How to Save a Squirrel With a Broken Leg
In my last article, I discussed how to save a baby squirrel that had fallen. I talked about sarcoptic mange and how to care for a baby squirrel. This article will also talk about bruising caused by a fall. You’ll also learn how to provide a shallow cardboard box and bedding for your baby squirrel. If you have more questions, you can always contact me.
Bruising after a fall
A young Western Gray Squirrel fell from its nest, and was subsequently captured by a dog. He was transported to the Wildlife Hospital with a broken leg. Its leg is immobilized in a plastic cast (normally used to heal pigeons). Despite its large stump, the young squirrel quickly learned how to climb. Afterward, it has recovered enough strength to move into the big squirrel cage.
The first step is to find a rehabilitator or wildlife rescue center in the area where the injured squirrel is injured. The squirrel must be taken to an area where predators are minimal. In the meantime, it will take several days for the injured squirrel to readjust to its natural environment. Also, it is best to avoid releasing the injured squirrel near highways, busy streets, or intersections.
If you’re trying to save an adult squirrel with a broken foot, you may be wondering how to treat sarcoptic mange. This cutaneous skin infection is treatable but can also lead to neurological symptoms. A veterinarian is the best source of information on the best treatment for sarcoptic mange. However, if you’re not a wildlife rehabilitator, veterinary treatment may be necessary.
Keeping a baby squirrel warm in a shallow cardboard box
If you’ve spotted a baby squirrel, you should not approach it unless you’re sure it’s in the best condition possible. A shallow cardboard box with some warm material placed inside will keep the animal comfortable. A flannel shirt or other covering is also a good idea. Keeping the baby squirrel warm in the box can prevent the animal from becoming dehydrated.
Keeping the animal warm is essential to its recovery. Make sure it has a safe hiding place in the box, such as a corner or the bottom of a shallow plastic bag. Then, let it rest and destress for 15 to 30 minutes. The box should have a lid and ventilation holes to prevent the animal from overheating and becoming dehydrated.
Providing a nest box and bedding
An injured squirrel needs supplementary heat. A nest box with bedding should be made of soft, rag-free material. A fleece or knit t-shirt is a good choice. Do not use terrycloth towels, as these can catch a squirrel’s claws or toes. A nest box made of cedar chips may not be appropriate.
If the baby squirrel is too young to be released outside, you may want to provide a crook-side nest box for them. When the nest box is ready, place it in a warm tree crook. Provide bedding and towels for the baby squirrel. The baby squirrel may vocalize and may even attempt to climb onto humans. The baby squirrel may have been left alone for a long time.
Humanely killing a squirrel
While it’s not always necessary to kill a squirrel with a broken leg, there are some things you should do if you find one in your neighborhood. First, keep the leg raised. Breaks can result in the protective shell around the nail breaking off, exposing the tender tissue underneath. While a broken leg can still be very painful, you should try to keep the animal from eating until you’ve visited a doctor.
In addition to calling animal control, you should also try to catch the injured animal. It may be easy to spot an injured squirrel, since it’s often gnawing on things. Additionally, squirrels are constantly making scraping and rubbing sounds. Baby squirrels, on the other hand, make chirping noises, which is another warning sign. Regardless of how you decide to kill the animal, be careful to follow all laws and act quickly.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.