Hurricane Ida devastated the state of Louisiana last month, displacing millions of people and animals alike. The Category 4 Atlantic hurricane is now the second-most damaging hurricane to strike Louisiana, right behind Hurricane Katrina.
Amidst the hurricane, many people rushed to evacuate their homes and flee to safer areas, including 15-year-old Bailee Villavaso and her family.
While they were evacuating, Bailee noticed a small squirrel nest that’d been blown out of a tree. It had three baby squirrels inside, but no mother in sight.
Bailee knew she couldn’t leave the babies there to die, so she had her family turn around to get a box and scooped the nest of squirrels up. Using a blanket, she gently dried the squirrels off as her family drove them all to safety.
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The squirrels seemed lethargic and cold. They were huddled tightly together and weren’t moving much. Speaking with The Dodo, Bailee explained, “The squirrels were extremely lethargic, and huddled up to stay warm…Once the squirrels had eaten, they started to gain energy. After about 24 hours, they perked up enough to run and play.”
With nowhere else to take the squirrels, the 15-year-old girl decided to step in as their temporary mother. She reached out to a veterinarian for advice on how to care for them, and carefully offered them food, shelter, and plenty of playtime. The little squirrels seemed to be thriving in her care!
Bailee named them Alvin, Simon, and Theodore after the famous singing cartoon chipmunks.
While they’re all happy together right now, Bailee knows it’s best for them if they have the guidance and help of a professional wildlife rehabilitator. As she explained to The Dodo, she contacted some animal rehabbers but hasn’t found any with space to take in more squirrels. Many of the animal rehabilitators are overwhelmed with wildlife from the hurricane.
She said, “I will continue to reach out to animal rehab centers.” Thankfully, it seems like she’s doing a great job at being their mother in the meantime.
Watch the video below to learn more:Whizzco