Squirrel Wildlife Rehabilitation

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ATTENTION The information contained on this web page is not designed to take the place of a wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian BUT is designed to give you some guidance in what you can do to help the squirrel(s) you have found until you can reach a rehabilitator. If it is an injured adult, please take PRECAUTIONS so that you do not get bitten.

Get The Baby Warm

Before trying to give the young squirrel anything to eat, you must first get him warm. Make sure that you warm him slowly and make sure you monitor his warming so as not to overheat him. The normal temperature for a squirrel is 99 degrees, which is close to that of our own temperature of 98.6 degrees. Place the squirrel in a box or plastic container and place a clean cloth in the bottom of the box (preferably a cloth baby diaper or baby receiving blanket, NO TOWELS) and place a light cover over the squirrel. The reason I say "no towels" is the squirrels will get their toenails hung in the loops and either rip out a toenail, break a toe, or break a foot trying to get loose. Put a heating pad under one half of the box with a towel folded twice between the box and the heating pad. If the squirrel is unable to move on his own, you will need to monitor the temperature of the squirrel very closely so he does not overheat. When he is warmed up, he should feel warm to your touch. A healthy, fully grown squirrel that has plenty of cover to snuggle under will not need the heating pad once he has reached his normal body temperature.

No Heating Pad and Where Do I Keep The Babies?

If you do not have a heating pad, you will need to take a jar with a tight fitting lid and fill it with hot water and then wrap the jar in a towel and place it in the box close to the baby. The problem with doing this is the water will have to be changed out very often as you do not want the water to become cold as it will chill the baby. You do not want the baby to get cold. DO NOT USE OTHER ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF HEAT!

DO NOT leave the babies outside, you must bring them in the house and place their box in a room that is separate from the rest of the house where it is quiet. A bathroom usually works well as you can close the door to keep out any pets or children you may have in the house.

I use the see thru Rubbermaid boxes to put my squirrels in. I cut out sections of the lid and place screen over the holes and use duct tape to tape the screen in place from the outside of the box. This allows the squirrels to get air and keeps them in the box. You can use any cardboard box that you may have on hand that has tall sides to it. If they are infants, they will not be climbing out or around a lot so they should not be able to get out of the box.


Check for external injuries, head injuries, broken bones, respiratory problems or signs of internal injuries. All of these problems need to be taken care of by a veterinarian immediately. Bites, scratches, and very shallow cuts should be flushed with a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water and then covered with a triple antibacterial cream (I use Neosporin Plus). Apply 2 to 3 times a day until healed. (A 1% Betadine solution is preferred to the hydrogen peroxide to flush the wounds if you can get it) Unfortunately cat bites and any cat related injury are common in squirrels. Any animal that has been bitten by a cat (you may not see teeth marks) should be seen by a veterinarian and started on a course of antibiotics. The vet will have to give you the antibiotic that is needed for squirrels. The cat carries a bacteria called pasturella in its saliva and that bacteria is deadly to a wild animal if antibiotics are not administered within the first 24 hours.



To check to see if the squirrel is dehydrated, very carefully pinch the skin together between the shoulder blades. If the skin stays pinched and is very slow to fall back down, the squirrel is dehydrated. Most squirrels when you get them have already been without several feedings, so it is safe to assume that they are dehydrated and you can start him on a rehydrating solution, Pedialyte is what I use. Give 1cc, or any part of 1cc that they will take, every 30 minutes for the first two hours. After the first two hours, you can go to every 2 hours and give 1cc of Pedialyte at each feeding. If they do not take it all that is ok, but at least try to get them to take part of this amount every two hours. Make sure you keep the Pedialyte in the refrigerator and warm up just the amount you need before every feeding. Pedialyte must be thrown away 72 hours after opening the bottle.

If you do not have access to Pedialyte, you can make a homemade rehydration solution as follows: NOTE: Pedialyte and the following recipe are NOT a formula that the baby should be on for an extended period of time, it is only for rehydration

Waste Elimination

You will need to help the baby eliminate their waste. The easiest way is to take a kleenex and turn the baby over and wipe over the genital and anal area lightly with the kleenex until they relieve themselves. Sometimes this can take up to 2 minutes, so be patient. You should have a box of kleenex on hand because sometimes they can go through several. You should do this about every 4 hours.


You also need to check to see if the squirrel has has any external parasites. There are two main ones to look for: fleas and maggots.

  • Fleas are usually not a life threatening problem but they can lead to serious problems is they are not removed. If they are left untreated, they can lead to serious dehydration over a long period of time. They should be removed immediately to prevent them from multiplying and spreading.

    If you just have one baby that has them, it is probably easier to pick them off by hand or to use a small flea comb. You can have a small container with water and put the fleas in that as you remove them.

    If you happen to have any Adams Flea Powder (DO NOT use any other brand), you can sprinkle a small amount in your hands, rub your hands together and then rub your hands over the baby, being careful NOT to get it near their face. NEVER SPRINKLE THE POWDER DIRECTLY ON THE BABY, always put a small amount in your hands first and then gently rub them over the baby. Any fleas that move to the babies head can be picked off by hand.

  • Maggots must be addressed as soon as possible. A baby squirrel that has been laying on the ground does not have their mom to keep parasites removed and so you will have to perform this task. Maggots and maggot eggs have to be removed by hand. You should look in ALL body openings for the maggots. Most people will have Hydrogen Peroxide on hand and this should be mixed as follows: 1/4 part hydrogen peroxide and 3/4 parts water and use this mixture to flush out the wounds to remove the maggots and eggs.

    Maggots are nothing more than fly larvae from the few specialized flies that eat only dead tissue, usually 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch in length and pale in color. It only takes a short period of time before they make their way to the major organs.
If you do not wish to deal with these parasites yourself, you MUST get the babies to a rehabber ASAP as these parasites cannot go untreated.

Locate A Wildlife Rehabilitator

At this point you should Locate A Rehabber.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Rehabilitation Instructions

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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}

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