Rescue Squirrel Raised By Humans Believes He Is One, Too

by Rebecca Landman
Rebecca is a writer living the Los Angeles dream. She loves hiking, music, and crocheting on her couch to the background lull of Netflix. She believes our world is complex. By sharing and listening to each other’s stories, we unpack that complexity layer by layer, learning more about who we are and how we want to live our lives. She writes to keep learning.

When he was only 4 or 5 days old, Compton the squirrel fell from the rafters of Chris and Debbie Compton’s thatched roof, right in between their beds.

The little, thumb-sized cutie yelped and squealed for his mommy, so the Comptons waited about an hour with him, hoping she would soon return.

When she never showed, the animal lovers decided to turn him over to their friends, Michele and Ian Merrifield, who run Hoedspruit, South Africa’s Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage.

The Merrifields immediately started little Compton on hourly feedings, and quickly nursed him back to health. In no time at all, this tiny sweetheart began growing, maturing, and exploring his beautiful new home.

He loved wreaking all sorts of adorable havoc around the orphanage, from drinking his weight in juice to stealing whole rolls of toilet paper for his nests.

Raised by humans, this clever fellow absolutely loves hanging around his adoptive family.

Even after the Merrifields unlocked Compton’s evening cage, gifting him total freedom to venture back into the wild full-time, he continued reemerging every morning to breakfast with his human family.

Keep scrolling to learn more about this little squirrel’s adorable antics.

[H/T: The Dodo]

baby squirrel

During his first few days of life, little Compton the squirrel took a terrible tumble.

He fell from the thatched roof rafters of Chris and Debbie Compton’s home, right “splat” onto their bedroom floor.

baby squirrel

Little Compton, tiny and terrified, cried out incessantly for his mom, so the couple hoped she was still nearby.

They waited with him for her to return, but she never showed up.

So, after about an hour, the Comptons decided to take little Compton to Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage, where their friends, Ian and Michele Merrifield, care for hurt and orphaned wildlife as well as run programs educating local children about the surrounding environment.

baby squirrel

The Merrifields weren’t all that surprised to see little Compton. They’ve cared for many baby squirrels like him since starting their rescue.

“If there’s a threat such as a snake in the thatch, the mothers will carry their babies in their mouths,” Ian told the Dodo.

“If the snake chases them, they might drop the baby and run for their lives.

“We’ve had many over the years, falling from the roofs and rafters in a similar manner. At one stage, we had 10 volunteers at Daktari, and each one had a baby squirrel!”


For his first three weeks at the rescue, the Merrifields fed Compton warm milk through syringes on an hourly basis.

Then, his diet transitioned to a nutrient-rich porridge, and finally to fruits and seeds.


Over time, Compton grew bigger and stronger.

His new humans protected him in the evenings in his very own gated enclosure, but during the days, he was free to roam the grounds as he pleased.


Soon, this adorable squirrel began getting himself into all sorts of silly trouble.

He’d eat from the breakfast table, incessantly lick the rims of people’s glasses after they’d had Coca Colas, and steal whole rolls of toilet paper to build his nests.

Ian told the Dodo,“He would hang inside the glass, by his back legs, licking it up. Of course, quite often he would knock the glass over, trying to drink it.”


He continued, “He loved opening the peanut butter and jam jars with his teeth. He also loved stealing cereal, opening the sealed flaps of the containers. Very clever little fellow.”

squirrel and puppies

And once he grew tired from all his fun-filled exploring, this little cutie would cozy up for nice long naps with his doggy friends.

squirrel and puppies

Eventually, Compton became totally independent, and the Merrifields retired the gate on his nightly enclosure.

Though Compton was now completely free to venture back into the wild full-time, he still chose to sleep in his enclosure at night for around six months.

squirrel and puppies

One day, though, the Merrifields woke up, and Compton was nowhere to be found. He’d likely finally made himself a new forever home somewhere in the wild.

However, Compton wasn’t gone too long. Come breakfast time that very same day, he resurfaced, ready for his daily cereal fix.

He now returns every single morning, happy to break bread with his faithful humans.

Ian said: “I suppose he knows he’s safe here, and there’s always food. I also think he believes he’s human.

“He chases other squirrels away. I am also sure he believes everything is his, by right! He seems quite upset when you chase him away and really sneaks up again when he thinks you are not looking.”


After taking a serious tumble at a young age, Compton the squirrel found beautiful humans to call family, and continues showering them with love and affection day after day.

What do you think of this little squirrel’s rescue? Have you ever rescued an animal? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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