BELMONT, Mich. -- Releasing rehabilitated squirrels back into the wild isn't just a matter of opening up a cage and letting them go. First rescuers, like Kelly Spruit of Belmont, has to place them in release cages. After spending a week in the outdoor cages getting used to the environment, she opens the door and lets them roam freely.
Spruit explains, “I need more than one good day of weather. They’re going to have to come out here and realize it is colder, they’re not going to have heating blankets and all the comforts they have inside the house."
For the past few months Kelly Spruit has been nursing the critters back to health, after they were injured and abandoned during August's tornadoes that ripped through West Michigan. “I got at least 20 calls that day," Spruit says, "After the tornado, people were finding squirrels everywhere."
The baby squirrels were knocked from their trees during those storms, some sustaining head injuries and broken limbs, while others were abandoned by their mother. Spruit says, “For the most part once they get on a heating pad and they know they’re with somebody who cares, they make it.”
With Spruit's tender loving care, bottle feeding every four hours when they were little, massaging the ones with broken and sore limbs, she's finally getting ready to release the final three. Once the weather improves she will set them up in the release cage and then in a week's time they will be set free.
Spruit says that most of the time the released squirrels don't go far, staying safe in the trees behind her home.