1.0:1.1 Lettuce, Romaine 1.8:1.0 Strawberries 1.0:1.5
    Cauliflower 1.0:2.0 Mushrooms 1.0:28.7 Tangerine 1.9:1.0
    Celery 1.7:1.0 Mustard Greens 2.4:1.0 Tomatoes 1.0:2.4
    Chard 1.1:1.0 Okra* 1.3:1.0 Tomatoes, Green 1.0:2.2
    Cilantro/Coriander 1.4:1.0 Onions, Green 1.9:1.0 Turnips 1.1:1.0
    Cherries, Red 1.1:1.0 Onions, Mature 1.0:1.3 Turnip Greens* Cherries, Bing 1.0:1.6 Orange 2.9:1.0 Watercress 2.0:1.0
    Collard Greens 14.5:1.0 Papaya 4.8:1.0 Watermelon 7:11 1.0:1.6
    Corn, Raw* 1:0:44.5 Parsley 2.4:1.0
    Corn, Dried Yellow* 1.0:13.8 Parsnips* 1.0:2.0
    Passion Fruit 1.0:5.7
    Peaches 1.0:3.3
    Pear 1.0:1.2



    Nuts and Seeds
    Food Ca:Phos Mg/100g Acorn, Raw* 1.0:1.9 Hazelnut 1.0:1.7 Pumpkin Seed (unr) 1.0:27
    Acorn, Dried* 1.0:1.9 Hickory Nut (no data) Pumpkin Seed, roast 1.0:27
    Almonds, unroast 1.0:1.8 Macademia 70:198 1.0:2.8 Sesame Seed, toastd 1.0:5.9
    Almonds, roasted 1.0:1.6 Peanuts, roasted 1.0:5.9 Sesame seed, whole 1.6:1.0
    Brazil Nut 1.0:4.5 Peanut Butter 1.0:8.3 Sunflower Seed (unr) 1.0:8.5
    Chestnut, roasted 1.0:5.9 Pecan 1.0:4.0 Sunflower Sd (roast) 1.0:13.1
    Cashews 1.0:12.3 Pine Nut 1.0:35.9 Walnut 1.0:3.5

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    I edited the chart-just a little. I left ONLY the RATIO numbers to make it easier to identify the problem foods.

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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    so well put
    Please don't beat yourself up , you didn't know and you know what......most us didnt know anything either, thats how we found this board, thats why this board started. Mistakes were made just as we made mistakes. This is how we larn so we we can continue to help the little guys. They wouldnt need as much help from us if we didnt cause most of their problems in the first place. Read the threads here, ask questions, learn..........it is so worth it.
    welcome aboard



    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom
    Aw, what a precious baby.

    I want very much to lie to you because your grief is quite clear. But I think you really want to know, and I also know that once you raise one of these little gems, you will want to do it again, and I don't want to see anyone go through the hurt twice.

    Squirrels have very exacting nutritional needs. They require quite a bit of calcium in their diet - their skeletons need it to provide for the flexibility and gymnastics that are part of their life.

    There are a few things that will block calcium uptake, and one of the big ones is phosphorus. Now phosphorus is necessary in the diet, but what you are looking for is a balance of about 2 parts of calcium for every one part of phosphorus. This all means that no only do you have to make sure they get their calcium, you also have to make sure they don't get foods that are super high in phosphorus, or it will cancel out the calcium. And guess what - of course the highest phosphorus levels are found in the things they love the most.

    Corn, sunflower seeds and cashews are all EXTREMELY high in phosphorus. Corn has one part calcium and 45 parts phosphorus. Sunflower seeds have one part calcium to 9 parts phosphorus. Cashews are 1 to 12. Pumpkin seeds are 1 to a whopping 27. Seeds, grains, and nuts usually have the highest levels of phosphorus.

    We solve this diet dilemma by feeding either a specially made squirrel food that one of our members manufactures, or by feeding "rat block" which is an extruded diet made for rats, which are fairly close to squirrels in their dietary needs. These foods have the proper balance, and are combined with healthy veggies and occasional fruits to make up the total diet. Nuts are fed in very small quantity as treats only. Even among nuts there is a huge disparity - almonds are not all that bad, being 1 to 2 calcium to phosphorus. Hazelnuts are about the same. But pine nuts - they are 1 to 36. So even with treats we pick and chose.

    This info is not that well known. They make commercial squirrel foods from corn and sunflower seeds! Most vets don't know, no pet store employees know - you need to really mine for this info if you are not lucky enough to have found a board like this early on.

    In the absence of enough calcium, or the presence of too much phosphorus, the squirrel will begin to pull calcium from it's own bones to satisfy the need. It causes the bones to become very brittle. Once that has happened, you will finally begin to see symptoms - trouble walking sometimes, and very often, seizures. Because they hide their sickness so carefully, most people do not see problems until the situation is very advanced. His age is just when it hits, too - the baby formula has plenty of calcium but once they wean from it, the danger time begins.

    BTW, kitten formula is not a good milk sub for them - and I am sure you were told to use it - VETS will tell you this for God's sake. It has too much protein and not enough fat. If this ever happens to you again, first, run to a health food store and get fresh goats milk and some vanilla yogurt, for a good temporary formula can be made from those items. Then come here, and we will hook you up with a place to get a formula specifically designed for baby squirrels, and we will help you every step of the way so you never have to go through this again.

    I am so sorry about Buddy. My Mister P is literally the most important being in my life, and even thinking about losing him makes it hard for me to breathe, so I can imagine how you feel. I am so, so, sorry.

    Simon's video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzpwo0r35l0

    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
    ― Anatole France

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  29. #17
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Unhappy Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Thank you for all the nutritional and care giving information. The added emotional support and encouragement is crucial to my grieving process. So, thank you for the positive regard. All of your medical expertise, advice and kind words have brought me closer to closure.

    Sadly, i am still crying and missing Buddy each day...but in time I will move forward --and thanks to your help, I will be prepared in the event another little squirrel needs my help.
    Since I have 2 acres of oak trees & over 15 adult squirrels that live directly around my house (all day everyday), I find a high likelihood of the aforementioned need for my help.

    Again, the support from you all has helped tremendously. THANK YOU!!!

    Rachel

    one more picture (sorry the size is so big...im working on resizing future pics) of buddy: RIP BUDDY my LOVE


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    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Oh, I am very glad to see you back - I was afraid I had offended you with my response.

    You may want to hang with us...we have qute a few members in the NY area. Baby season is over up here for a few months, but come spring, there will be people who overwhelmed with numbers that may need help. We also sometimes have rehabbers who end up with non releasable babies for one reason or other that need permanent homes. If you stick around, read the board, especially the nutritional info, and spend the winter learning, come spring, well who knows what will happen. Nothing can replace Buddy, but knowing that your intervention can save another life can be some pretty powerful medicine.

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  32. #19
    Garden71 Guest

    Default Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Sorry for your loss...
    RIP Buddy

  33. #20
    ValentineSquirrel Guest

    Unhappy Re: sudden death of 4month old squirrel--??

    Thank you very much for your compassion & support.
    The "funeral" is tomorrow.
    It's going to be hard to let him go (i've had a hard time letting him go)
    ...but i hope another will come into my life again.

    --And at that time, with the help from the Squirrel Board, I WILL KNOW what he/she will need to grow up strong n healthy for a LONG LIFE.

    Peace and hope to you all!

    Best,
    Rachel

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