It is not uncommon to find a helpless baby squirrel in your backyard, especially during spring. It may have fallen out of its nest, was washed by the storm, or dropped from the tree that your neighbour cut yesterday. Your first instinct on seeing the baby will be to help it.
Here are tips on what to do when you spot a baby squirrel:
Wear gloves before handling the baby squirrel. The animal has teeth and can bite you if it is injured or frightened.
Examine it to find out if it is cold, injured, or bleeding. Check it carefully to see if it has a broken bone. If it is in pain and crying, it could be injured. You will need to call a wildlife rehabilitator to help treat the injuries.
In case the baby squirrel is alright, try to find out its age. A large and active baby squirrel has a fluffed out tail and can take care of itself.
If the baby is younger, try to find its mother and reunite them. Use an open box to make a temporary nest and place it on a tree using a rope. Keep it warm by heating a sock filled with rice in a microwave and putting it in the nest. The mother should be looking for its young one and will surely come for it in a few hours. Reheat the sock every two hours to keep it warm throughout.
Do not give a baby squirrel any food or water. This can make it sick, and it may even end up dying.
If, after six hours, the mother hasn’t appeared, you should look for a wildlife rehabilitator to take over. Mother squirrels often look for their young during the daytime. Therefore placing them in an open box where they are kept warm will help them survive as they wait to be retrieved.
If the baby squirrel is crying and shivering, or if it is hairless and alone on the ground, it might be in distress. You can help it as you wait for the mother to come and retrieve it.
Sometimes a baby squirrel may be injured and bleeding. This may be because the mother has died, and the poor orphaned baby needs your help. Call the wildlife rehabilitation experts to make sure they attend to it and restore its health. They will know where to take it after it has healed.
Whenever you come across young mammals, you should always strive to reunite them with their mothers. It is only the mother who can offer the best care to their young ones. If the babies are kept from the parents, their chances of survival become minimal, even if you give them expert care. Always stay in touch with a squirrel removal Hamilton expert as you wait to see if the mother squirrel will come for its baby.