National Park Service employees escorted some surprise visitors off White House property on Monday — five tiny, baby squirrels.
Mary Ashley Laine, a veterinarian at City Wildlife — the organization that took in the creatures after the National Park Service kicked them out of their presidential birthplace — said the little critters, who appear to be no more than a week old, were born in a nest in a tree near the White House.
A National Park Service employee who was cutting tree branches chopped down the babies’ leafy home without knowing they were there. Once National Park Service workers spotted the nest, they quickly escorted the five babies to a quiet room and called City Wildlife to come get them.
Laine said that all five — two females, three males — are in good health. They gained weight during their first night at the animal refuge, though all five can fit in a human’s two hands.
Since they were separated from their mother when the bough broke, they are living in an incubator, and right now, their days are simple: “Just like other newborns, they mostly sleep,” Laine said. They are also fed six times a day.
When they get older, City Wildlife staff will let them play outside, where they will learn to find their own food and to avoid contact with humans. To facilitate those natural instincts, City Wildlife does not name the animals it houses.
The organization often takes in baby squirrels who fall from trees on windy or stormy days, Laine said. So far, it has rehabilitated more than 30 fallen squirrel babies this year.
When the babies are ready, after at least two months, they’ll return to the wild, Laine said. But releasing them, in this case, might require some presidential permission: “We like to send them back to as close to where they came from as possible.”
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