Bella, the squirrel was just 4 weeks old, she was attacked by an owl and left very badly injured. Bella would not have survived in the wild with those injuries, and luckily, a wildlife rescue group took her in. The group then placed her with Brantley Harrison and her family, who help rehabilitate animals.
In October 2009, Bella came to live Brantley Harrison since she wasn’t old enough to be released back into the wild. Harrison raised Bella along with three other squirrels: Larry, Moe, and Curly. The four little squirrels lived together in an outdoor release cage and were fed formula, fruits and veggies, and lots of nuts. While being rehabilitated, there wasn’t anything particularly special about Bella. She acted just like every other squirrel.
“Her personality was not any different than any other squirrel I have ever raised while she was in my care,” Harrison said. “The main objective is to return them all back into the wild so I never treated her like a pet. She acted no different than the others.”
Bella and the three other squirrels were finally ready to head back into the wild that April. They scurried up and down trees, eager to explore their new surroundings. All four squirrels were safely assimilated back into the wild within the week. However, Bella wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the family who had raised her.
“She started to come back for a treat or two within days of being released,” Harrison said. “The others came back too for a few days which is very typical and then after a week or so they usually stop coming by and getting close to you. Bella sits right at the front door waiting for someone to notice she has come by for a visit. She has even resorted to jumping over to the dining room window to peer in for someone to see her.”
It has been seven years since Bella was released back into the wild, and she still comes back to visit the family almost every day. She hangs out for a bit, sitting on her family members’ laps and happily accepts lots and lots of nuts. She doesn’t like to be petted, but loves being near her people.
“My husband will be running late for something and rushes out the door to be greeted by her and he HAPPILY runs back inside to the big bowl of walnuts we leave by the front door to grab a handful and goes back out to spend some time with her,” Harrison said.
Bella is like a member of the family, and her human family got to meet her squirrel family for the first time. Somehow Bella injured her foot and so her family caught her again, gave her antibiotics and put her back in one of their rehab cages so she could heal. She was ready to be released back into the wild when one day, she gave birth to three tiny babies, forcing her human family to care for the little squirrel family until the babies were old enough to be released.
“It was truly amazing to watch the baby I raised raise her own babies,” Harrison said.
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