I was worried that Bushy was not eating any of the treats I had given him. That’s when I realised that my biggest challenge would be feeding him. The Internet talked about re-hydrating the baby squirrel with Pedialyte solution. As that is not available in India, I substituted it with my all-time favourite Electrol. Bushy sipped a bit of the Electrol solution, seemed to get drunk, and became hyper-active.
Next, I tried a bit of milk with a little sugar in it. I dipped a cotton ear-bud in the solution, and then put the milky ear-bud into the baby Indian Palm Squirrels mouth. This worked, Bushy drank hungrily. The only drawback was that Bushy kept grabbing the cotton with his claws, and getting entangled. When I tried to separate his little hands from the cotton, he would get stressed. So, I just let him keep some of the cotton, which I think he later ate. He soon got tired of having the sweetened milk, and began refusing it. That’s when I knew that I had to find another solution, or Bushy would starve.
I turned to my best friend Google, and yes, a kindred soul had mentioned Nestle’s Cerelac as a substitute for kitten formula. I also liked the idea of using a syringe for feeding a baby squirrel (seemed cool), so I thought I’d buy one and give it a try. I stuffed some money into my pocket, and ran down to my neighbourhood chemist.
At the neighbourhood chemist, I had to face a barrage of questions. The chemist was an overweight, be-spectacled man who seemed to think that everybody’s business was his own. I knew this was not going to be a cakewalk.
I said, “Can I have a small syringe?”
He raised his eyebrows, firing question after question, “Who is it for?”, “Why do you need it?”, “Is someone sick?”, “I hoped you will not be using it for drugs?”.
I shook my head. I lied, “My father wants it for his diabetes problem”.
The chemist looked at me sceptically, shrugged his shoulders, and placed one small syringe on the table. Folding his arms across the counter, he offered me a questioning look, waiting for me to name the next product.
The syringe seemed too big to fit in Bushy’s mouth. I examined it carefully and said, “Don’t you have a smaller syringe? My father usually uses a smaller syringe”.
He looked at me incredulously, and shook his head, “This is as small as syringes get” he said.
I thought I’d please him by naming another product, and asked him for Nestle’s Cerelac, a common brand of baby food.
He turned around, and swept his eyes over the shelves behind him. He surprised me with his next question, “How big is the baby?”
This was the first time I was buying baby food, ever, and I thought that the chemist was just being conversational. Bushy was about four inches long, discounting his tail, but I couldn’t very well say that. Instead, I held up my hands about one and a half feet apart, to show him the general size of a baby.
He shook his head vigorously, and there was the sceptical eyebrow-raise again. He rephrased his question, “How old is the baby?”
Bushy must have been around three weeks old, but I couldn’t very well say that either. Thinking quickly, I replied, “three months old”.
The chemist heaved a giant sigh, shrugged his shoulders and went to the back of the store. He soon returned with a packet of Nestle’s Cerelac, and handed it to me mutttering, “Babies should have mother’s milk. Such food should be given only after a year, if ever”.
That’s when I noticed that the Cerelac packet had ‘six months and above’ printed on it. I hurriedly stuffed it into my bag, paid the bill and left.
On reaching home, I read the instructions on the packet, and prepared a small amount of Cerelac in a bowl. I made it sort of liquidy, so that it would be easy to draw it into the syringe. I then turned to Bushy, my baby Indian palm squirrel, with the syringe.
Bushy seemed excited by the smell of the Cerelac, and was running around his cage in circles. That’s when I knew that the Cerelac would work. I put the syringe to Bushy’s mouth, and watched him hungrily suck the baby food. He looked so cute, with his tiny hands holding the syringe, like it was a baby’s bottle.
The syringe, however, did not work as well as it was touted on the Internet. When I pressed down on the plunger, baby food squirted all over Bushy and his box, creating an awesome mess. Bushy seemed to get miffed.
Next, I tried feeding Bushy the Cerelac with the cotton ear-buds, but his claws kept getting stuck in it, and messing up the place. Finally, I decided to feed him with my finger. I placed some baby food (a bit thicker paste) onto my index finger, and put it near Bushy’s mouth. The baby Indian Palm Squirrel grabbed my finger with his little hands, and began gobbling up the Cerelac. Issue finally solved!
I kept feeding Cerelac to Bushy everyday, until he grew big enough to eat other foods. Even then, Cerelac remained his favourite.
Read More About My Baby Indian Palm Squirrel
- Part 3: Feeding The Baby Indian Squirrel
- Part 2: Taking Care of the Little Squirrel
- Part 1: Tales of an Indian Palm Squirrel