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A SQUIRREL'S TALE: Back to health and into the wild

Squirrels nurse back to health and released into the wild

Several months ago we introduced you to Columbus resident Steve Shenk (shank) who rehabilitates
sick and abandoned squirrels.

You saw his "pet projects" in their rehab environment in Steve's home in my last story. Over the weekend Steve released three of his fully rehabilitated gray squirrels back into the wild and we were there.

Saturday morning Steve headed to a beautiful piece of private property in Harris County carrying two wooden release boxes which he handmade.

"It's okay babies.  Papa's right here," said Steve Shank.

Two squirrels were in one box. Charlotte was in the other. 

This is actually a beautiful area.

"There's huge oak trees with huge acorns. Couldn't ask for a better area to release
squirrels in," said Shenk.

Steve had already scouted the area to find two sturdy trees to hold the boxes.  

"Two babies in this one Phil," said Shenk.

A ladder helps him get the boxes about 15-20 feet off the ground. 

"Okay babies, almost time to be real squirrels," said Shenk. 

In just minutes Steve has the squirrels' temporary home securely fastened to the tree.

"If they last one season to protect the squirrel who hasn't had the opportunity to make a nest, then basically, it's done its job."

After about 15 minutes the first squirrel tentatively ventures outside the box staying close to the hole then eventually climbs up on top. 

Mission accomplished for this pair. Now, it's Charlotte's turn. 

"Today is a happy-sad day. Charlotte we've had since the middle of July, so it's like sending a kid off to college but you know they're not coming home."

 The same care is given to attaching charlotte's box to her tree.

"It's okay. She's in there rattling around." 

Steve takes the tape off the hole retreats down the ladder then waits. 

"The moment of truth after 3-and-a-half months. "Char, Char! Hey baby!" 

Finally, after seemingly an eternity of waiting, Charlotte's nose appears through the opening and she catches the first glimpse of her new home. 

Steve says he still has 17 left at home. 




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