Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baby Squirrels, or why I'll never drive that car again

Something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye as I pulled up to the daycare. I glanced over at the floor in front of the passenger seat. What the heck was it? Did Little Boo leave a rubber lizard in the car?

No way! It's moving! And there's FOUR of them!!
Where in the heck did they come from?? And what the heck are they??

This was not my finest moment. My brain wouldn't quite believe what my eyes were seeing. Focus. Process.
Squirrels! Four baby squirrels. But I swear to heaven they weren't there this morning. Time to freak out!!

I'm still not entirely clear on what happened. We needed two cars today, so I took the old one, and it hadn't been out of the driveway in about 3 weeks. I do remember it smelling a little odd this morning, but nothing out of the ordinary for a car closed up in the heat that long. I know I am not at my best in the mornings, but I seriously think I would have seen these little bodies on my floor, don't you?? I drove for a half an hour to work, parked, and left the car for the day. Then I drove to daycare, maybe 5 minutes. And only then did I see them.

And just what are you supposed to do with four baby squirrels in your car? And how did they get in? And where's mom? I thanked my lucky stars she hadn't been in there too, sleeping or something. Just waiting to attack while I was driving down the highway. Shudder.

First step - call for help. Animal Services. They deal with wildlife in the city. They looked after that sick coyote I found (I won't dwell on what exactly "looked after" meant in that case). But guess what? They aren't interested in baby squirrels. The guy on the line told me to put them out of the car for their mother to find. Or, I could drive them to a shelter to be euthanized. While leaving them for mom might be a long shot, it at least gave them a chance. And if something else got them first, that's at least the circle of life, right? So I decided to drive them home. (There was some debate whether they were Scarborough squirrels, born in the car, or downtown squirrels brought in for shelter. A quick check of the glove box confirmed long term inhabitants. Back to Scarberia we go.) Did you know it takes me about 45 minutes to get home? Driving with a freaked out 6 year-old in the back, and four baby squirrels jumping around on the floor?? Fun times.
At home, I found Momma squirrel, frantically chattering and exploring where the car with her babies had been. (It had to be her. You could see the worry on her little furry face.)  I put on my gardening gloves and carefully lifted out the mat to release the babies. But dammit wouldn't you know, one of them scurried off the mat and made a dash for the underside of the console. Seriously?! Little Boo started screaming, "Grab him!!" And I tried, but failed. We gave Momma some space for a few minutes, and sure enough the three babies were gone when I checked back. Whew!

But that one still in the car? He was squealing and crying from in behind the glove box and I couldn't see him or coax or scare him out. I got in, started the car and backed up. Then slammed on the brakes. I kind of hoped he'd get shaken out, as I figure happened on the drive to work with the lot of them. No dice. So I left the car door open and went indoors. Momma took her cue and went in after him, rescuing him pretty quickly I must say. It was kinda sweet to see her devotion to her little ones. I got her, you know? (Meanwhile she was totally swearing at me in squirrel the whole time, I know it.)

Well, we thought we were done, just some cleanup to look after later. No way I was cooking at this point, so Little Boo and I hopped back in the car to go pick up some dinner. I banged on the dash and shook the doors and everything, to make sure everyone was out before we got in.

And two doors down the street I hear Little Boo scream from the back seat. There she is!! Momma Squirrel is in the car. Panicked and looking for a way out. Circling the car at lightspeed to try all the windows. It was so Christmas Vacation I can't even tell you. My poor guy was terrified. I pulled over as she swooshed across my head. Almost forgot to put the car in park before opening the door and jumping out to save my child. But the squirrel? She went down by the passenger side door, and suddenly we saw her sprinting away from the car and back towards our house and her babies.

Somewhere down there, there is a hole. Maybe in the floor. Maybe access through a vent. I don't know. But I do know that car isn't safe from varmints. And I really hope that Momma only came back in because she could still smell her babies in there, and not because there's still one missing. I guess we'll know in a couple of days. Decaying rodent is not a pleasant odour.


  1. I love squirrels but I probably would have had a heart attack.

  2. This story is to hhilarious! I got the whole picture going on in my head right now. Oh my goodness. Glad everyone came out okay including mama squirrel and her babies. I would've freaked out too.


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