Feudal Effort

 Dec. 21, 2009
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Happy Winter Solstice from Drew!

I've been saving this strip for a while. It's based on an injured squirrel I found in August 2009. (More Below)

This is a juvenile squirrel I rescued after he clumsily fell from his tree and in a panic ran up 2 flights of brick wall before slipping and hitting the ground. His nose bleeding, obviously stunned and disoriented, he limped up to me (I was crouching down to see if he was okay) and he nuzzled my knuckles (I think he was having trouble differentiating trees and people). I took him in and he slept pretty heavily. His nose cleared up, and he ate and drank and everything. His balance and movement seemed fine. He very quickly bonded to me, and would curl up to sleep in my hand or pocket. He would ride around on my shoulder and always return to "check in" with me every few minutes as he explored his surroundings. He would nuzzle my ear and give play-bites to my toes. If someone else was holding him and I left the room, he would anxiously watch me leave - sometimes he would take a flying leap towards me (or my camera!).

Unfortunately, he died overnight, right before I was going to bring him to a  rehabilitaor (maybe he had a pre-existing flu that caused his loss of balance in the first place? An injury from the fall that didn't show any signs? He had a few sneezes and coughs - but nothing alarming). He has a nice little marked grave in the woods by my house now. I'm keeping him alive in my comic...

My Pet Squirrel (Click to Watch Video)
(video shot by my wife)

(A tired squirrel)

Note: Keeping wild squirrels as pets is a generally bad idea, even if they're raised from a young age. They are very smart and very wild - a dangerous dichotomy. They sometimes bond well to people, but even then they can be violently jealous, highly moody, destructively energetic, and require a lot of space and attention. They cannot be released back into the wild, as they haven't grown up with other squirrels; they'll just get killed by predators or rival squirrels, or become nightmarish pests to all people nearby. Their cute play-bites soon grow teeth that can split any nut or wood, and their claws become sharp and strong enough to allow them to run up trees as fast as they run on land - behavior that is cute on a young squirrel can quickly become painful and bloody to human handlers. It's also generally illegal, depending on where you live, as squirrels are wild animals and therefore wards of the state (these laws are generally for larger, rarer, or more dangerous animals - but it could turn in to a liability issue if your squirrel attacks someone). There are plenty of similar animals that are just as cute and playful and have been bred for good companion animal traits for centuries or even millenia (ferretts, guinea pigs, rabbits, degus, chinchillas, sugar-gliders, cats, etc.), although the responsibilties and care of any pet should be considered carefully.