Care information for injured or orpahaned squirrels.
Be sure to also read our basic instructions here.
Sometimes, the babies will still be out there calling for their mom or they may have crawled under some pine straw or ground cover. The babies almost sound like a bird – very high pitch, usually in 3 to 4 chirps at a time.
Many times healthy babies can be reunited with mom, but do not attempt this until you have talked with a rehabber. Keep a baby warm by putting a jar of hot water in a box (stuffed in a sock) or double up Ziploc bags with hot water and put the baby in a box or bucket with the heat supplement and toweling.
Another option is to take a cup of uncooked rice and place this in an old sock. Microwave the rice/sock for about a minute. Continue to microwave until the rice/sock feels warm, but not hot, to touch. Place in the box with the baby squirrel. Use toweling or blankets that are natural colors (browns, greens etc.) The box or bucket can be nailed to the side of the tree. Don’t use a box too deep or the mother will not come in and be able to jump out with the baby in her mouth. Keep all kids, dogs and cats away from the area and watch from a window. Check the warmth of the baby every 30 minutes and bring a new hot water source to change out or microwave the rice/sock if it feels cool. If there is more than one baby, it may take the mother 30 minutes or longer between times in collect her babies and moving them to a new nest. It can take the mom several hours to locate all the babies. Sometimes the mother comes right after dark. Never leave them out any longer than 30 minutes after dark unless you find that she has moved one or two already. If she has then give her another hour to finish moving them.
Sometimes a rehabber will ask you to bring the baby/babies back inside and keep them warm through the night and attempt to reunite again at dawn. Do not be tempted to feed the animal as it will change the smell and the mother may not take him back. Again, calling a rehabber and going through the steps are very important.
Even eyes opened squirrels need their moms for a long time. Don’t be tempted to put the squirrel back on the tree it fell from. Small squirrels that look fully developed are still in need of care most of the time. Baby squirrels need their mom for up to 12 weeks of age at a minimum.
Many times babies will crawl out of a nest and out onto a limb crying when something has happened to the mother (dead)—- they will eventually fall. Many will survive the fall if they land on the ground. Sometimes a tree climber with a tree cutting service will charge a small fee to climb up and get the babies. Babies will also crawl out of the nest if it is heavily infested with fleas….many times falling to the ground.
“I was walking by and a little squirrel ran up to me” or “my children said that a young squirrel kept following them around”, are signs indicating squirrels definitely need rescuing. They are usually dehydrated and starving. This is a sign that something has happened to the mother and the young squirrel doesn’t know how to care for himself even though they are fully furred and running around. There are probably more siblings around if they haven’t already died. Listen for the high pitched cry and keep checking for 3 days in the same area. It is amazing how long these little guys can live.
Remember do not feed or give water to these babies. This could cause more harm than good. Let an experienced rehabber handle this.
Most adults that come in have been hit by cars, attacked by cat or dog, or have been trapped in someone’s fireplace or attic for days. These animals need immediate attention. Call a rehabber immediately and follow instructions for supplement heat on the former page under Injured and Orphaned Wildlife as soon as possible.
To catch an adult squirrel you can put boxes over them and slide a thin piece of board very slowly under the animal. Also, a baseball cap will do to push the animal into a box or carrier.