Baby squirrels that have fallen from a nest should be given an opportunity to be reunited with mom unless they are injured. Mother squirrels always have an alternate nest. They will retrieve their babies one at a time and take them to the original or alternate nest, provided they can find their young, are not being watched and the young are in an accessible place.
People often think that feeding an orphaned baby will make it feel better, but doing so can actually endanger its life. Here are the reasons why:
1. If the animal is dehydrated, emaciated, or suffering from trauma, it won’t be able to digest food. If it tries to do so, it could bloat or go into shock.
2. Baby animals can easily inhale food or liquid into their lungs by accident, a situation which can quickly lead to pneumonia and possible death.
3. Foods that are not a normal part of the animal’s diet, like cow’s milk, Pedialyte, other milk replacers, can cause serious digestive problems.
Put a t-shirt in the bottom of a shallow box at the base of the tree that is suspected to be their home. If the tree has been trimmed or completely cut down, place the box underneath the nearest tree. IMPORTANT: Provide a heat source such as a rice sock, hot water bottle, or chemical hand warmers, like Hot Paws, to be placed with them. Cover the heat source with a t-shirt before placing in the box so the babies aren’t accidentally burned. The area should be left completely undisturbed during the day to allow the mother enough time to retrieve her young. If it is late in the day, leave the babies out for the rest of the day. Then, move them inside overnight, keeping them in the container with the heat source. The following morning try to reunite again following the same instructions. NOTE: If a reunite fails, you must take the baby to the nearest licensed rehabilitator as soon as possible. It is ILLEGAL to care for wildlife in Colorado without a license. Call Greenwood Wildlife at (303) 823-8455 if you have any questions.
In the case of stormy weather, keep the babies in the box and bring it inside until the weather clears – mom won’t be looking for it in the middle of a downpour. As soon as possible, put the babies back out where they were found. If there is less than one hour of daylight left, move them inside overnight, keeping them in the container with the heat source. The following morning try to reunite again following the same instructions. Call Greenwood Wildlife at (303) 823-8455 if you have any questions.
If there is any sign of injury or sickness, or if the parent does not return, please call Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at (303) 823-8455.
Regarding after-hours rescue, reunite, transport and nuisance squirrels, please follow Reunite a Squirrel.