Squirrels nest in the late winter and late summer. Many squirrels will be giving birth this spring in nests in people’s backyards. Babies may fall out of a nest, or it may be destroyed by a storm or by a homeowner cutting a tree that contains the nest. If you find a baby squirrel alone on the ground in your backyard, here are some tips on what you should do.
If you find a baby squirrel, never handle it without first putting on a pair of gloves. Baby squirrels have teeth and can bite if they are frightened or injured.
Examine the baby squirrel carefully to see if it is injured, bleeding, or cold to the touch. If it has been in the mouth of a dog or cat, the squirrel may have a broken bone. If it is crying or covered in fly eggs, it is also likely injured. If it is hurt, contact a wildlife rehabilitator who can treat its injuries and nurse it back to health.
If the squirrel does not appear injured, try to figure out its approximate age. If it looks relatively large and active and has a fluffed-out tail, it is probably old enough to live independently. Squirrels can live on their own starting around the age of 10 to 12 weeks.
If the squirrel is younger, you can try to reunite it with its mother. You can make a temporary nest out of an open box or basket and attach it to a tree with rope or bungee cords. Keep the baby squirrel warm by filling a sock with rice or birdseed and heating it in the microwave. Put the sock in the temporary nest with the squirrel and wait for the mother to return. It may take several hours for her to come back and take the baby to a new nest. You may need to reheat the sock every two hours.
If the mother does not return after several hours, the baby may be an orphan. In that case, you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
Never feed or give water to a baby squirrel or other wild animal. This is dangerous and can make the animal sick or even cause death.