Baby season at the rescue center is finally starting to wind down, with most orphaned or injured spring babies getting ready to be released. Fawns will be released in October, raccoons and raptors in September, coyotes around the end of September/beginning of October… but now is the season of the 2nd generation of squirrels. We lovingly refer to this as squirrel apocalypse. By the end of the month, our baby mammal room will be filled to the brim with baby squirrels, each incubator filled with 5 or 6 squirrels each (they love to cuddle with each other). I wrote about this last year close to this time. It’s important enough that I think it deserves a repeat.
Wildlife rescue and rehab centers are coming up on a very busy season… squirrel season. By the middle of August, we will be inundated with baby squirrels who have fallen out of their nest or who have been chucked out by their mom for one reason or another. Most squirrels have two breeding periods, December to February and May to June. I don’t know what it is about the summer babies, but they are constantly falling out of their nests and landing on the ground for kind-hearted people or predators to find.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME ACROSS A BABY SQUIRREL:
If you can reach the nest, put the baby back in it.
If you don’t know where the nest is, leave him on the ground and gently press on the baby’s foot to make him call for his mom. Then leave the area. If the mom knows where her baby is, she’ll come down the tree and carry it back to the nest, but she will never come around if people are nearby. You are a predator to her. Check on the baby later to make sure mom found him.
If the above two options don’t work, gently place the baby in a box or container in which it can breathe and take it to your closest wildlife rescue center. NEVER EVER try to raise or feed squirrels if you’re not a licensed rehabber. Babies require very specific formula in order to keep them strong and healthy. If not properly nourished, they will develop metabolic bone disease, a very painful condition that causes their bones to break which is extremely cruel and inhumane (I can’t stress this enough), and there’s nothing that can be done to save them.
To locate your nearest wildlife rescue, visit your state’s Fish and Wildlife website. They will have resources to help you. Or you can contact me and I can help you find your nearest rescue.
Just for fun, I thought I’d do a running tally on squirrels this month to give you an idea of what squirrel apocalypse is all about. Since August 1st, we have admitted 10 squirrels. While 10 may not sound like all that many right now… think about it… that’s 10 little mouths that need to be hand fed multiple times per day. Stay tuned… 😀