5 Squirrels Off to New Homes with 2 Firemen

squirrel says goodbye

The Horvaths take Mickey

All five of my squrrels left home Wednesday night for their future permanent homes. Oddly, they all went home with firemen, but through different circumstances. No squirrel cooperated in any way with the move.

Mickey, the curiously tame black squirrel from Queens who suffered from malocclusion, is going to live permanently with Bobby and Cathy Horvath. Bobby’s a fireman and Cathy’s a cop and together they are a de facto wildlife squad for New York City and it suburbs. The Horvaths are the city’s big hawk experts and they also handle just generally the difficult and weird cases that no city agency expected to encounter, like wandering coywolves or pet lynx. They showed up with an SUV full of raptors after giving a demonstration to NYC Audubon in Central Park.

Mickey loves avocado. Everyone loves Mickey.

A friend of Bobby’s, Peter Richter, was the one who brought Mickey in. Peter is a hawk photographer who keeps an eye on nests for Bobby, so he knows when juveniles are likely to take their first wobbly flight onto urban greenspace, only to meet a panicked public, who calls the cops. The other fireman, Ralph Longo, rescued three baby squirrels from a car fire he put out in Queens. He saw them squirming in a nest near the fire. Two were burned, one badly enough to lose three back claws. This third one, Benji, I told Ralph, was especially sweet and gentle, probably because I’d

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Wild Squirrel Invades Squirrel Rehab Room

The last time cheeky wild Mommy Squirrel came inside my apartment and somehow got Mickey, the squirrel recovering from a malocclusion, to bust out of her cage, there was some question as to why I didn’t get pictures. At the time, it seemed like an emergency. 

Today I left the office for two minutes and came back to find Mommy Squirrel in my chair. So I grabbed the camera to see what Mickey would do. She came out and deliberately ate in front of Mommy Squirrel, but then seemingly ignored her. My dog Jolly would do give dogs who barked at him a kind of I can’t see you kind of nonchalance.

I hope it’s not any kind of Mickey’s disability that she actually can’t see the invading squirrel. I suspect Mickey is like my mom: she only pretends to be oblivious, but is on top of everything going on.

Where to go to See Interesting SquirrelsWhere to See Wildlife in New York

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Recovering Squirrel Fends Off Invader

Mommy Squirrel BegsMickey, the sweet black squirrel with a malocclusion, had an intruder this weekend. A wild squirrel we call Mommy Squirrel bust into the apartment and got Mickey so agitated that for the first time in three months she bothered to escape from her cage and climb a brick wall. Continue reading Recovering Squirrel Fends Off Invader

Mommy Squirrel Begs

Baby Squirrels Lose Potential Foster Mother, Gain a Sister

Alvin, Baby Ruth, Benji,  Grover

Mickey has been evicted. I could tolerate when the one-time mother squirrel would tussle with these three orphaned babies when they dared to enter her squirrel palace. I thought she’d get used to them. Instead she actually followed one out of the house, went to where the babies were sleeping, picked out the one who had trespassed on her property and started slapping at him with her paws. Luckily, like most squirrels, she is an incompetent and half-hearted fighter.

So, I evicted her. Don’t worry; she still gets to have the house she has come to love so much. But she’s moved to another cage. And she totally knows what’s going on. After the incident of her pushing around the baby squirrel, I took all the babies out of the cage and put them in a carrier. She came out 10 minutes later and searched the area for them.

Meanwhile, the babies got another companion, a female baby squirrel of what seems to be their age. She’s from Stuyvesant Town and was climbing on people’s feet. She’s healthy but too young to be out on her own. She ate and immediately joined the pile of baby squirrels in the basket. She’s a little bit shy, which is understandable, but the group accepts her as one of their own. They invited her to their favorite basket for a nap.

In keeping with my tradition of naming the squirrels after successive U.S. presidents, I looked to the list and found we

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My Squirrel Patient is Impatient with Me and My Redecorating

Benjis  First Grape is delicious

Benji’s first grape

Today I tortured Mickey, the sweet black squirrel who’s recovering from malocclusion, again. Or at least that’s how she sees it. I caught her, clipped her teeth, cleaned the gunk off her paws and then took her house. The outrage!

I had noticed she had a hard time getting in and out, so I widened the door, installed a step on the inside and a hinge so I could open the roof easily. I replaced the filthy fleece with a yoga block and several walnuts–to get her thinking about using her teeth. She is still mad at me but she seems to like the improvements and I could hear her trying to open the walnuts.

Meanwhile, the babies the FDNY rescued started eating some solid food yesterday. Avocado and grapes are their favorite. But they’ll be drinking formula for a long time yet. And the two bolder ones, Grover and Alvin, both know where it comes from: they come to the front of the cage if they’re hungry and try to climb out to the milk when I’m feeding another squirrel.

Alvin seems to be picking up Mickey’s sloppy eating style

I had hoped she would serve as a foster mother for the babies. Now that everyone’s safe and comfortable, I can just stand back and hope they get together. If not, the babies will get their own cage and house soon.

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Baby Squirrels Open Eyes, Get Neglected by Potential Foster Mother

The three baby squirrels the FDNY rescued from a car fire over the weekend all have opened their eyes today and are getting bigger and stronger all the time. But so far Mickey, the squirrel recovering from a malocclusion, has not gone along with my plans to make her a foster mother.

I repossessed Mickey’s squirrel house Tuesday, hoping to get her to pay attention to the baby squirrels. I thought since she had babies herself last year she’d be excited about it. Nope. I guess she isn’t a fan of those pictures passed around the internet.  Or that the animals in them are really animal supermoms, like those women who adopt 18 special needs kids.

Mickey’s brief foray to get avocado

Mickey, on the other hand, was just furious at the situation. She ran around the cage, chattering her teeth and pushing things over, looking longingly at her house that was just outside the cage. She was like a Leona Helmsley squirrel, only concerned about her real estate, couldn’t care less about the little ones. Finally I gave her the house back. She went inside and has barely been out since. She is very aware of the babies; if I take them out for feeding, she jumps at the opportunity to go eat in solitude.

But the babies are growing so they’ll soon be able to get into her house. Then I’ll have to see if she warms up to them–like she did to the house. Or

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New York’s Coywolf, Groundhog and Black Squirrel Doing Fine

The coywolf, groundhog and black squirrel we’ve been following have all done pretty well in the last week.

CoywolfThe coyote captured in SoHo last week (and probably the same one that’s been lurking around Central Park this winter) got released in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where a pack already lives, the city’s pre-eminent wildlife rehabber Bobby Horvath says. This young female may have been part of that pack, but was pushed out in mating season. Three coyotes were spotted up at Columbia University this winter.  One was hit by a car on 130th Street and another may still be out there.

Groundhog The groundhog that turned up on the street near the Soho Grand is doing fine, awaiting release into Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. No one is sure how the woodchuck turned up there, but the staff caught him and gave him a dog crate. Bill–as I call him, though he may well be female–turns out to be quite healthy. He enjoys apples, chestnuts and acorns, but shuns the greens he is supposed to like. Bill lunges at the cage bars when I hang around too much–proving that he’s quite healthy and most likely not a misbegotten pet.

Bobby researched where groundhogs live in the city–where I’m required to release him. He only found evidence in Pelham Bay Park, Van Cortlandt and Fort Tryon. I called a parks biologist to find the best place to release him. At first he was unsure whether I’d be

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