My time with Nebula and The Littles is growing short; this makes me both happy and sad at the same time. Happy & excited for them to go out in the trees where they’re meant to be, and sad for me because there’s something so magical about being so close to these little wild creatures.
Jamie really outdid himself with the soft-release cage, and The Guardians moved in last Monday, May 1st. The cage is completely wrapped on the inside with 1/2 inch hardware cloth—all sides plus the top and floor. This keeps the squirrels inside & unable to reach the wood to chew, but just as important, it ensures that no predator can get in, not even by digging under. He made me a double entry so I can get inside without possibility of any of them scrambling around me outside. Think Nebula.
He put in a small door for feeding, and it is a double door also. The outer swings out, and the inner swings in and up. On the other side of the door, he built a feeding shelf. He built the nest box, and it has its own predator guards, inside & out.
We filled it with limbs for climbing and Kevin’s cat tree. The top is mostly open, but he put panels over the cat tree, nest box, and feed shelf to protect from rain.
We brought in leafy limbs for cover, and we switch those out every couple of days as Nebula strips them and takes the leaves inside the nest box.
From the inside
The timing was perfect because, big as it is, the Critter Nation cage was just too small for four very rambunctious squirrels. Plus cleaning it every day was getting near impossible with everyone trying to escape. Nebula did…four times. I haven’t handled them a lot, so getting her back in without letting somebody else out was quite the trick.
Let me out!
Moving day was beautiful, and it couldn’t have gone any smoother than it did. We rolled the Critter Nation cage to the release cage, and The Guardians jumped inside their nappy. Well, almost everyone went in—Rocket had to be encouraged.
Once he was in, I stuffed a towel in the opening, unclipped it, and moved it just below the new nest box, where we had installed hooks to hang it.
I expected no movement from them that day, but to my amazement, Nebula came right out. Within thirty minutes, she had explored every inch of the cage. She moved right in to the nest box, and by that afternoon, all four had moved. Yondu did not explore the cage though for a couple of days.
So how do they like it? They love it! In addition to acclimating to the sights sounds & weather of the outdoors, they’re doing bigger jumps and foraging in the leaves and dirt and plants we put inside. And they’re wilding up. Drax has very little to do with me, Yondu nothing. She won’t even acknowledge my presence and will not take food from me no matter how much of a treat it is. This is a good thing—they need to be wild.
The rest of these photos are just some of my favorites showing their life here. In less than three weeks, we’ll open a little portal Jamie cut into the hardware cloth, and they’ll be free to come and go. I’ll support them with daily meals as long as they visit the release cage.
I love them, and I’ll miss them. It’s been quite the adventure!