Every year, we receive many calls for advice when people find a squirrel who seems to need help.
Developed with Écureuil Land, this procedure will help you choose the right action to take.
1 – Do any of the following apply to the squirrel you found?
- They are bleeding, have an open wound or a fracture
- They may have been bitten by a cat or dog
- They are covered with fleas or fly eggs (look like small grains of rice)
- They are cold, wet or shrieking a lot
YES: This squirrel is injured. They need care. Contact your local shelter quickly. Secure the animal in a box. Make sure there are holes for air. Avoid all sources of stress.
NO: If the squirrel is not injured or in distress, the next step is to determine their age to choose the appropriate intervention.
2 – Does the squirrel have a bushy tail AND, other than the tail, have a body length of at least 15 cm?
YES: Most likely, they are a juvenile or adult squirrel exploring their surroundings. It is important to not encourage contact with humans. Do not feed them!
NO: This is a baby squirrel. You must try to reunite them with their mother.
- Keep the baby warm in a box with a heated magic bag or hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket. DO NOT FEED THEM.
- Put the box near where the squirrel was found, so the mother can come and get her baby. The best times are at sunrise or sunset. If you are concerned about predators, hang the box on a tree branch and keep a close eye on it.
- Watch the baby for a while. If they don’t make any noise, pick them up by the waist, head down. This will get them to make a sound to attract their mother.
- Continue to observe the baby squirrel for 1 to 2 hours. Warm up the magic bag or hot water bottle if necessary.
3- Has the mother returned for her baby?
YES: Congratulations! You have reunited a baby with their mother, who will take care of them.
NO: This squirrel is orphaned. They need care. Contact your local shelter quickly. Secure the animal in a box. Make sure there are holes for air. Avoid all sources of stress.
About adult squirrels…
You can assume that if an adult squirrel
- is able to move around,
- does not appear to be in pain,
- is able to feed themselves,
- is able to flee,
they do not need help.
If the squirrel appears weak or ill, start by observing them for a few days in their living environment, without intervening. Capture alone is very stressful for the animal and may do more harm than good.