Birthing: 2-5 per litter, 2 litters a year: February-April and July-September
Eyes opened: 4-6 weeks
Weaning (beg-end): 3-8 weeks
Active: Year-round (daytime for grays; nighttime for flying squirrels)
Diet: Nuts, fruit (flying squirrels also eat bird eggs and insects)
Squirrels tend to build nests in attics, chimneys, tree trunks, or leaf nests in trees. Generally they build two or three nests so that they can move their babies if the nest is threatened or the nest becomes infested with fleas. Generally, the mother will move the babies to a new nest at around six weeks of age.
Young male squirrels tend to change territories in the fall, and are frequently not “car savvy”. This is when a lot of squirrels are hit by cars.
Call the Helpline immediately if:
• The weather is cold, the baby was very cold, lying flat and not moving, or the baby is unfurred or very small.
• The weather is warm — because maggots can infest baby squirrels very rapidly.
When can a young squirrel be on its own?
Why is this baby squirrel alone?
When should I help a baby squirrel and how?
***Place it in a basket or box (shoebox) near where found, out of the reach of cats and dogs. The box should be lined with soft materials to make a warm nest and be a size that is high enough to prevent the baby from climbing out, but low enough to allow the mother to enter and depart with the baby. If the location of the nest is known, the box can be tied as far up the tree trunk as can be managed, out of direct sunlight in hot weather. If the baby is chilled, or the weather is cool, place a jar or a ziplock bag filled with warm water wrapped in several socks inside the box.
***Keep dogs and cats indoors and try to minimize human activity around the tree.
***Watch from inside the house if possible. The mother will not show herself if she can detect anyone’s presence within a fairly wide radius of the tree. Check every hour. If the baby is still in the box after 2 hours or as darkness approaches, call the Helpline.
A young squirrel ran up to me. What does that mean?
There is an injured adult squirrel. What should I do?
Squirrels are difficult to catch. If they are trapped they can die of shock or injure themselves in panic. It is also important to determine whether it is a female with babies. Unless the injury is very severe, it is better not to attempt to catch an injured squirrel. If they are caught, they must be handled with thick gloves.
If the squirrel is so injured it is down, you can attempt to pick it up but must be very careful not to be bitten. Cover the squirrel with a towel, roll it up loosely and place in a box. In some jurisdictions, you can also cover the squirrel with a box to protect it, keep it from moving on and call animal control to do the pickup. Animal control will euthanize it if the injuries are very severe (back or spine), or will refer it to a rehabilitator.
There’s a squirrel in my house! How do I get it out?
I am sure one is trapped. How can I get it out?
What if I see a squirrel with a large growth or abscess?
More about squirrels
Have you wondered how WRL helps orphaned wildlife? Here is one of our rescue stories. While out walking, Jennifer came across two baby squirrels that seemed to be lost. There were lots of children around and the babies were squeaking and running up to people. She...
Squirrels. You either love them or hate them. There’s not much neutrality on the subject.