Hurricane Squirrels

On Monday, August 29, the Wildlife Center had 29 young Eastern Grey Squirrels in care.  Most of these squirrels were assumed to be orphaned -- some had fallen from their nests in trees and had minor injuries.  All in all, it was a fairly "normal" case load for young squirrels in the late summer/early fall. Then the calls from Tidewater Virginia rehabiltators started coming in ... After Hurricane Irene rolled through during the weekend of August 27, hundreds upon hundreds of squirrels were found in the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area.  Permitted rehabilitators in that area soon became overwhelmed; one individual at-home rehabilitator had more than 140 animal in her care -- mostly young grey squirrels. The Wildlife Center staff started making preparations to receive some of these squirrels and made many calls to other rehabbers in southern, northern, and central Virginia to see how we, as a wildlife rehabilitation community, could share the load. The first "wave" of squirrels came in from the Virginia Beach area on the afternoon of August 29.  A total of 34 young squirrels were admitted; most of them were only two to three weeks old -- the majority still had their eyes closed.     On Tuesday, August 30, an additional 45 squirrels were admitted.  The Center also found placement for another 35 squirrels with other rehabilitators in central Virginia, before they were even admitted to the Wildlife Center.   And the Center was able to transfer 25 squirrels to rehabilitators in the Roanoke area.  As of 5:00 p.m. on August 30, the Center is caring for more than 75 young squirrels.  Extra volunteers, friends, former staff members, and staff members from other departments have all been roped in to feed squirrels ... including our two new outreach coordinators!  In many ways, it's a "squirrel feeding party" in the Center's ICU -- the room is packed with squirrels, people, syringes, and formula. Many of the squirrels are fed four or five times a day.  For the ones that will remain at the Wildlife Center, the staff estimate that the squirrels will need an additional two months of care.  More rehabilitators will be accepting squirrels on Wednesday, which will continue to lighten the load.  As chaotic as that makes the Wildlife Center ... our friends to the east are still swimming in squirrels. Squirrel preparation: Examinations on all incoming squirrels: Many, many lists to keep track of incoming/outgoing: MORE squirrels arrive: More squirrel feeding parties: Once feeding is done ... mountains of paperwork. Squirrel Stories: August 31, 2011 A Nutty Week for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, The News Virginian August 30, 2011 Orphaned Irene Squirrels Come to Waynesboro, WHSV-TV At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release.  Your donation will help support the Center’s life-saving work with these "Hurricane Squirrels" … and with more than 2,300 wild animals in need.