A while ago the mother of the squirrel kits in my ceiling did not return and they went out looking for her. We found two on our path and one other found its way into the gap below the apex in the roof and called and called with the most plaintive sound. I went up to look and found it. The little thing submitted willingly to me lifting it out. And so we learnt how and raised these three little creatures.
They were very busy and insistent at feeding time:
They were very cute. And after they had left the box in our spare room they hung around our garden for a while. Sometimes they would jump on me to look for food
And they would come and look for me in the studio
We got so used to them that we were quite shocked to see what Sinead described as the “morbidly obese” squirrels in the Company Gardens in Cape Town.
I tried to paint them – though this was hard to do as they were very busy. This is a watercolour of Emily the squirrel
Watercolour on 300gm Arches 190x140mm
I had to bribe her with cashew nuts to sit for me.
The squirrels have all grown quite fast and are now living in an aviary in our garden. Today Emily got out and explored in the garden then came back. It is good though there is a black sparrowhawk hunting in the area that catches doves and I am sure it would love to eat a little squirrel. Still that is the risk they face in life – at least hey have been given a start.
They are very cute little creatures.
Here they are looking for something nice to eat.
And here they stole my pencil.
They are very busy.
And here is something sad (from May 2016) :
On Sunday morning the dogs broke through the door of the aviary. The others ran up the mesh but one of the dogs caught Emily. I found her in their box and she attacked my hand. I did not know why but later I saw her climbing up the wire with her hands with her legs hanging limp behind her. It was just awful.
I left her for a while to see if this was temporary but it was obvious that there was something seriously wrong. Aura and I spoke about it and decided to take her to the Vet. He confirmed that her spine was broken. It was just horrible. I held her while he gave her an injection in her abdomen that he said would make her drowsy and then she would quietly die. Poor little thing, she was in pain and terrified.
I left her wrapped in their blankets and found her later and did this painting. I am still sad about it. They are such delightful little creatures. The other two have settled down now.
This is my painting of Emily.