Project Wildlife Animals: Squirrels
What to do if you find:

Babies and Juveniles:

  • Pick up the baby with a soft cloth.
  • Put the squirrel in a closed escape-proof container such as a pet kennel or aquarium with a soft ravel-free cloth (no strings), and cover the container loosely with a towel.
  • Put the container half on and half off a towel-covered heating pad set on low.
  • Monitor it so the animal is warm to the touch, but not hot.
  • Keep the container in a quiet area, away from children and pets.
  • Do not attempt to feed any type of formula or solid foods. Baby squirrels aspirate very easily, and its best to leave feeding to a qualified caretaker. If the animal is dehydrated or it will be more than 2 or 3 hours before you can get the baby to a rehabilitator, you may put a few drops of water on its lips with an eye dropper and see if it will lap it up. It is best to get advice from a rehabilitator before doing this.

Adult squirrels:

  • If the squirrel is alert, do not attempt to handle it.
  • Cover it with a cardboard box with air holes where it is lying (or gently nudge it out of harm's way with the end of a broom). Weight the box down with a rock or something heavy. Call a rehabilitator.
  • If the squirrel is not very alert or cannot move, you may attempt to nudge it into a box, bucket or carrier with the end of a broom, piece of cardboard or other similar object. Do not handle with your bare hands! Cover the container snugly (make sure there are air holes) and bring to a rehabilitator.
  • Do not attempt to rehabilitate an adult squirrel for any reason. If it will be a few hours or overnight until you can get the squirrel to a rehabilitator, set the container half-on, half-off a towel-covered heating pad set on low, in a quiet area away from children and pets.
  • Do not put food or water into the container. If the squirrel is in shock or has other issues, the food and water could cause more harm than good.
About Squirrels:
  • Light brown fur mixed with dusky fur give a mottled appearance. Tails are longer than half the length of their bodies.
  • Found all along the West Coast, from central Washington to northern Baja.
  • Very small range usually stay within 150 yards of their burrows.
  • Live in plains, small meadows, rocky outcrops, and hillsides independently or as a group. They make burrows about five inches in diameter.
  • Mainly herbivores: eat seeds, nuts, and wildflowers; but will feed on insects, eggs, and small mammals.
  • Main predators include foxes, weasels, and hawks.
  • Life span is 3-5 years.
  • Litter size ranges from 3-5.
  • Often store more food than they need and forget where it is stored; this is beneficial as it helps scatter seeds to grow in new locations.
  • Squirrels have very powerful front teeth that never stop growing; they are constantly gnawing to keep their teeth filed down.
  • True hibernators: do not sleep but exist in a state of suspended animation; in this state, their hearts beat at a tenth of the normal rate and they breath only once every couple of minutes; this period usually starts in early winter and ends in late spring.
Co-existing with squirrels:
  • Squirrels will readily take up residence in a building if access is available. It is important to block all holes with wood or wire mesh to prevent entry.
  • Install only free-standing bird feeders in sites where squirrels cannot get access; keep them away from shrubs and overhanging tree limbs. Put the feeder on a metal pole at least 6 feet high.
  • Prune overhanging tree limbs, shrubs, and vines that may provide access to attics and other areas. Also cover telephone and electric wires near the house with long plastic tubing.
  • Squirrels are excitable and can cause severe damage if trapped inside a home. Quickly and quietly open a door or window to the outside and leave the room.
  • A squirrel may fall in a chimney while climbing on the roof. Secure a heavy rope from the top of the chimney and drop it down to the fireplace. After the squirrel has exited, remove the rope and properly cap the chimney.


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