How to Save a Squirrel Baby
Before you attempt to save a squirrel baby, make sure you’re dealing with a real one. Check for fluff and length to be sure it’s not a furry pet. A squirrel is probably fine if it is a fluffy baby with a long body and fluffed tail. If it doesn’t have any obvious wounds or signs of trauma, it most likely fell out of its nest. Before you approach the baby, check for nearby nests or other squirrels.
Remove a baby squirrel from the environment
To remove a baby squirrel from the environment, first prepare the cage and a heating pad for it. It should be left in the cage for about a week. Once the squirrel has stopped returning, you can gradually reduce the amount of interaction with it. You should open the door of the cage in the morning, leave it open for most of the day, and then secure the door for the night. Continue this process until the squirrel no longer comes back to its cage.
First, assess the health of the squirrel. If the squirrel is too weak or is too young, it may need veterinary care. Once the squirrel is healthy, it can be released. If it was abandoned, it would have a difficult time avoiding humans. However, if it is released outdoors, it should have a chance to avoid humans. It may be more effective if a human is present to care for the baby than the mother.
Once the squirrel is clean and healthy, try to introduce it to new foods slowly. For example, if you introduce a baby squirrel to new food too quickly, it might choke on it. For this reason, start with a soft washcloth or a Q-tip, which can simulate a mother’s tongue grooming the baby. Then, stimulate the baby squirrel’s genital area with a Q-tip. This stimulation should continue for several minutes, or until it is fully empty.
Remove a baby squirrel from a cage
The best way to care for a baby squirrel is to leave it alone. The squirrel will be desperate to find its lost child. If you do manage to find the baby, leave it alone until it is old enough to care for itself. If you do not know how to care for a baby squirrel, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. A wildlife rehabilitator will be able to assess the baby and provide proper care.
First, prepare to bathe the squirrel. To make this easy, you can use a spray of dish soap and warm water. Make sure to keep the baby squirrel’s nose and face clean. You can also use a Q-tip to stimulate the squirrel’s genital region. Then, let it dry for a while. It should be stimulated for several minutes to empty its bladder.
Keeping baby squirrels in cages is a good idea for both the mother and the baby. When left alone, baby squirrels overcome their fear of humans and begin to approach people. They may climb up their legs, but this is usually because it’s been left alone for too long. If you are unsure of how to handle a squirrel, make sure to wear thick gloves and cover your hands with a thick towel. If you can’t find a squirrel to handle, you can put the animal on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
Move a baby squirrel to a cage out of high traffic
A pre-release cage is the best place to release a squirrel when it is eight weeks old. It should be at least four feet by two feet and should be made of 1″ welded wire mesh. It should also have a wooden nest box. The floor of the cage should be covered with plywood to prevent the baby squirrel from falling out of the wires. Cleaning the cage daily is important, and a plastic tarpaulin placed under an old sheet will catch debris.
A single orphan squirrel will bond with its caregiver. It’s important to keep interactions with other people to a minimum. If possible, provide toys and other tactile stimulation. Keep in mind that squirrels do not tolerate contact with humans well, so move a baby squirrel to a cage out of high traffic areas. While it might not be ideal to remove the baby squirrel from its mother’s den, it will likely be safe in a cage.
If a squirrel’s home is in a place with high human traffic, try to move it to a cage out of the way of traffic. While this may seem like an extreme measure, it’s a very effective way to save a squirrel’s life. While many of us might not be able to save the entire animal, we can help them recover.
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.