'This was a very unusual rescue but also a very cute one!' said the animal rescue officer.
A stork might not always do the job of pairing babies and their mammas. Some babies and mammas get to choose each other. Mothers are known to be innately more careful and giving and one mamma hen on a farm in the town of Tayport proves that right when she incubated a baby we couldn't have guessed was not her own. After the farm's owner learned what one of their chickens was doing, rescuers from the Scottish SPCA got to witness what they call an "unusual" yet "cute" baby the hen was looking after. In a press release, Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) rescue officer Beth Galbraith elaborated further.
"We received a call from a member of the public who advised a squirrel had been coming into their hen house and sleeping under a chicken for several days. The squirrel kit had likely been separated from his mother and had been seeking warmth and comfort from the hen. The hen wasn't fussed at all with the new addition!" he shared.
Surprisingly, even though she could have driven him away in his hunt for safety, the squirrel's adoptive mother seemed to enjoy her job as his caregiver, "incubating" him like she would her own offspring. "The kit was very thin and dehydrated so is now under the care of our wildlife hospital we will rear him until he is healthy and old enough to be released back into the wild," Galbraith continued.
Galbraith, though, knew that the little squirrel would require more care and attention than the hen could provide, so he took him to a wildlife hospital. The National Wildlife Rescue Centre has taken care of the squirrel kit, which will be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. About the rescue, the officer added, "This was a very unusual rescue but also a very cute one!"
Keeping myself distracted until the GCSE results hit at 8am 😩— Cat Senior (@gingersquirrel7) August 24, 2023
The kit is now being cared for by the Scottish SPCA. https://t.co/jeRreEsXzX
Previously in 2018, the Scottish SPCA managed to save three helpless baby squirrels who were blasted out of a nest and discovered in Perthshire by a member of the public who contained them and kept them overnight before calling the animal protection organization in the morning. They were the charity's first red squirrels of the season. They were named after "Lord of the Rings" characters Frodo, Smeagle and Pippin. They were being hand-reared at the charity's National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross after being rescued, reports Discover Wildlife.
Despite being hand-reared, human contact was kept minimal. When they were fully weaned, they were moved to a big indoor enclosure, followed by an outdoor enclosure when they were robust enough to be independent. Centre manager Colin Seddon said at the time of rescue, "It’s good that they have come in together as this will help their development before their return to the wild, at a supported release site."
Red squirrels are found to be native to the British Isles but have been endangered in many areas, owing in part to disease transmission from invasive grey squirrels, which carry the pox virus. The organization recommends people to use caution when cutting down trees and trimming hedges and first check for nests.