At first glance, the scene appears normal: a Chihuahua mother appearing to cuddle with her pups as they nurse. A closer look at the days-old babies reveals they are no canines, but four tiny squirrels.
A Columbia County family said its dog’s maternal instinct kicked in when 10-year-old Mimi laid her eyes on the baby squirrels. Mimi took the motherless squirrels in as if they were her own, making for one mix-and-match family.
Their eyes are still closed, but their tails are a dead giveaway that Mimi’s babies are baby squirrels — three females and one male.
Derek Varnes said he found the squirrels last week. He works for a tree cutting company and found their nest on a downed limb. “I didn’t know what to think. They looked like rats at first,” Varnes said. “I wasn’t going to leave them. They say after they’re out of the nest or the tree, the momma won’t mess with them anymore. I wasn’t going to let them die.”
He gave the squirrels to his fiancee’s mother, Jeanette Young. “My 10-year-old Chihuahua would come and watch me and start whining and carrying on,” Young said. “I thought she was going to eat them.
She said when she eventually put the squirrels down, Mimi started licking them to clean them and then began nursing them.
Young said although Mimi’s last litter was born four years ago, the dog is still able to make enough milk to keep the baby squirrels full. Mimi doesn’t venture far from her new little ones. “She don’t like for me to touch them either,” Young said.
She credited maternal instinct for Mimi’s behavior and said the dog is a better mom this time around than with her own puppies four years ago. “She seems much calmer; she seems like it was just meant for her to have them and take care of them,” Young said.
She said a veterinarian told her as long Mimi is able to feed the squirrels, the babies would continue to grow and be healthy.