How to care for an orphaned baby squirrel

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There is a brief window of time that you can successfully take and care for an orphaned baby squirrel. If you jump in too quickly, you run the risk of quite literally stealing that youngster away from its mother. If you jump in too slowly, however, you run the risk of the baby dying because nothing was done in the right time frame.

Sadly, unless you are a medical professional whom is trained in the world of squirrel medical science, there is a good chance you won't even know about that brief window of time, let alone when that brief window of time occurs.

An orphaned baby squirrel, in many cases, isn't actually orphaned at all. The mother might be in the process of moving her young from one unsafe nesting spot to a newer, safer one. She can't carry them all in one go and will take repeated trips, perhaps even carrying one of her youngsters at a time. She could have dropped the one you have spotted, or maybe it has gotten itself a little lost along the way.

If the mother is moving her young, there's a chance she'll come back for the one that you are currently babysitting. If you move it, she won't get the chance to find it. If the baby is very young, getting the right formula for feeding will be difficult and there's a very good chance that hand-rearing attempts will prove not only futile, but also cruel. You will also CREATE an orphan situation when there wasn't one.

Sometimes, with nature, you just need to accept what's going to happen will happen. Babies die — that's the way nature goes. When a mother has three or four young in one litter, it is almost guaranteed that one or more of them will die in the first few weeks or months. Leave the youngster alone and nature will usually run its course.

There are other times when you will find yourself the guardian of a furry squirrel baby, such as when your household pet brings you a trophy catch. Although cats are perhaps much better known for bringing mice, rats, and birds to the back door, squirrels are a common find, particularly baby ones.

If the squirrel has been injured by the attack, the kindest outcome will be to put that animal down. If the animal doesn't appear to have been injured, wildlife rehabilitators can have a chance at rehabilitating the animal. That process can't begin all the while you have the animal in your care, however.

Physically caring for a young squirrel is much harder than you'd think, with the animal requiring around-the-clock care that may not even work. If the animal is already too starved or dehydrated by the time you get to it, feeding it and pumping it full of fluids is likely to do more damage than good. There is a good chance that you will do more damage trying to care for the youngster than what have been caused if you had just left the animal alone in the first place.

If you spot a baby squirrel, seemingly orphaned, out in the wild, give wildlife rehabilitators a call. If the animal can be saved, it will be. If it can't, the kindest and most humane approach will be taken.

What should I do with an orphaned baby squirrel?

Need squirrel removal in your hometown? We service over 500 USA locations! Click here to hire us in your town and check prices- updated for year 2020.

We don't actually advise that you do anything about an orphaned baby squirrel, but if you feel that you must do something, wildlife rehabilitators are probably the best people to call.

In many cases, orphaned squirrels are not actually orphaned at all. The mother may be moving her young, in which case, she'll come right back for the baby that you're currently watching over. You could continue to watch over the youngster, from a distance, ensuring that nothing comes over to cause a problem. After a while, you may find that the mother does indeed come back for her youngster. Life for the family will continue on happily.

If the mother doesn't come back, the squirrel baby could be orphaned, or the mother could have lost it and is still searching for it. If you move it, mother and baby will never get the chance to be reunited. If the mother is hanging around close by, waiting for you to leave, she will attack if she feels like you might threaten her youngster. Squirrels CAN both carry and transmit the rabies virus, although, it is considered rare.

The baby might be orphaned, but that doesn't mean that you can do anything about it. If the youngster is sick, a mother might abandon it, knowing that she can't keep it alive for much longer. If the youngster was taken from the nest by a predator and then dropped, there's a chance that it is injured and will never be reunited with its mother, but is also probably going to die in a few hours. When death is inevitable — and at such a fragile age, it is — keeping a youngster alive is just cruel.

Orphaned baby squirrels should be left alone, unless that squirrel is causing a problem for you. If the animal is on your land and needs to be moved to ensure the safety of your family or pets, wildlife rehabilitators or control experts can safely remove the animal and then euthanize it, meaning a quick and painless death.

If the animal is not on your land and does not pose a problem to surrounding wildlife or families, leave it alone. Nature will takes its course. In fact, you might be disrupting the course of nature by intervening.

For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Squirrels in the attic - what to do to solve the problem.

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