Mickey, the black squirrel with ingrown teeth I took care of for a few months earlier this year, has died. Mickey had increasingly worse seizures and wasn’t responding to medicine, the wildlife rehabilitators who took her in said. Eventually they sadly had to euthanize her.
Mickey came to me from Peter Richter, a hawk-watcher and blogger, who knew Mickey as a cheeky character at a Queens community garden. Mickey took nuts by hand, much braver than her squirrel companion. Mickey tried to fight off a red-tailed hawk and ended up falling. My theory was that she broke her top teeth, which her big bottom teeth need to grind against.
Peter nervously watched her decline and brought her to me just in time. She was cold, had lost weight, was covered in mites and her bottom teeth were growing into her top gums. I clipped her teeth and she regained her strength eating mushy foods like avocado.
I got to know and like Mickey. She was easy to handle, almost like a released pet. I wondered if she wanted to be treated like a pet. I hugged her. She peed on me. I stopped trying to cuddle her, but she always did like a back scratch. I thought she’d like to be a mom to orphaned baby squirrels. Nope. She carried them out of her house and attacked them. She would stomp around her cage if she thought it was time for food and I wasn’t providing the right kind. When it got hot, she’d lie on her back and look silly. Even though she was quite peculiar, she taught me a lot about squirrels.
But she would never be albe to make it in the wild, so Bobby Horvath and his wife Kathy St. Pierre generously took her in and gave her a permanent home. Then the seizures came.
A squirrel rehabber in NC told me that her white squirrel, who is star of the White Squirrel Festival, was a lot like Mickey. She also had a malocclusion and seizures and that squirrels with teeth injuries often get something called odontoma–basically the teeth grow backwards into the skull. And that one vet in Kentucky did surgery.
No one is sure exactly what set off the seizures. I am glad that Bobby and Kathy took her in. They’re probably the most experienced (and nicest) rehabbers in the city, so I know Mickey had all the right things done for her.
Where to go to See Wildlife in NYC
Where to go to See Unusual Squirrels