Squirrels are the earliest mammal wildlife babies that will come our way; 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. The baby will be cold, especially in these winter and early spring months! Bring the baby inside and put it in a cardboard box with some soft fleece or towels, and a tightly sealed water bottle with hot water in it. You can also make a heating pad with a ziploc bag and uncooked rice - directions are here: www.themakeyourownzone.com/make-your-own-heating-pads-and-ice-packs.
Be sure to put one or two layers of fabric between the baby and the hot water bottle - in other words, don't put the baby directly on or next to the source of warmth. Don't try to give the baby any food or liquid!!! Exposure to the elements (heat or cold) will be fatal to the baby long before lack of food or liquid.
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, including baby and heat source, 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 even has some baby squirrel cries that you can play to draw the mama squirrel to the area: www.urbanutopiawildlife.org/reunite. Reheat the heating source as needed.
5. If the mama squirrel hasn't returned in a few 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, you'll need to find or make a heating source, you'll need to find a way to affix the box to the tree. 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!