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Squirrel Water Rescue

Posted on 13 November 2007 by Dawn Keller

A couple of weeks ago I was at our Northerly Island facility in downtown Chicago visiting with another permitted wildlife rehabilitator, Diane, and her husband when one of our favorite Chicago police came to get us. He reported that a squirrel had fallen into a nearby harbor.

We quickly grabbed a few supplies. I hopped in Diane's car and the three of us followed the Chicago policeman over to the scene.

I feared that we would arrive to find an already-drowned squirrel. Fortunately, the squirrel was hanging onto debris in the harbor very near the sea wall and he was able to keep his very wet head above the water line.

We had brought a plastic egg crate with us, approximately 12" X 18", but the squirrel was some twelve feet below ground level. Diane fortunately had a long leather dog leash. We hooked the leash onto the crate and I leaned over the edge of the sea wall with Diane holding onto my jeans to prevent me from joining the squirrel in the water. I lowered the crate in front of the squirrel in hopes that he would climb aboard. Instead he jumped away from the crate, taking a big splash in the harbor. He quickly scrambled back up onto the debris.

We lowered a tree branch to no avail....

The squirrel almost seemed to assess his options. He looked up and around the sea wall looking for a means of escape. The vertical metal surface offered no viable options.

Out of desperation, we lowered the egg crate another time. Amazingly, the squirrel jumped right into the egg crate and we slowly raised the egg crate to dry ground. The squirrel was unharmed despite his swim, so we moved the crate away from the sea wall and allowed the squirrel to jump out. Jump out he did, running away from us without looking back.

We didn't take time for pictures!

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