Baby squirrels are the mammal most frequently brought to wildlife rehab in our area. If you find one, below is the best way to help!
If you do find a tiny squirrel out there, we always want your first thought to be - how do I reunite this baby with its mama? and not - how do I get this baby to a human wildlife rehabber?
Wildlife babies are ALWAYS better off with their mamas! Coming to a human rehabber should be the last resort. So the best way to help squirrel babies that you find is to follow these steps:
1. Even in warm weather, the baby may be cold...and especially so during the late winter and early spring months! We want the baby to stay WARM (but not hot!). Put the baby into a cardboard box with some type of heating mechanism like a heating pad, hot water bottle, or plastic water bottle filled with warm water. Make sure not to place the baby directly on the heating source - put a layer or two of towels between the baby and the heat.
2. Take a look outside - do you see a squirrel mama that is frantically looking for her baby? If not, where do you normally see squirrels in your yard? Scope out the best area to place this baby where its mama will find it and return it to the nest.
3. Take the entire box and affix it to the tree as high up as you can. This may mean nailing or duct taping the box to the tree, wedging the box into some branches, or tying the box to the tree. "I don't have a ladder! I feel unsteady on a stepstool!" That's okay! Get the box as high off the ground as you can while still being safe - it may be 5 feet off the ground. That's okay!
4. Watch and wait. Keep household pets inside the house. This webpage has some baby squirrel cries that you can play to draw the mama squirrel to the area: www.urbanutopiawildlife.org/reunite. Make sure the baby isn't in direct sunlight. Do this for TWO HOURS MAXIMUM.
5. If the mama squirrel hasn't returned within TWO HOURS, check out our homepage at www.bidwellwildliferehab.org for information on how to contact one of our rehab volunteers.
Can this be a lot of work? Yep. You'll need to find a suitable box and heating source, you'll need to find a way to affix the box to the tree, and keep an eye on the situation. It's a lot.
We SO appreciate those of you who are willing to go out of your way to help these babies - it truly does take all of us, and not just a small group of BWR volunteers, to keep our community wildlife safe and healthy!