If you find a baby squirrel on the ground, it may have fallen from its nest during a recent storm with heavy winds, from a predator attack or nest failure. There may also have been some kind of threat in the vicinity which frightened the mother away.
If the baby is cold to the touch, it has been separated from its mother too long and needs immediate help from a professional. CALL US.
If the entire nest has fallen and the babies are warm and uninjured, leave the babies in the nest where you found them since the mother will be only searching in that area. If the baby is warm but lacks fur or is too young to climb well, place the baby in a warmed towel shaped like a bowl so it will stay snuggled in and leave near the base of the tree that it fell out of. If you see a squirrel's nest--a large irregular bunch of packed leaves/pine straw/spanish moss/palm fibers in a treetop--suggests the tree from which the baby may have fallen. Never leave the baby for more than 2 hours and the area must be safe enough for the mother to return.
Parent squirrels will reclaim babies quickly once they feel it is safe to search for them. The mother may not miss the baby until the time of its next feeding or until she hears it crying. Sometimes gently handling the baby will cause it to cry and possibly attract the mother's attention. Remember, human scent will not cause the mother to reject her young. Abandonment can occur, however, if your presence frightens the mother and discourages her from returning to the vicinity. Do what you need to do quickly, then keep your distance. Again, if the mother does not return in one to two hours, follow FWC's general emergency instructions.
Trying To Decide If You Want To Raise The Baby Squirrel You Just Found?
If you have found an orphaned squirrel, place it immediately in a secure box with a perforated lid. Non-terry cloth cotton material such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, flannel, baby blankets should be used for bedding along with a heat source. Heating pads set on low can be used outside the box but placed under half the box. Temporary hot water bottles can also be used. Electrolyte replacer (i.e. Pedialyte©) is given to rehydrate the animal until further help can be found. If there are injuries, please seek professional help immediately to prevent prolonged suffering of the animal.
EMERGENCY SQUIRREL STABILIZATION & CARE
box (plastic, cardboard) w/ air holes in top
white t-shirt or cotton baby blankets
heat source (heating pad, bottle/jar filled with hot water, instant heat
pads, rice sock, incubator heater*)
oral electrolyte solution - unflavored (Pedialyte)
1 cc syringe
Before any other care can be given the body temperature must be close to normal 101 F.
Heating pads set on low can be used outside the box but placed under half the box. Temporary hot water bottles can also be used.
Be sure if you place a heat source in the box it should have a layer of material between it and the babies.
Full hydration must take place before formula or food is given. Urine color is a good indicator - when hydrated it is clear.
To hydrate, give oral electrolyte solution for one to two feeding or until urine gets lighter.
Then begin to transition by adding increasing amounts of prepared formula to the solution.
Acceptable formulas are Esbilac powdered mlk replacer or Zoologic milk 33/40 or Fox Valley DayOne 32/40. (Mix 1.5 part powder to 2 parts distilled water) Using any other formula you run a very high risk of the animal developing bloat, diarrhea, digestive shut down which can all lead to death.
Feed the squirrel on its stomach with a one cc syringe held horizontally. Control the flow because they suck really hard and will breath it into their lungs and nose and will die from pneumonia. If this happens, immediately stop feeding and wipe the nose to clear the airway.
When their eyes are closed they will hold about 3% of their body weight. When their eyes open they hold 4%. (see aging chart)
If their eyes are closed they have to be stimulated to urinate. Using a warm wet white washcloth, cottonball, or piece of t-shirt tickle the genital area with a corner of the material. They will urinate at every feeding and defecate only 1-2 times per day.
PLEASE CONTACT A PERMITTED REHABILITATOR ASAP FOR ASSISTANCE
* Incubator heater consists of a plain nightlight without the hood plugged into an extension cord. The light is then placed in a small glass jar that has a cotton sock pulled over it. Extend the sock up the extension cord and secure it with 2 twist ties.
Rice sock is a cotton tube sock filled with plain raw rice. Put in microwave to 1.5-2 min to warm up.
The instant warmers can be purchased at Walmart camping section.
If you have decided to continue raising the animal you can join our foster program, Florida Wildlife Care offers medical evaluation, training classes, a manual and provides individual help. Whether you are raising it or not ....please call us as soon as possible at 352-371-4400 for assistance.
FOSTERING EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS AND SOUTHERN FLYING SQUIRRELS is a time-consuming but rewarding undertaking. To ensure a healthy, well adjusted wild squirrel the following guidelines must be considered.
Some considerations when deciding:
Squirrels must be raised with a sibling for proper socialization (all ages)
Very young animals must have supplemental heat, be fed 10 times/day(every 2 hrs through the night) and must be stimulated to urinate at every feeding
Special formula that matches the mothers milk should be fed for proper health
You must keep them isolated from dogs, cats, human activity & noise (i.e. TV)
You will be feeding formula until 3 ½ -4 months old (time of weaning)
They must have a complete balanced diet (not just seeds & nuts)
You should release them no earlier than 6 months old (cage [min4'x4'x6'], ½ ' hardware cloth)
The only recommended formulas are a zoologic line of milk powders made by Pet-Ag and Fox Valley. All other types of pet or human formulas have shown to cause severe digestive upset including bloating and diarrhea which can lead to death.
What not to do:
Never use eyedroppers or nurser bottles
Never use a feeding syringe larger than the volume of one feeding
Never overfeed, this will be fatal to the squirrel
Never feed a squirrel until it is fully hydrated and warm
Click here to download the CARE OF ORPHANED EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS IN FLORIDA: AGING CHART