Whether you're a country bumpkin or a city dweller, you've all seen the antics of our most common squirrel, the Eastern Gray Squirrel. As with most animals you can usually expect to see baby squirrels, with or without their parents, in your yard in the warmer months. Because they can start breeding as early as late January, their first litters can be born in early March. A second litter follows in August. Although born naked, deaf and toothless, they are on their own in a mere 14 weeks!
Squirrels are in the rodent family and are not carriers of rabies. However, always use caution around any wild animal and always wear gloves. If you are not comfortable containing the animal, call us for advice.
Be careful! Squirrels use their teeth as a defense! If unconscious or badly injured, cover it with a towel, scoop up gently with a shovel into a container or place a laundry basket over the top of the animal, slide a thin board under it and flip. Secure the board to the laundry basket with strong tape. If the animal is conscious, wearing gloves, steer it into a corner situation and then place the laundry basket over the top of it.
Don't assume the mother is dead. Many babies are separated when their nest is disturbed. If there is a dead adult squirrel in the road, check to see if it's lactating.
Ask the following questions:
Are the babies cold? If the babies are small and very lethargic, feel the babies bodies. They should feel warmer than your hand. If the babies are cold, warm them up with a heating pad or hot water bottle.
Are the babies dehydrated? Wearing gloves, gently pinch up the skin on their back. The skin should return to the normal position in 1-2 seconds.
Are the babies following people around? If yes, it is very likely they do need help. Check for temperature and dehydration as above.
If the answer to any of the above is yes, contact us for further instructions. If the answer to all three is no, try to reunite the babies as follows:
Place babies in box large enough that they can't get out but small enough where mother can get in. Place them in soft cloths with a homemade hot water bottle (place hot water in a 16 oz. soda or water bottle, place bottle inside a sock) If after dark, hold them indoors in above mentioned warmed box and wait until daybreak. Leave the box near to the area where the babies were found. Check in approximately 4-6 hours or until darkness falls. Stay completely out of sight.
Remember, mother has alternate nests. She moves them around from nest to nest on a regular basis so these methods work even if nest was destroyed. If there are cats in the area, frighten the cat away, first.