Baby squirrel Rufous is on the mend

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A baby squirrel has been nursed back to health after being snatched by a bird of prey which he was lucky to survive.

The three-week-old, still blind red squirrel kit was found in the grass of a garden being strimmed in Shiskine by Jimmy Stewart on August 30.

It is thought he had been snatched from the drey by a bird of prey then dropped as there was claw marks over his back. Eleanor McAllister brought him into the Arran Vets surgery in Brodick wondering if he could be saved.

Six weeks later and Rufous, the name given to him by vet Charlotte Clough, is well on the mend.

Charlotte told the Banner: ‘He was reared on kitten replacement milk initially though that first week it was painstakingly slow to get him to take a just tiny drop at a time. He lived in the airing cupboard under plenty of bedding for the first three weeks to keep him in the warm and dark, only waking up for a feed.

‘Now he’s in a large aviary and comes out for exercise around the house. He now loves hazelnuts to eat best of all, plus walnuts, hawthorn berries and rose hips, and he still takes some milk but now laps it from a bottle lid.

‘His wild instincts are strong and he takes the food and literally squirrels it away at the bottom of his cage then retrieves it later to eat. When he’s ready to release I’ll take his nest box and put it up in a tree then put some feeding stations nearby to see him through the winter. I’ll release him in my garden in Shiskine which is well away from roads. He’s about three weeks away now from being released once he hits target weight of about three-quarters adult weight.’

‘Eleanor came back to see him on Sunday and couldn’t believe how much he’d changed,’ Charlotte added.

The squirrel is now recovering well.