»My name is Tintin and I’m a red squirrel. I was rescued by Decan Andersen when I fell from the 4th floor, straight down into his garden – and this is my story!« Tintin was no more than a good 10 cm long and about 4 to 5 weeks old when I found him. Here's a video on how and where it happend.
Unfortunately, he hit a branch on the way down that cut a deep and nasty wound into his chest. At first I backed away into my house and closed the door, so the mother could come to his rescue. His mother came down and had a look at him. She smelled him, pushed him around a little and probably decided he was done for. She may also have turned her attention back to her remaining kids. Whatever the cause, she left and he was left to the elements. My heart couldn't bear that so I quickly scooped him up off the cold, wet grass. I then contacted my local vet and the wildlife preservation for advice on the situation. Whilst I was doing this, I put him next to my female cat Coco who was laying on the floor. She immediately understood the situation and started to wash and clean him. Once he was clean, she then cuddled up next to him to keep him warm.
He could no longer scratch the wound, but it still took almost 5 months to heal up. After all the hard work, cleaning the wound every 3 hours and bottle feeding him kitten milk every 4 hours, it was finally time to take the T-Shirt off.
As time went on he learned to open nuts and I weaned him off the kitten milk. After much talk with the Danish wildlife preservation and his veterinarian, we all agreed that he probably wouldn't survive on his own for more than 24 hours. With so much human contact and playtime with both cats and humans, his natural fear of predators was gone. So I began arranging a cage for him to sleep in during the night.
He now has a brand new super-castle!
Although he has his cage, it’s never locked. He's always free to roam around the house and mingle with the rest of the household because he is one of the family. He barely spends any time in his cage, only to eat and do his toilet business. He still gets a good amount of free time roaming around our nearby forests and gardens. Although I would prefer to see him without a leash, it’s simply too dangerous for him not to have one on. There is a huge amount of natural predators in our area including cats, hawks and owls and finding dead birds and squirrels is not uncommon. Cats and dogs sees a leash as an extension of the human and, surprisingly, this even applies to a pray animal such as a squirrel and has worked very well. Besides that, he doesn't seem to care about the leash as he uses it as a quick guide to return to me if he gets spooked. Tintin is smart, he knows that there are dangers outside. However, he doesn’t know what is dangerous to him and what is not and so refuses to leave the house without his harness. He knows it keeps him safe and that he can use it to quickly find his way back to me. See here and here how he reacts to walking without his harness.
The idea that squirrels do not having feelings, attachments, loyalty and prefer to be a lone animal does not apply to Tintin. He loves to face-cuddle, get a good belly rub and play around with us. A normal day with Tintin starts in the morning around 6'o clock when he gets up, eats and plays around with his toys until around 7'o clock. Then, he starts waking me up with various sounds and noises. I wake up and let him outside into the mist of morning to dig around, climb trees and bathe himself in dirt and sand. Then he runs around the house and plays for a few hours until it is time for his midday nap. At around 5 o’clock he wakes up again, ready for action. He gets outside for a good 3-4 hours every day, and spends a little time around the house. At around 9 o’clock he eats, cleans himself and settles in for a good night’s sleep. The red squirrel is an endangered species in many countries and is therefore illegal to capture keep as pets. However, under Tintin's special circumstances, I've gained exclusive permission from the Danish wildlife preservation to care for Tintin until the ends of his days - a good 15-20 years from now. Now he is little superstar. He loves the attention and getting his pictures taken. We regularly visit the forest nearby, where he shows us what he likes to eat, and what he doesn’t. As many pet stores don't have nuts in shells or pine cones, we collect a huge stash a couple of times a week. Besides the natural food, he also likes rabbit food, corn, lettuce, tomatoes and all that kind of good stuff. If you have any questions, just comment on one of his videos on YouTube or on Instagram.