By Kristiana Hall
A kind-hearted man has saved a baby squirrel by feeding him around the clock like a baby and keeping him warm in his shirt pocket.
Animal lover, Jacob Lewis Dowd, stepped in to help the vulnerable baby squirrel after finding him in a nest near his Florida home with two dead siblings and no parents in sight.
Fearing the worst Jacob whisked the youngster, who he later called Pedro, back to his house and recreated a cosy nest for him to live in.
Jacob, 20, said: “There was a nest near my house really low to the ground.
“Pedro was in there with two dead ones, one had it’s head chewed off. Grown male squirrels will sometimes kill babies so that they can mate with the female, like other animals females will not mate when they have young.
“The dead ones were fresh, so I assumed the male was still close and there was a possibility of it coming back. So I took him from the nest.
“He had full hair but his eyes were still closed. He was very cute and helpless so I felt I had to rescue it. I love helping animals.”
Caring Jacob, who hopes to become a park ranger one day, went on to nurture Pedro feeding him around the clock from a syringe and popping him in his shirt pocket to help him feel safe and warm.
He said: “When I first found him, I put him in a 10 gallon glass aquarium with moss in it. The moss had a cosy hole in it, I tried to make it as similar to his original nest as possible.
“The first thing I fed him was pedialyte, he needed to be hydrated before I could feed him. After that I fed him baby formula with a small 1mm syringe.
“Eventually I upgraded him from a 1mm syringe to a 5mm, then to a 10mm.
“I fed him four or five times a day, less as he got older and got onto solid foods. I fed him rodent blocks, seeds, assorted unsalted nuts, and blueberries.
“Also, early into having him I upgraded him from the tank cage to a huge bird cage.
“He needed a bigger enclosure because he was getting more active. I had the cage in my room, but for the last week and a half I put the cage out side, so he would get used to the outdoors.
“It was an amazing experience, and my friends have me to come to if they ever find an orphaned squirrel.
“I should note however, that if you ever find a baby squirrel on the ground by itself, wait a bit to see if the mum comes back before you take it and try to raise it yourself.
“They love their babies and will carry them back up the tree.”
After seven weeks Jacob released Pedro back into the wild.
He added: “He did form a bond with me. He was very tame and felt safe with me around.
“He liked licking and nibbling my fingers when I held him which are signs of affection and socialising.
“I put him in my pocket when he was at a younger age and he would fall asleep in there.
“It was hard to release him back to the wild but I was very happy that I successfully raised him.
“I took him to the base of a tree to release him and he ran 20 feet up it immediately.
“I didn’t keep him because he would become to hard to take care of eventually and I would rather have him living how he was supposed to live.
“An acrobatic, active, and healthy squirrel like him should not stay in a cage.”