Friday, September 24, 2004

My Squirrel Story

So today we spent the first 20 minutes of ZOO lecture talking about Bishop Woods, and how the university wants to build the new business building there, and all the animals that live there. This includes flying squirrels. I knew this; the rest of my class didn't and they all thought it was pretty funny. I had a previous flying squirrel experience, and since it seems to me that people on college campuses are amused by the average squirrel, I can tell my story (albeit a year and a half old) about flying squirrels.

I took a zoology class my senior year in high school, and one day these girls brought in three baby flying squirrels that they'd found in a fallen tree on their lawn. They wanted my teacher to take care of them, but he turned it into a class project, finding out what they needed to eat, how warm they needed to be, etc. They were so small, they fit into the palm of my hand and they were absolutely adorable. We decided we would all take turns taking them home every night. Because I was good at feeding them through the pipettes we were using, I got to take them home on that first night. This was much to the dismay of my mom, who made me keep them in the basement. Poor things. Anyway, they survived that first night and for the next couple of weeks other people took them home because I was fearing the wrath of my mother ("if you bring those in my house, more of them will come! I know it!").

So, then, one of the guys in my class, ignoring the information we'd found on the internet not to feed the squirrels baby formula until they were a little older, stopped feeding them whole milk and gave them formula for a few days. They were apparently doing fine. So then I offered to take them home for a night. When I went down to the basement the next morning, two of those little babies had died. I was in tears. Of course my mom freaked out. I'm not sure why. You'd think she would have been happy.

It wasn't my fault, they'd gotten sick from the formula, but I still felt awful. One of the guys in my class whose mom wasn't nuts about wild animals let him keep the remaining squirrel, and last year when I talked to him it was doing okay. So that's good.

Anyway, sad baby flying squirrel memories sprang up today and I thought they were worth sharing. And I guess I should mention that even though most of the things I brought home from my high school biology classes completely disgusted and/or appalled my mother, she was a pretty good sport about it. I only considered that she had killed the squirrels for about five minutes. :)

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