EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL




Nest:
Gray squirrels bear up to eight young (average 2-4) in cavities or nests situated high in trees. The nest, approximately the size of a basketball, looks like a wad of leaves and sticks stuffed between branches. Squirrels may also nest in structures or tree cavities; cavities occupied by squirrels have an opening diameter approximately three inches.

Parental Care & Development:
Gray squirrels are active during the day (diurnal) and retreat to their nests at night. Young gray squirrels are cared for in the nest by the mother squirrel for approximately 10 weeks. The juvenile squirrels can be seen adventuring from the nest at about 6-7 weeks and start the weaning process at 8 weeks.

IF YOU FIND AN UNINJURED BABY SQUIRREL ON THE GROUND

Squirrel mothers are very attentive and will almost always retrieve their young if given the opportunity. If the squirrel is not injured, it should be reunited with the mother. The nest should be in a tree near where the squirrel was found; look for signs of nesting using the above information.

Ensure the baby squirrel is warm:
a cold (sickly) baby is not likely to be retrieved by the mother. A chilled squirrel can be warmed by wrapping it in a warm washcloth (place a dry washcloth in the microwave for 20-30 seconds); replace the washcloth as it cools every couple of minutes.

Heat sources used for reuniting:
• Fill a sock with 1 cup of rice, birdseed, dried beans, or dried corn
• Tie the sock end, ensure there are no holes
• Microwave the sock for approximately 30 seconds. (should be warm when placed on the underside of the wrist, not hot)

Once the baby is warm:
place the baby squirrel in a small plastic container (adapted milk jug, ice cream bucket, cool whip container, etc). Punch holes in the bottom of the container to allow for drainage. Attach the container to the nest tree (or closest tree to where found) as high as you are able to reach; avoid exposing it to harsh elements such as strong direct sunlight. Place the baby inside the container, uncovered, to allow for full visibility of the baby by the mother. If temperature is below 85 degrees, provide a heat source* to help the baby maintain body temperature. If the baby is not retrieved by nightfall, bring the baby indoors for the evening. Keep the baby in a secure container (shoebox works best!) over a heating pad on LOW; the baby should have the opportunity to crawl away from the heat. At dawn, return the baby to the reuniting site. Healthy baby squirrels should be available for the mother squirrel to retrieve during daylight hours for a maximum of two-12 hour periods. If reuniting is not successful after two days, contact the Wildlife Rescue Center at 636-394-1880.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to feed a baby squirrel! Feeding orphaned wildlife can be harmful to the animal and may decrease the chance of reuniting with the mother squirrel.

If you have already fed, please contact the Wildlife Rescue Center at (636) 394-1880
for the best course of action.

IF YOU FIND AN INJURED SQUIRREL ON THE GROUND

If the baby is obviously injured (bleeding, broken bones, open wounds, etc) take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitator.

IF A PET BRINGS A BABY SQUIRREL HOME

If the baby is obviously injured (bleeding, broken bones, open wounds, etc) take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitator. If the baby is not injured, locate the nest and follow instructions above for reuniting with the mother.

IF A TREE HAS BEEN CUT DOWN OR HAS FALLEN THAT CONTAINS A NEST

Baby squirrels can often survive a fall with little to no injury. Mother gray squirrels have more than one nest site maintained at a time; a mother squirrel will move her young to another nest due to a variety of natural reasons (flea infestations, storm damage, etc).

If the nest is intact:
leave the section of the fallen tree with the nest as close to the original tree location as possible. Clear the area of any activity to allow the mother squirrel to retrieve her young and take them to an alternate nest site. If the baby is not retrieved by nightfall, bring the baby indoors for the evening. Keep the baby in a secure container (shoebox works best!) over a heating pad on LOW; the baby should have the opportunity to crawl away from the heat. At dawn, return the baby to the reuniting site. Healthy baby squirrels should be available for the mother squirrel to retrieve during daylight hours for a maximum of two-12 hour periods. If reuniting is not successful after two days, contact the Wildlife Rescue Center at 636-394-1880.

If the nest is destroyed:
follow the reuniting instructions above titled “If you find an uninjured baby squirrel on the ground”.

Contact the Wildlife Rescue Center at (636) 394-1880
for instruction on any situation not covered by the preceding information.

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