Earlier this week posted Mónica a picture of a squirrel visiting her garden regularly, burying all kinds of food there, and then looking for hours where he buried it.
Because of this post I came to talk with Mónica and I remembered that I took pictures of the time that I volunteered for the Foundation Squirrel Care.
Of course I like to tell you about that.
The red squirrel is found in the wild in the Netherlands.
It is a rodent that lives mainly in the trees.
A squirrel grows about 15 to 20 cm in size, and has a long, well-stocked poultry tail.
It's a light animal: an adult squirrel weighs about 350 grams.
A squirrel in the wild is about 7 years old.
Squirrels build nests, usually in deciduous trees, at a height of at least 6 meters.
The main enemies are: traffic, dogs, cats, martens and birds of prey.
Like many wild animals, squirrels are increasingly close to humans: food attracts them.
But humans, and cars also pose a danger, which made the squirrel a while ago an endangered species.
At that time, I volunteered for the squirrel shelter foundation.
The Stichting Eekhoornopvang was at that time in the Meern, near Utrecht. I got in touch with them because of my volunteer work at the animal ambulance.
A squirrel was found, and Mieke came to pick up the squirrel.
I looked forward to my eyes, to how she treated the animal, and she told me what to do, and what about the foundation, and that they were always looking for volunteers to transport squirrels.
Well, they had found a new volunteer!
After an introduction morning, where we were instructed how to act, I received a waiver for the carriage of squirrels.
The red squirrel is a protected animal in the Netherlands, and you can't just transport it in your car!
When a call came in at the shelter from a found squirrel I was called sometimes. Mieke called several people, and whoever had time went to pick up the squirrel.
Each volunteer was equipped with a plastic pickup tray, containing a towel, and a jug bag.
And we all had leather garden gloves with us: squirrels look sweet, but can bite firmly!
They're rodents, and they have razor-sharp teeth. If you are bitten, you should immediately get a rabies vaccination from your GP. Squirrels can transmit rabies (rabies).
Usually I picked up small squirrels, and they had to be brought to the shelter on a warm jug, in the towel.
On the jug because they quickly become supercooled, and in the towel because they feel safe.
On the way in the car, do not turn on the radio, and do not chat too much, because squirrels are prone to stress. And then it happened regularly that I arrived and the squirrel turned out to be dead.
Very unfortunate! But a squirrel you can grab isn't okay, it's sick or at least weakened, so you knew the risk was in it.
If you arrived with a living squirrel, you could watch Jaap or Mieke (the administrators of the foundation) provide the squirrel first aid: that meant for young squirrels that they helped them pee first.
A young squirrel can't pee himself!
They pee because their mother licks their urethra, which releases the puddle.
After urinating, imitated by Jaap or Mieke with a tissue (and they urinate amazingly!) got the squirrel to drink.
So cute to see!!
Simultaneously with the squirrel, the volunteer also got a drink by the way; -).
A chat with Jaap or Mieke, and then you got the compensation for the gasoline, a clean tray, towel and jug (because you don't want to transfer diseases to the next collected squirrel!), and hop home, waiting for the next call.
Meanwhile, the foundation took care of the squirrels, until they were ready to be released back into the wild.
This meant that the house of Jaap and Mieke had been converted into a large shelter. A first aid room (where these pictures were taken by me), then a room where they see fewer people, and then the animals went to a run, outside, the last step for the renewed freedom!
I keep very good memories of my time as a volunteer for the foundation!
I did the fun work, the hard work (every four hours (!!) feed for example, was done by other volunteers.
Meanwhile, the foundation has been taken over. Now one also catches hedgehogs.
You can find the website of the new squirrel shelter HERE .
Finally:squirrels look cute and sweet, but do not try to catch them, they can bite very hard!
A squirrel that you can pick up is out of order: in that case, call the animal ambulance.
They give tips on how to act until they can come and get the squirrel, or where you can take it.
The photos in this blog were made by me with the permission of the then administrators of the squirrel shelter.
I had a waiver then to transport the squirrels.
Parts of this full blog are allowed. Did you get inspired and want to volunteer or support the squirrel shelter?
Then click HERE for the website.