Squirrel Wildlife Rehabilitation

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Frequently Asked Questions



Well the time has come for a FAQ page. It seems the Squirrel Connections and I get the same questions over and over and this is a good place to answer those. You can click on the question in the list below, or scroll the page and read them all.

Q. I have found baby squirrels, what do I do?

A. The first thing to do is get them stabilized while you look for a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. If you send a blank email to: the Emergency Care Information will be sent to you automatically. This will tell you what you should and should not do until you get in touch with a rehabber in your area. You can also read the page on Stabilization for information on stabilizing the baby until you reach a rehabber.

The next thing is to start looking for a licensed rehabber by going to the Squirrel Connections page.

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Q. Where do I put the baby while looking for a rehabber? Can I leave it outside?

A. You should NEVER leave the baby outside, they should be brought in the house. If you are concerned about pets/children, you can place the baby squirrel in a small box with non-frayed toweling and put them in a separate room in your house where you can close the door.

The box should be placed on a heating pad and if you will send for the Emergency Care Instructions by sending a blank email to: you will get all of the information that you need to get the baby warm and stabilized until you get in touch with a rehabber.

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Q. The baby seems to have external parasites, what do I do?

A. The parasites MUST be removed. The main ones are usually: fleas, ants and maggots. They have to be removed by hand and you can read about doing this on the Stabilization page.

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Q. Some of the squirrels in my yard seem to have large bumps on them... what could this be?

A. If it is late summer and early fall, more than likely you are seeing warbles. These are a larvae that bury under the skin of the squirrel and other rodents. If you look very closely at the lump you should see an air hole. The larvae uses this hole to breathe and excrete from. They can stay in the squirrel for 3-6 weeks until they are fully developed, then they will leave. The lumps should heal over and go away and the fur should grow back. While they are uncomfortable for the squirrel, it really does no long term harm.

You should never attempt to remove these on your own. If in removing the larvae you should break it, it excretes a toxin that can kill the squirrel. You can check out this web site on Squirrel Fibromatosis vs. Bot Fly Infestation (Link will open in a new window) which has photos of what they look like as well as comparison photos to squirrel with Fibromatosis.

If after viewing the photos you determine your squirrel has Fibromatosis you should get in touch with a so it can receive the proper treatment.

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Q. What do I feed the baby that I have found?

A. You DO NOT feed them anything. You should get them warm first by following the instructions on the Stabilization page. This information will also tell you how you can rehydrate them and then you need to Locate A Wildlife Rehabilitator.

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Q. Why can't I feed the baby as soon as I find it? I know it has to be hungry.

A. Feeding can actually cause death by pulling fluids from the system of a severly dehydrated animal in order to process the food that you feed it. It must be determined if the baby is dehydrated first before giving any food.

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Q. But I have milk in the refrigerator, canned milk, human infant formula or a special milk that says it is for wildlife, can I feed them that?

A. NO! Never feed wildlife cows milk under any circumstances unless you want to sign the death warrant for the baby you have found.

The babies require a special formula and anything made for humans is not acceptable. The "formulas" that you can buy in pet stores or discount stores that say they are for wildlife are not acceptable either.

The milk comparison below is for the Grey Squirrels milk, Esbilac and cow's milk so you can see the differences and see that Esbilac is by far the best choice.

Grey Squirrel Milk
Solids 27.6% Protein 9.2% Fat 12.6% Carbohydrate 3.4%
Esbilac (1 part powder to 1.5 parts water)
Solids 23.44% Protein 8.07% Fat 10.28% Carbohydrate 3.29%
Cow's Milk
Solids 12.0% Protein 3.3% Fat 3.3% Carbohydrate 4.7%

If you want to see what the cow's milk formulas will do, look at the Improper Diet page.

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Q. Why can't you or one of the Squirrel Connections tell me how to raise these babies myself?

A. That question is answered on the Please Read page.

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Q. Should I try to get the mom to take the babies back?

A. Not unless you know for sure when the nest fell. If the mom is going to come and get the babies, she will do so right away after the nest or babies have fallen. The babies need help right now.

Don't think that it is always the mom that is coming to get them because that may not be case. It may be other squirrels that are waiting to get the babies and kill them instead of the mother coming to get them.

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Q. I don't have any Pedialyte for rehydrating the babies with, is there something that I can make up myself?

A. If you do not have access to Pedialyte, you can make a homemade rehydration solution as follows:
  • one teaspoon salt
  • three teaspoons sugar
  • one quart of warm water
  • Stir all of these ingredients until thoroughly mixed and store in the refrigerator.
  • Make sure you warm up just what you need to feed the baby before you feed them, never give them cold rehydration solution.
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Q. Why is a cat bite deadly to wildlife?

A. Cats carry a bacteria in their saliva called pasturella. If any wild animal is exposed to the saliva from a cat, the bacteria affects their central nervous system. Unless the proper antibiotics are administered in the first 12-24 hours, the animal will eventually die.

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Q. My kids really want to raise the baby themselves... why can't they?

A. I always wonder WHO the adults are in the house when I hear this one.
  • It is illegal for a non-licensed wildlife rehabilitator to possess wildlife. So are you going to teach your kids that it is ok to break the law? If you are found with an illegal animal, there is a good chance that Fish and Wildlife will confiscate the animal, euthanize it, and there may also be fines and criminal charges filed.
  • There are diseases and viruses that can be passed on to your children if they do not know how to protect themselves.
  • Squirrels will pee and poop anywhere when they have to go. The smell is rather strong and difficult to get out of carpet and clothing.
  • Do your kids have 12 weeks of their time, day and night, to spend caring for the baby? They do require feedings every 2-4 hours, depending on the age of the baby, around the clock. Someone is not going to get any sleep for 12 weeks.
  • As they get older, the squirrels will bite. If your child is bitten, be prepared to euthanize the squirrel and have it tested for rabies and pay for the post exposure rabies shots which run about $1,500.00 - $2,000.00 for the whole series.
  • Are you prepared to explain death to your children when the baby dies? If the baby is not cared for properly and does not receive the proper diet, it will die. See Metabolic Bone Disease.
  • Are you prepared to build suitable caging and housing for this squirrel to get it ready for release? Do you know the techniques for preparing a squirrel for release? You cannot just put them outside when they are old enough to be released. There is a process that we go through to get them ready to be released.

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Q. I have found an injured adult, what do I do?

A. Use extreme caution that you do not get bitten by the adult. If you have gardening gloves, put those on.
  • Get a box that is a little bigger than the squirrel.
  • Get a large towel and a soft broom or a piece of cardboard.
  • Get near the squirrel and throw the towel over the squirrel making sure to cover the eyes.
  • Put the box on its side right next to the squirrel.
  • Gently nudge the squirrel into the box with the soft broom or piece of cardboard.
  • Slowly and gently roll the squirrel into the box as you turn it upright.
  • Close the lid.
  • Get the squirrel to the closest wildlife rehabilitator ASAP.
There are some injuries that can be successfully treated IF the rehabber gets the squirrel soon enough. The longer you wait to get them to someone, the harder it is going to be to treat the injuries. You wouldn't wait to take your children to the Emergency Room would you?

If you can do so safely, this is a good time to check and see if it is a female that is nursing babies by looking at the teats or you can let the wildlife rehabilitator check this for you. If you or the rehabilitator determine that she is a nursing mom, please keep your eyes and ears open for a few days for crying babies. They will start to look for mom after a few days and most fall out of the nest. Please do NOT climb any trees looking for the babies.

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Q. What is a squirrel nest called?

A. The nest that you see up in the tree is called a "drey." They are typically made out of small twigs, leaves and other leaf-like materials. The interior of the nest is made soft by use of fur or other soft material and are usually located in the top third of a tree. You can see pictures of the interior of a squirrel nest on the Inside A Squirrel Nest page.

Squirrels will also build a "den" inside the cavity of a tree. They usually use old woodpecker holes or other cavities that occur naturally in some trees over time.

Caution: Please use caution as to what you leave laying around your yard. We are getting in more squirrels every year that have their tails tied together with string, twine or fishing line. The mom will find any of these and use them to make the nest with. While growing up the babies usually get their tails tangled up in it and never get free of it. They will fall out of the nest still tied together. So please check around your yard and make sure that you do not have anything they could borrow to use in their nest that would be harmful to the babies.

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Q. What is a baby squirrel called?

A. They are called babies or infants while in the nest. Then for their first year they are referred to as juveniles. After their first year, they become adults and are simply called squirrels.

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Q. Do squirrels remember where they bury their nuts?

A. No. Some of nuts are retreived by other squirrels or they remain buried. Most of those that remain buried will sprout into saplings.

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Q. My son/daughter is doing a school report on squirrels and we would like to use the photos in the report, is this allowed?

A. I do allow the pictures to be used in school reports as long as you ask first and get the proper credit to be given in the report for the photos. They are copyrighted and the proper copyright information must accompany their use. If you let me know which photos you need, I will send them to you via email. If you ask to use photos that I do not own the copyright to, I will ask the person that does own them before giving you permission and the copyright information that is to accompany those photos. Thank you for your cooperation.

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Q. I sent you an email to request help and never got a reply. WHY?

A. If you sent us a request for help, or sent for one of the auto-responders and did not get a reply, it is because the reply was returned to us by your ISP for one reason or another. Usually it is because the "reply to" address in your email program is not set properly. We have no way of getting in touch with you if we do not have the proper email address. We apologize for this, but it is up to YOU to set the proper "reply to" address in your email program so that we can get back in touch with you. You should talk to your ISP to get the proper settings.

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Q. At what age do baby squirrels open their eyes?

A. Grey squirrel babies open their eyes at 5 weeks of age. Flying squirrel babies will open their eyes at 4 weeks of age.

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Squirrel Rehab Pages
{Locate A Wildlife Rehabilitator} {Is This Squirrel Orphaned?} {Stabilization} {Frequently Asked Questions}
{Squirrel Tales} {Results Of Improper Diet} {Metabolic Bone Disease} {Squirrel Fibroma}

Other Wildlife Pages
{My Opossum Page} {Squirrel/Bird Feeders} {Build A Squirrel Nesting Box} {Rehabilitation Permits}
{Suet Recipe} {Wildlife Links} {Wildlife Article} {Squirrel Wildlife Home Page}

Wildlife Photo Pages
{Southern Flying Squirrel} {Eastern Grey Squirrel} {Black Squirrel} {Northern Flying Squirrel}
{Inside A Squirrel Nest} {Euro Red Squirrel} {Weekly Squirrel Photos} {Squirrelys}
{Baby Pictures Index Page} {Stan Westfall Nature Photos}

Other Pages
{Jigsaw Puzzles/Other Fun Games} {Squirrel Greeting Cards}
{Nonda Surratt Memorial}