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Meet The Couple Who Foster Red Squirrel Kittens

Jerry Moss, 53, and partner Sarah McNeil, 57, take on the adorable role of fostering rescued baby squirrels.

A couple foster baby red SQUIRREL kittens in their home – which includes hand-feeding them milk from a syringe.

Jerry Moss, 53, and partner Sarah McNeil, 57, take on the adorable role of fostering rescued baby squirrels before they are returned to the wild.

The adorable videos show Oscar – a misleadingly named baby female squirrel – as she gets looked after and pampered by Jerry and Sarah.

Oscar, affectionately nicknamed ‘Princess Oscar’ is around six weeks old and has been living in Jerry and Sarah’s dining room since March 17, after being rescued by Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group.

Looking after a baby squirrel involves feeding her puppy milk roughly every four hours and playing with her to mimic interaction with her siblings.

But the couple, from Penrith, Cumbria, have to keep enough distance that Oscar will eventually be able to adapt to a life back in the wild when she is released in early summer.

Jerry, who has fostered up to 20 squirrel kittens with Sarah in the past, said: “When we first got Princess Oscar, she was three or four weeks old and still had her eyes closed.

“We’ve been feeding her with puppy milk and now she’s getting so strong and opened her eyes.

“She’s in a small-ish hamster cage in the front room at the moment, but we’ll put her bigger ones as she grows and starts climbing.

“You do start to develop a bond with them, but you have to lose that bond so that they are ready to return to the wild.

“We know these animals aren’t meant to be kept in cages, we do what we need to do so they can go and live in the wild again.”

Jerry and Sarah, who both work with Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group, got a call a fortnight ago to ask if they could foster Oscar.

They were told how a woman had been watching in her garden as Oscar’s mother had tried to carry her kittens – baby squirrels – across the lawn.

But Oscar was been dropped when the mother ran away after a cat began to chase her, and she was left to fend for herself.

The couple took Oscar into their home and began the fostering process, which they have done for the Squirrel Group many times before.

Jerry said: “Sarah has that motherly instinct – she does a lot more than me.

“She does a smashing job looking after Oscar.”

Jerry explained how Oscar – who was named when she was originally thought to be male – needs hand-feeding roughly every four hours – done using a syringe of puppy formula.

Since they got Oscar two weeks ago, she has grown much stronger and has even opened her eyes now.

She lives in their dining room in a hamster cage but will soon need to get a larger cage as she continues to grow, so she can learn how to climb.

Eventually, she will be moved into an outdoor pen to acclimatise her before her eventual return to the wild.

Jerry said: “At the moment, Sarah likes to tickle and play with her to give her the same kind of interaction she would have with her siblings.

“Oscar also has a cuddly sheep toy she loves to roll around with and pretend to wrestle with.”

They expect Oscar to be ready to return to the wild in around early this summer, so she can live like a squirrel is supposed to in the forests.

Jerry admitted it can be tough keeping distance from the squirrels as they continue to grow – although the couple knows it’s for the best.

He said: “You do get attached to them, but you have to push them away when they go and live in an outside pen.

“You build a bond but you have to lose it again so they can live wild.

“It’s like being cruel to be kind.”

For a little while longer yet, Oscar will remain in the capable hands of Jerry and Sarah, who have been doing just this for many years.

Jerry, who is a trustee for Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group, said: “It’s easy to get wrapped up in red squirrel conservation.

“For us, it’s a way of life.”

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