Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bushy - Tales Of An Indian Palm Squirrel

17th March, 2012

Well, life is full of interesting happenings - some just disappear with the sands of time, while some are written into stories which are read and treasured by generations of folks. I believe that Bushy’s story is one such story. Okay, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but Bushy's story is definitely well worth a few reads.

Bushy came into my life on a wonderful spring morning. The sparrows were chirping, the bees were humming between the leaves of the jasmine bush on my balcony, and the butterflies were revelling in the warm sunshine on the special marble rocks I had set out for them in my butterfly garden. I was reading the morning paper, when I was startled by the sudden cawing of crows, as they swept through the swaying branches of the peepal tree overhead, indicating that something was up down below.

I jumped up for a peek at what the commotion was all about. Three stories below at ground level, I could faintly see the crows diving in greedy excitement at a creature so tiny and dainty, that it surely was a frail mouse…or maybe not. The little creature, however, was in no mood to be an early crow breakfast. Dark eyes glinting, it dodged about in a rather astonishing zig-zag manner, startling the swooping crows by standing up on its hind legs.

However, this didn’t impress one crafty crow, who dove down and grabbed the little creature in its razor-sharp talons. That’s when the mousy animal uttered a shrill ear-piercing scream, as it struggled with all its might to break free. No rat would ever yell like that. In fact, I recognised the scream as the screech of a squirrel, when faced with a dangerous predator. The startled crow dropped the squirrel like a hot brick, and slunk away, seemingly stunned by a bolt of grey lightning. Promptly scurrying away, the squirrel hid in the safe haven of a nearby darkened drain.

photo of a baby indian palm squirrel

I knew that the drain was filled with rats, and was afraid that a feisty rat might attack the baby squirrel. I told my father about the squirrel. He said he had always wanted a pet squirrel, and maybe now was the right time to get one. He picked up his scooter gloves and a plastic bag, and we went downstairs to catch it. We waited a long time outside the rat’s hole, but the baby squirrel didn’t come out. The crows continued to sweep up above, looking for a chance for a quick meal. Disheartened and worried, we turned back and went upstairs. However, we continued to take turns watching the rat hole from our balcony.

A few hours later, my father saw a tiny head peek out. The baby squirrel was on the move, and so were the excited crows. This time we made up our mind that no crow would lay his creepy talons on the little squirrel. My dad rushed down the stairs with his gloves and a plastic bag, sheer determination written all over his face.

The squirrel was looking around, a bit distracted by the raucous cawing overhead. Chased out by the sewer rats living in the drain, he seemed perplexed by the bright daylight and the fluttering of wings. That’s when my father quickly grabbed him, and tossed him into the plastic bag. He struggled a bit, but soon gave up, as the bag did not do him any harm.

We took the plastic bag upstairs and laid it on the sofa. The baby squirrel was tired by his morning excursion, and did not seem to be in the mood for any more play. He seemed to know deep down that he had been rescued from near certain death.

Read More About My Baby Indian Palm Squirrel


  1. Hi, I am very eager to keep a baby squirrel. Bt I have 1 Q:
    It's said that baby squirrel shud be released when he's upto 6 or 8 weeks, coz before or after that they are unable to survive on themselves & become easy prey for dogs. It's also said that if we are keeping a squirl, keep it for life as they can never adjust to outer world. So I want to know what is true?

  2. Yes, if your baby squirrel wants to go out and the weather seems fine - there is no need to stop him. He'll find plenty of food. However, don't send him out if his stripes have not come...or the crows will eat him thinking he is a rat. I also let my baby squirrel go - he felt happy to be on the tree.

  3. Hi. I cnt find much information . I rescued a baby squirrel today and his/her mother was nearby but wasnt taking him her .also since it had become vry dark outside i picked it up and put it in a cardboard box. Nw shd i feed it at all tmrw or shd i try to reunite it with its mom? Because we hv many buzzards here who try to prey on these tiny cute babies. Hoping fr a quick response

  4. It is good you saved it and put it in a cardboard box - keep it with you for sometime and set it free when it becomes stronger and independent. You can give it cerelac to eat (mix with water, not milk). It will generally go itself when it feels it can manage.

  5. Very late response, but if anyone else gets a squirrel baby he must try to reunite it with the mother first, keeping it somewhere high and out of reach of cats and other predators but only where you found it. Preferably in a basket or shoe box. If the mother doesn't come by night, keep it for the night and feed it rehydrating solution (water 1 cup with sugar 1/2 tsp and salt 1/4 tsp mix). And keep it warm first off or the mother won't take it if it's cold. If you touch or feed it for the night, even then mother will accept it back.
    Also I believe they should be released AFTER they're 2 or so months old so they're strong enough to survive predators as well as other territorial squirrels.

  6. Thank you PK. Release squirrel when it is strong enough to go and wishes to go. They have natural defenses to protect against predators..stripes to create camouflage, fuzzy tail that acts as a parachute, detachable tail if they are caught by a crow and a warning call (shrill scream).


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