Once upon a time, there were two brothers. One big and one small. Both cute and lovely and sweet and alone.
Both fell out their nest and into our hearts....(ah - yes - I know they are vermin, I know they are an introduced species and I know they are not popular - but they were babies and hungry and frightened)
And he drank and drank and drank and drank and then fell asleep.
After a while both lads seemed steady enough to go back up the tree and home to their dray, which they did, both a bit wobbly but up they went.Later Moss and GF found a dizzy and sorry feeling squizzer halfway up the fence, a little tangled up in the plants - we rescued the confused little fellow, more gentle handling, water offered and refused. He was getting more dehydrated, his skin was 'tenting' too but his mouth was too sore to even contemplate drinking. He grumbled and growled and we returned him to his tree.
Youngest made a feeding platform and we filled it with nuts and a bowl of water and the little one very quickly got the message and began to eat and drink and scale the tree happily even giving us a little sing-song growl if we got too close - brilliant!
However, the larger baby was still struggling, his dehydration and probable hunger drove him out on a tree limb and he fell again - heavily. Once again Moss and GF discovered the now perilously weak squizzer kit, this time at the base of the tree.
I put my hand out and he weakly climbed in, his little face was covered in blood again. So we once again cuddled and mopped his nose and tried again to get some water into him with the narrow teaspoon and fortunately this time it worked. He too just drank and drank and drank and like his little brother fell asleep. We carefully washed his face as he slept.
Eldest, GF and Youngest sat patiently with him until he awoke, less wobbly and certainly not thirsty any more, but equally unable to eat - his poor little mouth must have been very sore. Once again he was put back up in the tree and he carefully climbed up past his little brother who was stuffing his face happily.
The last few days have been of gentle intervention - trying very hard not to become attached to the lads, trying not to imprint ourselves on them. Gentle encouragement to eat, trying peanuts, trying sweet potato, trying grapes - anything to get the larger one to eat. Then a sudden break through - when after another wobble and tumble out of the tree, he was tucked in Youngest's fleece to warm up and he suddenly started to eat.
Yesterday , as we sat in the sun in the garden, quietly watching the lads in the tree eating we suddenly noticed that the larger one had come down and was lying in the sun near us. He must have felt safe.
Once he'd had a good nap he bumbled over to ask for some food then found himself another patch of sunlight for another doze.
When it was time for us to go inside, Youngest carried him over to the feeding shelf and there he had another good snack and went up the tree to bed!
So. Yes, they are vermin, yes - they are seen as pests but, these two little small furry fellows are survivors and with our gentle guidance they will leave the safety of their tree in our garden and find their own way in the world.
well, no, not really the end, however, we hope it will end well - furry fingers crossed!
What I have learnt -
they growl, little kitten-growls when they think you are going to take their food,
they grumble and chitter happily while they are eating and they make little chop slapping noises when they are chewing,
they rest their hands on their little tummies when they are full.
They like to be stroked and will gently hold your fingers and lick them when they are hungry and they do like sitting on shoulders ... a lot.
But no we are not getting attached....!