Chris Durham, Squirrel Rehabilitator

Posted on 18. Dec, 2009 by in Uncategorized

People don’t normally think of wildlife when they think of New York, but a number of squirrels, pigeons, and other animals call the city home. When they get hurt, usually as a result of interactions with humans, there are licensed individuals that take the time to nurse them back to health.

Chris Durham, is a rehabilitator that specializes in squirrels.  Though he is an actor and artist by trade, he frequently gets called on when New Yorkers find squirrels in distress.  His specialty is pinkies – baby squirrels that have fallen out of the nest.

This year the increase in babies lead to more abandoned babies.  Durham takes the babies into his Washington Heights apartment and nurses then until they are old enough to go out on their own – usually about 14 weeks old.

Chris Durham

Chris Durham

All rehabilitators stress that squirrels should not be kept as pets. They are feral and can damage property and even attack their owners. Durham recently released one squirrel, Max, back into the wild. His owners found him as a baby and decided to keep him. But as he got older, he became more aggressive. Though they tried releasing him into a park, he followed them back home. They even tried neutering him, hoping he would become more tame. When nothing worked, they found Durham. Durham took Max to his home in the Catskills and released him into the woods.

Rehabilitators say that if you find a baby squirrel, it’s best to leave it where it is, as the parents are usually nearby, watching over it. If you see a seriously injured squirrel, The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation keeps a list of licensed rehabilitators who can help the injured squirrel find a vet and long-term care if needed.

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