If you find a baby squirrel on the ground, it has fallen out of the nest. If it is cold, the first thing you need to do is get it warm. You want to treat these babies gently and carefully, just like you would a human baby.
Some suggestions for warming the cold baby are:
- Put the baby on a soft piece of cloth in a container with a heating pad on LOW setting halfway across the bottom of the container. Leaving half of the container bottom surface off the heating pad allows the baby to crawl to the cooler side if it gets too hot.
- You can put dry rice or beans in an old sock, tie the end, and heat in the microwave Put the heated sock near but not on the baby.
- Frequently, rehabilitators warm cold babies by placing them against their skin. Human body temperature is sufficient to warm a cold baby squirrel.
Once the baby is warm, you can attempt to reunite it with the mother. Mother squirrels will often carry a baby back to the nest, but the baby has to be warm. Otherwise, the mother squirrel will think the baby is dead. Place the warm baby squirrel in a container with some soft leaves or grass and affix the container to the tree under which you found the baby squirrel. You may be able to see the squirrel nest; it will be a big leafy clump at the top of the tree. Leave the area or hide yourself because the mother will not come for the baby if she knows you are present. If the mother has not claimed the baby in several hours or if, upon checking, the baby is cold again, bring the baby into the house to warm again. Do not leave a baby squirrel in a container in a tree overnight because a predator will eat it.
Do not attempt to feed the baby. Keep the baby warm and dry in a quiet place while you call us.
As rehabilitators, we have watched squirrels regain the use of their paralyzed rear legs. Adult squirrels often suffer spinal cord injuries or broken pelvises when falling out of trees or being hit by cars. The healing process takes time. If you find an injured squirrel, call us for advice on capturing the animal because he/she can and will bite and bite hard.