Dingetjie had gone into labour in the little toilet paper nest that Simone had made for her. “We had to assist her during birth as she fell asleep and did not have any energy to complete the process,” Unfortunately, however, the baby was stillborn.
On a cold and windy day in South Africa, a tiny little squirrel fell out of her nest in a tree. Simone Serfontein was at her friend’s house when the event occurred. The squirrel, now known as Digetjie, cried for her mother but her mom never returned.
Simone decided to take Dingetjie home with her to help. But little did she know, this was the start of a magical adventure.
“We honestly did not think that this tiny thing would make it, but we needed to try and help this baby,”
At the time, Simone was just trying to help Dingetjie survive the night. “When we picked her up her body temperature was very cold and she was obviously very scared,” Simone said. “Her eyes were still closed … We kept her nice and warm and she eventually stopped screaming.”
Simone and her boyfriend Christof had to do a lot of research to make sure they could help the tiny squirrel in such a short amount of time. Serfontein had to get up several times during the night to feed the squirrel.
“I did not really know anything about raising a baby squirrel and had to do a lot of research, I never knew that raising a squirrel could be this hard.”
But it wasn’t just food and warmth that Dingetjie needed, she also had preferences. “She did not like the idea of being in a cage at all,” Simone said. Serfontein made a little nest for Dingetjie in a shoe box filled with tissue. “It was only a matter of time until she refused to sleep in the shoe box and preferred the bed with me.”
Simone, obviously, had her own life with a lot of commitments and responsibilities that she couldn’t put on hold for the squirrel, but she didn’t want to let Dingetjie go so she brought her along for the ride.
“She went with me to work every day for the first three months. I normally fed her when I woke up and then get ready and then she got into my scarf, shirt or anywhere warm close to my body and off we went to work.”
When was it time for Simone to say goodbye to Dingetjie?
Serfontein knew that this wouldn’t be a permanent arrangement. Dingetjie was, of course, a wild animal. It would be wrong to keep her locked indoors. Simone knew that eventually, she would have to say goodbye.
The couple went into the garden with Dingetjie and put her down on the grass to see how she would interact. “Next thing, she got into a tree and her natural instincts immediately kicked in,” Simone recounted. “It was pretty amazing and sad at the same time.” Though it was sad for Simone, she knew it was the best for the squirrel to be back in the wild.
If you think the story ends there, you would be very much mistaken. Dingetjie loved visiting, she returned over and over again. Each time this happened, Simone thought it would be the last time.
“But then every day when I came home she would be there either waiting or maybe she’d see me walking home from a tree or something and then a few minutes later she will run inside to come and say hello.”
Simone and Christof’s house was still a home to Dingetjie and she loved visiting. Though the squirrel knows how to make nests, Serfontein would often find Dingetjie snuggled up beside her in bed. “She knows this house is a safe and warm place,”
For 6 months this became a normal routine. But Simone realised that Dingetjie was gaining a lot of weight, even for a growing squirrel. “We knew she made a few squirrel friends but also thought that she was not yet sexually active. We then discovered that she was pregnant.” Yes, Dingetjie was a pregnant squirrel.
Dingetjie the squirrel was pregnant!
“We thought she left, and because she was pregnant, she might have decided to be wild after all. But that was not the case.”
Simone doesn’t think the squirrel was ready to have children as she was only around 6 months old. But just over a year later, Dingetjie started to gain weight again. Dingetjie returned to the house and began constructing another nest out of toilet paper. In fact, she made multiple around the house.
Dingetjie the pregnant squirrel went into labour for the second time
This time, it was a success! Dingetjie became a mother to a healthy little girl. Simone was by her side throughout the whole process.
“There is so much trust, she allows us to look, touch and hold her baby.”
Serfontein cherished the experience of being able to bond with Dingetjie and her newborn. She also had no idea this would have happened when she rescued the squirrel almost 2 years prior.
Though Dingetjie is a wild creature that spends most of her time outside, she knows she always has a home with Serfontein. Simone’s house became a safe place for her to keep her baby.
“I really think that it’s impossible to ever explain the relationship we have with her and the relationship she has with us, It’s honestly the most incredible thing I have ever experienced.”
How amazing is this bond with Simone and Dingetjie the pregnant squirrel? Have you ever bonded with a wild animal? At Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section below. 🐝