How to Care for Abandoned Squirrels: A Guide From Day One to Release

Step by Step Guide to Rehabilitating, Raising & Releasing Squirrels

Caring for squirrels is a big commitment and is not recommended for anyone whom can't dedicate the time, patience and efforts involved. For those who are able to commit, it can be a joyous and rewarding experience. There are many breeds of squirrels, such as the gray squirrel, red squirrel and even the flying squirrel. Some breeds require different care. Here in Florida, we mostly find squirrels in need of aid are during hurricane season. That also happens to be during the mating season, therefore, there are many nests blown out of trees, mothers killed and the babies left abandoned. I explain certain scenarios of occurrences and what to do before snagging up a nest found on the ground. You will also find step by step instructions from how to care for infants up until their release back into nature.

Before you read on, I cannot stress enough that it is highly recommended to contact a wildlife rehab person or center and have them cared for by someone with experience, equipment and knowledge before attempting rehabbing on your own. If you are unable to find someone or if you simply decide to take on the task, then the information provided here will help you through. The general process is restoring health (if necessary,) raising the infants and then training/preparing them for release.

What to Do When You First Find Baby Squirrels

Don't Immediately Assume They Are Abandoned!

B abies or injured squirrels are often found in a dislocated nest or under a tree. If you find a nest, place it back up into the nearest tree. If the nest is disheveled, you can place them in a shallow basket with the remainder of the nest and some leaves to cushion them if necessary. Leave the area immediately but stay close to watch. Grab yourself a drink and a chair and prepare to keep watch for at least a few hours. Often times, the mother will come back. She may even be watching from a distance but waiting until she feels it is safe to return. Like with mother rabbits, they often forge for food during the day or leave the nest during the day in order not to draw attention from predators. Unfortunately, people assume the babies are abandoned since there is no sign of a mother nearby and grab the nest. That is why you need to place it off the ground and wait. If the mother does not return within at least 3 hours, go ahead and take them.

A litter usually consists of an average of 4 squirrels. Keep in mind that if you find a nest with only 1 or 2 babies, survey the area for more. Don't worry if there is only 1 to 3 found.

For the following information, I will use "him" as a singular term but utilize the information for multiple squirrels if you are caring for more than one.

Initial & Immediate Tasks: Assess the Health & Body Temperature

Body Temperature

The first thing to do is to make sure the baby is warm. Place the baby in a small box (like a shoe box.) Keep the baby warm. If he has not yet opened his eyes, use a box with high sides. Make sure the box has a ventilated lid. You can cut a large hole in the top of 1 box and duct tape a piece of screen over the hole. This is to assure he cannot get out because he will crawl around even when very young. Next, .Place a heating pad on LOW on ½ of the bottom of the box. Cover him with soft baby blanket. Squirrels feel secure when they can hide in a blanket. Do not use a towel because the baby can snag his little toes and toenails or even twist and break his fragile ankles. Test the heating pad to be sure the temperature is not too warm but at a comfortable 99 degrees.


Your second mission is to check for dehydration. It is very common for abandoned squirrels to be dehydrated. To verify, gently pinch the skin between the shoulder blades behind the neck. If the skin stays "tented" for a few seconds then you know he is dehydrated. His fluids must be replenished but never give fluids or feed a cold baby. If he is warm or after he has been warmed, try giving him Pedialyte because that is the best hydrating solution to use. Most pharmacies and grocery stores carry it in the baby aisle. Do not attempt formula or food at this point.

The Initial Feedings

B efore feeding formula or foods, feed him at least a few meals using the Pedialyte. Any animal that is dehydrated may become very sick or even die if food or formula is given too soon. They can't digest foods well when in this condition.

R ight after feeding, the baby will need to be stimulated to urinate, especially if his eyes are still closed or if he has recently opened them. To do this, gently stroke his abdomen and genital area with a warm damp cloth. He should urinate but if he has not been fed for a while, he may not urinate much right away. If and when the squirrel is a bit older and being fed regular feedings of formula or food, you will need to stimulate him to have a bowel movement. You won't see too much, if any, if it is an infant and only still being fed Pedialyte or formula. Be patient because it can take several minutes for results. The urine should be light yellow. If it is too dark, feed him more often or stimulate him to urinate more frequently. Continue this process after each feeding until you are sure he is old enough to eliminate on his own. Just so you're aware, his urine may have a strong smell to it which is from the formula.This will subside after he has been weaned.

N ext, you need to check the size of his belly before you feed again. If the size is not smaller by the time the he is due for another feeding then he has not been able to digest the substance from the previous feeding. Don't feed him again until you stimulate. See if he will urinate or have a bowel movement. If he does not eliminate, he may have gas, bloat or may be constipated. If you think this may be the case, then you can soak the lower half of his body in warm water and massage his back, sides and abdomen. He will need to pass gas or some stool to satisfy the problem. During the soaking and stimulation process, be cautious not to allow him to become cold.

Video of Proper Feeding of a Baby Squirrel

This short video will show you the proper way to syringe feed

How Much and How Often to Feed the Squirrel

Warm a small amount of Pedialyte in the microwave that is enough for only one feeding. Test the liquid to be sure that it is not too warm. Initially, give the baby ½ cc of the Pedialyte every 15 minutes for the first two hours.

VERY IMPORTANT:If you notice any formula coming out of his nose, stop feeding and immediately and use a tissue to pat his nose dry. Keep tissue close by while feeding. Do not allow the baby to breathe the formula back in again when this happens. Wait until he can breathe properly again before you continue to feed him.

You will need a small, tip dropper or a l cc needle-less syringe to feed the baby. Most veterinary clinics will provide you with a dosing syringe if needed. Feed him slowly and keep only the tip of the dropper in his mouth. If he sucks too hard, he may take the liquid into his lungs. Be sure you hold him upright when feeding.

Picture of a baby at 1 to 2 weeks of age:

To Begin Feedings:

**Once the baby is rehydrated for several days, you can begin feedings every 2 hours. Every 2 hours is only for an infant under 2 to 3 weeks of age. Read on for older squirrel feeding schedule.

  • Mix 1 part Powered Puppy Milk Replacer such as Espalac with 2 parts distilled water and 1/4 part whipping cream (not whipped cream) or plain yogurt.
  • Make only enough for a three-day supply.
  • Warm enough for one feeding in the microwave as with the Pedialyte.
  • The baby's first formula feedings should be introduced gradually.
  • For the first two feedings, mix 75% Pedialyte with 25% formula.
  • For the next three to four feedings, mix half of each
  • For the next three to four feedings, mix 75% formula with 25% Pedialyte.
  • After this gradual introduction, give 100% formula

Feeding Schedule by Age of Squirrel

  • Between 7 to 10 weeks old: Feed every four hours until weaned to solids only.
  • Under two weeks old: Feed every two hours
  • At 4 to 5 Weeks old until eyes are opened: Feed every three hours
  • After the baby has opened his eyes, you can begin to gradually introduce solid food
  • Between 7 to 10 weeks old: Feed every four hours until weaned to solids only.

  • Remember; continue to feed the baby his formula until he no longer wants it. (About 7 to 10 weeks)
  • Proper nutrition is very important. When ready, you can offer the baby Primate Dry Monkey Biscuits. This product has the right amount of nutrients to help protect the baby from severe illnesses such as seizures, malnutrition and especially Metabolic Bone Disease.

Meet "Krunchie" My First Rehab

Meet "Krunchie" My First Rehab
Meet "Krunchie" My First Rehab

Properly Housing the Squirrel by Age

Even as the squirrel ages, it is still important that he keeps warm, but not too warm. Don't place his house directly under a vent or drafty location. You still want to keep him at around 99 degrees. Squirrels feel secure when they can hide in the blanket, so always keep a light blanket (remember, not a towel) available to him. Any large container or cat carrier is best for him in the first couple months but prepare for aging housing needs.

The higher a squirrel rests, the safer he feels, so you'll need a bigger cage as he grows.

A squirrel needs to chew because his teeth never stop growing. In fact, they can grow into his jaw if he cannot grind them down. Place tree branches (with no shards or sharp edges) into the carrier or cage with him so he can scratch and chew on it. Cat scratching aids are also helpful, especially ones he can hide in. You can give him a thick, clean dog bone and pine cones, too. He needs to gnaw and chew but he needs to get used to climbing, playing and eventually foraging for food.

As the baby squirrel grows and becomes more active, purchase a large cage with enough room for him to climb. He must have plenty of room to climb and build muscles or he can develop physical problems.

Be sure the indoor cage is at least 24 inches wide, 24 inches long and at least 3 feet high. Provide shelves for him to climb and lay on. Remember, the higher a squirrel rests, the safer he feels. Eventually, you will start to hide his food in various places so he can learn to forage. You can start this at any time but be sure you remember where you hid food in case he doesn't find it and it goes bad. Continue reading below for training your squirrel for life as a wild squirrel on his own in the big world.

Additional Housing Information

The cage must have sleeping box with blankets for padding and also to hide in. The higher the box is in the cage, the safer he feels. You can secure a box with wire and branches from outside of the cage.  Do not use a cage with a wire grid bottom. This is not comfortable for him and is also danger to his little feet possibly getting caught. A flat, hard plastic, metal or sanded wood is the best surface for the flooring of his quarters.

Be sure to have a water source in the cage but do not use plastic containers (for food or water) because he WILL chew them up.. Attach a small ceramic water cup from the outside of the cage. You can use a hanging bottle but he may require help to understand how to use it. Before you stop feeding him his formula, be sure he is drinking from his new water source.

Ready, Set, PLAYTIME!!

Indoor & Outdoor Play Training

P lay is important because squirrels need companionship. Having more than one squirrel is beneficial because upon their release, two or more squirrels will help each other survive and ward off squirrel bullies. Squirrels are naturally playful animals and it is also a way for them to socialize in the wild.

W hile still full time living inside, allow him out of his "house" to play for at least an hour a day, but more in increments if possible. The squirrel will start pacing if he is kept in a small cage for too long. He can also suffer from heart failure and die from being confined for too long. However, do not let this discourage you from keeping him in your care for the appropriate amount of time! Releasing an inexperienced squirrel too early will leave him vulnerable to starvation, predators, and many other dangers. At four months, a baby still lacks any sense of direction and is very easy prey. Therefore, around six months of age is usually the most recommended time to release.

T ake him outside each day in a carrying case at first. This way, he can get used to the sounds and smells along with the atmosphere but still feel safe and secure. Do this for at least a week. By the time he is ready to play unconfined outdoors with you, he will most likely be very attached to you and look to you for comfort and safety. Don't be concerned if he won't leave your body the first few times. However, he will eventually want to explore. Almost certainly, he will not go too far when not on your person. He will explore, but notice he will keep looking back at you to be sure you're still there. Keep encouraging him when playing. Word of caution: Don't allow him to jump onto low rooftops, near water (especially standing water) or other areas where he may get stuck, climb too high and be scared to climb down, etc. (Been there, done that...learned the hard way during my first rehab! DOH!!)

Emotional Attachment

Most times, any animal that a human raises, especially from infancy, will become attached to their handler/parent. This is a natural act. It is fine to receive and show affection to and from the baby animal, but being human, it is difficult for us to eventually let them go when ready. You have to remember that it is a wild animal that will be happier in its natural surroundings.

Cleaning the Cage

Your squirrels’ cage must be cleaned daily! You can use a mild detergent but do not use bleach or anything toxic! An example would be to add a couple tablespoons of Murphy's Oil Soap in a gallon of water. Use that to wash the shelves and bottom of the cage. His toys will also need washed, especially if you smell urine on them. For toys, you can use mild dish liquid and be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Sunlight Exposure is a Must!

A squirrel needs to be exposed to sunlight each day, so place his cage by a window that receives adequate sunlight. He can begin to lose his hair and suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D if lacking exposure. The window must be screened because the rays from the sun cannot penetrate through glass. Unless the weather is too cold, try to keep the window open if a screen is not available. You can also move his cage outside for an hour or two as long as he receives proper air ventilation. Otherwise, use an approved pet sun lamp.

Solid Foods-When & What to Feed

The squirrel will start to turn away from formula which is his way of telling you he's ready for solids and water full time. This will usually happen between 7 to 10 weeks of age.

After the baby is eating the Monkey Biscuits well, you can begin to slowly introduce (but one at a time to be sure he doesn't have an allergy or get an upset stomach) a variety of other nuts, raw fruit and vegetables. Change out the food twice a day to avoid any food rotting or going stale.

NOTE: Squirrels can be picky and will not like some foods. He will sometimes urinate on food that he does not like or wipe his mouth on the ground. This is his way of telling you he's not diggin' those particular foods.

Permissible & Recommended Solids

You can now try feeding the following:

Sweet potato, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn on cob, carrots, lettuce, green pepper, berries, pineapple, melon, pear, Hickory nuts, chestnuts, peas, kiwi, squash, peaches, apples, avocado, acorns, figs, dates, pears, celery, mushrooms, pistachio nuts, grains, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds (without salt) and also try Hartz Mountain green thin hamster food. You can also give store bought dry cereal that doesn't contain salt or too much sugar. Occasional Froot Loops or Cherrios are fine. (My squirrels always loved those.)

It is not recommended to buy any type of packaged "squirrel feed" from pet or feed stores.

A squirrel needs to chew because his teeth never stop growing. In fact, they can grow into his jaw if he cannot grind them down.

Other Important Tips & Advise

To relax or calm a baby to sleep, stroke gently under his chin and neck.

Squirrels are very fragile so never allow a child play with him. It is also not recommended to allow more than one or two humans to handle the squirrel because it can make him too "people friendly" or may rely on humans to continue caring for him after his release. Unfortunately, people can be cruel and if a squirrel is too friendly with humans, some humans may not be too friendly or take kindly to being approached by one.

NEVER grab a squirrel by the tail! It can easily break off and will not grow back! OUCH!

"Lilly" Sleeping

"Lilly" Sleeping
"Lilly" Sleeping

Training the Squirrel for Life Without You

You will need to train your little one to build a nest to sleep in and be capable to ward off other squirrel bullies when he is on his own after release. Therefore, start “training” him as soon as possible by placing nesting items inside his house. When you first give him the “tools” for a nest, break it all up into small, loose sections and allow him to put it together. Use small tree branches, grass, leafy, thin branches, etc. Hopefully, he will instinctively start to build a nest and may even sleep or relax in it. It will look like tiny birds nest or a big ball of brush. If he doesn’t seem to know what to do with the brush you’ve provided, start the nest for him and let him watch you. He will probably finish it. Place the nesting brush sections off the flooring; preferably on a shelf within his house. He will need to build his nest up high after release.

This particular picture is one of my rehabs I received when the litter was only a few days old. After about 2 weeks or less, I noticed there was something quite different about them. I wondered why they weren't larger and why they had web-like arms. It turned out I had a litter of Southern Flying Squirrels. Flyers require different care than "regular" squirrels. I immediately contacted a wildlife rehabilitation center and did more research on my own in order to properly care for this species of squirrel. What a fantastic experience. These squirrels are amazing.

Though the picture above features a Flying Squirrel, it is a great example of what to place inside any squirrel house.

I did have to purchase different housing accommodations, food, milk replacement, etc. for these squirrels. Flying squirrels need a lot more room in order to learn to "fly" so, one of my purchases included a $200, 4 foot tall "condo" as you can see here:

Size Difference Between Flying & Tree Squirrels

To the right is "Lemon," at 5 weeks of age:

This little one below, "Moo," was a Flying Squirrel.

At age 5 weeks,

you can clearly see the difference

in size of a Flyer vs. a regular tree squirrel.

Bet'cha Didn't Know...Female red squirrels are so promiscuous that they sometimes mate with up to 14 male squirrels in a single day!

Release Preparation & the Big Day

Usually at 5 to 6 Months of Age

He's Ready. Are YOU?

Be sure the baby has been in an outside cage for at least a couple weeks prior to releasing him. This will help him get used to being outdoors without you there with him all the time, yet still safe. Be sure the release area is safe from dogs, cats and not too close to a high traffic road. The best place would be a local state or federal reserve. Be sure there is plenty of water, food, and fruit and nut trees around.

You can also release him in your own yard and if you're lucky, he may become a permanent resident. Place a squirrel feeder (nut box) and keep it filled with stripped sunflower seeds mixed with raw peanuts and/or other nonperishable foods I recommended above. Make certain he know where the food will be and continue to provide food for at least several weeks after release.

Do not release the squirrel in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Wait for a nice day, then brace yourself. Open the cage door and let him go on his own. Leave the cage open for him to come and go as he wants or needs. Stay with him but keep a good amount of distance. If he is ready, he'll take off for an amount of time as to where he feels confident and ready to proceed on his own...for the most part. If he disappears, you've done your job. But, read on.

For the first week after a full release, try to watch him until he has his confidence and can find food and water adequately and regularly.

He will probably return to the cage to sleep and eat for a while. Be sure he has fresh food and be sure to close the cage at night to keep predators out. Open the cage again at dawn so that he can continue to explore his new world. When he has found a new home, he will not return to the cage again. Remove the cage, clean it thoroughly and store it for another possible rescue. You can also donate it to a wildlife rehabilitation center or local animal shelter or hospital.

Squirrels Do Not Make Good Pets!

Facts and Food for Thought

The hardest part is when your little one takes off and doesn't come back for the first time ever upon final release. You will probably cry. I cry every time! It is an emotional moment.

Squirrels do not make good pets. Though they are very playful animals and are seemingly domesticated when you see them in the wild, they are still WILD animals. Once they mature, especially when mating season is afoot, squirrels can and will become very aggressive and demand freedom. Yes, they do form somewhat of an attachment to their human handler/parent, but they are wild and need/deserve to live life as nature intended. Don't deny them that simply because you don't want to let them go. Also, they will scratch you up and your furniture. They will pee and poop all over, chew everything including electrical cords which can kill them and possibly burn your house down. They can't live in a cage after maturity (for reasons I explained above) and you simply cannot allow them to have unsupervised roaming freedom of the house.

So, after your squirrel raising adventure, pat yourself on the back, cherish the experience and memories, know you have done good for the animal world and smile. The dedication and commitment you put into this is commendable. I know it is emotional to see them off into the world to go live a big boy or big girl squirrel life, but it is part of the process; part of life. I thank you, the animal kingdom thanks you, all animal lovers thank you and the universe in general will certainly repay you with good karma!

Were You Here? - Feedback, Questions & Comments 60 comments

Demaw profile image

Demaw 7 years ago

Where I used to live the local squirrels used to come inside the house from an upper window.

Very in depth information on caring for them, it shows lots of patience and caring. 5*

anonymous 7 years ago

I have raised many gray squirrels, but I am looking for more info on southern flying squirrels. This is the first one I have rescued. He is approx. 3-4 weeks of age and doing very well on Esbilac. Do you have any more info on this specific critter? Any info will be useful! BTW, I live in Florida, where I believe you can keep a SFS, but I prefer to release him. Thanks! Donna

SusannaDuffy profile image

SusannaDuffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

What a lovely lens! Informative and a great resource. Blessed by an Angel who loves Animals (

perciavalle profile image

perciavalle 6 years ago

Really neat! I had no idea you could in one generation tame a squirrel like that from infancy.

anonymous 6 years ago

I just was given 4 baby squirrels today. Guessing they are bout 4 wks?? Your web page is AWESOME! Great info! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Wish me luck! This is gonna be hectic! But I plan to give it my best!

anonymous 6 years ago

coolr, I caught a squirrel in a have a heart trap but I let it go. I think it liked me because it came back. I named it Foster. It was a young red squirrel.

anonymous 6 years ago

My husband is a pest control operator and found 5 baby northern flying squirrles. He brought them home yesterday and I am trying my hardest to keep them warm and feed. So far so good, they are about 8 days as far as I can tell from my research. Any help would be greatly appreciated.l; thanks

anonymous 6 years ago

You mentione the urine of a squirrel should be light yellow, but remember if it's a Fox squirrel the urine will be peach colored. Some people think there is blood in it and get frightened.

weldingreptile 5 years ago

I love squirrels!!!

Brankica LM profile image

Brankica LM 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

Blessed by a Squidoo Angel :)

anonymous 5 years ago

We found a nest today fully intact with babies inside. We weren't sure if the mother was around. We got a box and cut a small circle out on one side. Then we put the nest inside the box, closed up the box and placed the box close to where we found the nest with the hole almost against the tree the nest fell out of. I could tell these were older babies with fur and their eyes were open. Did we do the right thing? We will check in the morning to see if they made it through the night. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Lilyowen 5 years ago

@anonymous: Leslie, if the mother hasn't come back before dark she's not going to. Squirrels aren't out after dark. You will need to warm them up and syringe feed them. I am a squirrel rehabber and I can help you. Please e-mail me at Also, there is a great website, squirrel nutrition and care; just Google Clarissa Summers. Normally a mother will come back before dark and it doesn't matter if you've touched them. She will move them.

anonymous 5 years ago


i had a squirrel named nutty ,she was really my angel,i got her near by my clinic,she lost her mother,me n my hubby raised her,we used to play wid her,adore her like anythin,on 7-6-11 she was burrowing her bedding n was getting out the cotton out of it,i was noticing it for 2 days she was doin so n i think aws eating it also,so i shouted nutty leave it darling,so she did n hided behind the microwave,my cousin was there at my place on that day,when someone else come at our place nutty use to be uncomfortableas i reached to microwave she just ran off the microwave n jumped from my balcony to wall n then did'n came back,i just called her again n again,kept some food for her but she did.t ate even not even drank,tried to catch her,gone more high,and as soon as the night occurred don't know where she dissappeared my angel my darilng,everyday,i go to the top of my aapartment search for my darlin look for her,she was just 2months 1 week old my heart pain like anything i love her like anything,she was not just a squirrel to me but was my baby my life to me,don like to eat don like to shop....just doin my work coz that's my responsibility....plz pray for my nutty....i just want to see her once,we were planning to release her but not like this,we wantede to prepare her for the world outside i am so worried for my angel...plz help..if u can advise me kindly advice me on my email id

anonymous 5 years ago

Hello we found a baby squirrel while out hiking on the trail we estimate his age to be about 3 weeks. We found another nearby dead. We have fwd and warmed the guy but he is in a lot of pain and seems to have dislocated his right shoulder. What should we do?

Lilyowen 5 years ago

@anonymous: Cheryl, he needs some help. It's good that you are keeping him warm but if he's a baby he needs formula (use a one cc syringe or 3cc at the largest). Scald some whole milk, let it cool and add a drop of vitamin E oil (the edible kind) and a dollop of whole yogurt. If you Google Clarissa Summers you will find an excellent website that will help you, and you can e-mail her directly. If you are near Portland Oregon I can take him. I am a squirrel rehabber. He will probably need some pain medication like Metacam. You can call me directly if you wish. 503 245-1868 or 503 348-1495.


anonymous 5 years ago

A friend of mine found a baby squirrel last evening and another one nearby that was no longer alive. Based on information of your site as well as photos, the baby squirrel appears to be nearing 6 weeks of age. It has fur, it has one tooth in the front AND only one eye is open. Do the eyes open at the same time or would this be uncommon? There appear to be no injuries to the squirrel. It is feeding on infant puppy formula (every 4 hours) from a syringe, peeing and pooping, and climbing and burrowing. Calls to the local wildlife rehabilitation center have not been returned and at this point, my friend cannot abandon this poor baby. Any information you can provide on if the eyes can open at different times would be apprecaited and if you can any advice or additional information to assist my friend in a crash course on being a surrogate quirrel mom in the interim would be most appreciated. You have done a fantastic job on your website and we are thankful to have come across it!

Lilyowen 5 years ago

@anonymous: Amy, where are you located? Squirrel's eyes most often open at different times, so that is not strange. He actually has two teeth if you look closely. They will turn orange on the outside when he gets older. If you Google this website...Clarissa Summers, you will get her squirrel nutrition and care website. I first found her 12 years ago and have used her methods since then, caring for and finally releasing a few hundred squirrels successfully. My e-mail is if you would like to talk to me and I'll give you my phone number. If you are in Oregon or Washington I can help you out. I currently have 11 babies. It is nice if you can have at least two to raise together. I hope she has the baby in blankets with a heating pad on low under half of the container.


anonymous 4 years ago

Hi there. I have hand reared a male squirrel. Another guy had found him as a baby but he was going abroad so I took him on (not my first squirrel) . He is now ready for release and I have been preparing him with an outside aviary and minimum contact. My concern with the release this time is there don't seem to be many squirrels about! Last time I released in my mums garden where there were a few about, she came back a few times after release. But unfortunately there are too many cats in my mums street now and no squirrels. Any advice, he is ready to be out in the big world now but I am concerned about where to go this time. I have a friend that has a garden with a family of squirrels and she could keep an eye. Her house backs onto a school field and her road is very quiet. However I would have liked to have released him somewhere away from any roads and people ideally. My other thought was Tiggywinkles. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

anonymous 4 years ago

Hi I just wanted to let you know you site is wonderful and full of great information thank you for taking the time to do this for us people who are new and want to try it. I am a hugh animal lover and I just released my little boy squirell today and I am having a very hard time with it. As you say in your article it's very heart breaking!! But your are right they don't deserve to be kept in a cage their whole life when they love to jump, play and climb. That's what the outside world has to offer for them!!! thank you again....the animal lover

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: Hi Barb; I hope you can stay nearby today and keep watch for your baby. The 4th of July is not an ideal time to release because of all the fireworks. I wait until a few days later. I'm glad you were able to take such good care of your little squirrel and I wish him all the best in his new world!

anonymous 4 years ago

hey this sight helped a lot but.. i have a baby squirrel whos about 4 months old and we just got him yesterday. he has only half of a tail because it was broken. the vet had to cut most of it off. this means i can't release out to the wild. so what do i do once its grown??? ive grown and released squirrels before but none of them had an injury that kept them from being released. i just don't know what to do. please help. thx, alayna

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: Alayna, google Clarissa Summers. The website is Squirrel Nutrition and Care. I've rehabbed hundreds of squirrels and have several pets that were not releasable. They are happy and healthy. Make sure she stays friendly; handle her lots and the same for family members. Squirrels sometimes will latch on to one person and hate everyone else.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for the info, I am always seekingmore info on rescuing squirrels. I currently have one that still had her umbilical cord about 3 weeks ago. Today is rough because for the first time she hadblood in her stool which is normally light brown. I do stimulate her to urinate and have a BM. It is harder to get the BM.

What can I do to help her?

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: what are you feeding her? You've had her for three weeks and she hasn't had a problem before this? Are you sure it's blood? Are you adding a bit of organic yogurt to her formula?

Lilyowen 4 years ago

No offense, but you're suggestion to leave out peanuts and sunflower seeds is wrong. Peanuts are not nuts, and are junk food for squirrels. Hazelnuts (filberts) and walnuts are the correct nuts to put in your feeder. I know they sell corn, striped sunflower seeds and peanuts as squirrel food, but it's WRONG. Just like the pet stores sell the wrong bedding often for pet rats and it can kill them. Black oil sunflower seeds are better if you have to give them, but only as a treat.

anonymous 4 years ago

John I have a female squirrel. Her name is skippy she is 9 year's. Old The vet was going to put her down because her teeth. Were missed. Aline and would grow out of control I cut her teeth for 2 years. With cutting pliers when it started hurting her I went to A specialists. 1200. Later no top teeth AYear later 1200. For bottom teeth removed last year she got cysticis that means she could. Not urinate.1100. Later good as new skippy goes everywhere. With my wife and I to work dayli. Not on payroll weddings. Party's. Boating name it she's. Been there you guessed. It she has to sleep in the bed with us no none never has she had a mistake she is paper trained that's any paper including money if its paper it's. Fair game she comes when I call her most of time she rides in the car no seat Belts I also have feral cats she is king of the mountain. This kid bobs the cats on the head and chasers them the cats are afraid of her. did I tell you she talks I know you think I'm pulling your leg e mail with your phone no I'll have.her call you I 'll have to dial the no. I haven't taught her to do that yet.

Lilyowen 4 years ago

John, you ROCK! You stuck by her with all her ailments and took care of her when she needed you. You got a lifetime worth of love and friendship in return. I love people like you.

anonymous 4 years ago

My name is Carly. I was given a baby squirrel Sunday. The people werent able to take care of him. I'm estimating he's 4 or more weeks old... I've never done this before. He does have very small top and bottom teeth, a thick coat, and he's very alert and playful. I haven't got a cage for him yet, I have him

In a very large box with a fluffy blanket and water and some food( I've been giving him fruits like bananas blueberries and grapes) I've also been syringe feeding him puppy formula. He seems to be doing very well and he's already pretty attached to me.

My questions are: am I caring for him right?

Can they lap up water from a dish? I'm worried about him dehydrating once I've weaned him.

What are their characteristics? Like how can I tell if he's happy or frustrated? And what do their different noises mean?

And any other advice... I want to do this and do it well.

anonymous 4 years ago

My name is Carly. I was given a baby squirrel Sunday. The people weren't able to take care of him. I'm estimating he's 4 or more weeks old... I've never done this before. He does have very small top and bottom teeth, a thick coat, and he's very alert and playful. I haven't got a cage for him yet, I have him

In a very large box with a fluffy blanket and water and some food( I've been giving him fruits like bananas blueberries and grapes) I've also been syringe feeding him puppy formula. He seems to be doing very well and he's already pretty attached to me.

My questions are: am I caring for him right?

Can they lap up water from a dish? I'm worried about him dehydrating once I've weaned him.

What are their characteristics? Like how can I tell if he's happy or frustrated? And what do their different noises mean?

And any other advice... I want to do this and do it well.

anonymous 4 years ago

I visited your site and am feeling much more knowledgeable! Thank you!

anonymous 4 years ago

Hi, my husband and I found a baby last week on the side of the road, we looked around and saw no others or a nest. So we picked him up and decided to try to see if we could save this little guy. He was severely dehydrated it was 100 degrees out last week and no telling how long he had been on the road. I started him on the pedialyte as mentioned on your site and responded very well. I'm guessing he his maybe 4 wks old, he just opened his eyes yesterday, we found him last week. He was on the pedialyte for 2 days then I slowly introduced the formula mixture, seemed to be adjusting to it nicely. My question now is, for 2 days now he has had a lot of sneezing and nasty drainage from his nose, I got a bulb syringe and have been trying to suck as much out as possible. Not sure what else to do. Any advice at all would be greatfull this little one has been through so much already. Thank you!

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: You probably gave him the pedialyte for too long. He needed nutrition. Once is okay, but two days can kill. Sounds like he's sick now. I wish you the best, but think: if he was with his mother, would he be eating sugar water for two days? I know there are many websites out there. Anyone can post. Be very careful and think before taking advise. E-mail me directly if you want to talk and maybe I can help a bit. I wish you the best. my e-mail is and I've been rehabbing squirrels for 13 years. Not an expert, but have been very successful and I do have several veterinarian friends that I get help from in dire circumstances.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you and how can i start up a squirrel rehab?

anonymous 4 years ago

I'm sad, we rescued our baby squirrel and he's almost 6 months..I'm scared to release him but know I have too..he wakes up every morning gets out of his cage and crawls into bed with me and snuggles ..

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: Christina, it's too late in the year to release a squirrel. You really should winter him over. He doesn't have any skills. People who release before 6 months are just wrong. I don't know where you live, but the weather is going to be changing. He doesn't have a nest or know yet how to make one. Please don't let him go yet. It's cruel. I winter my Spring and Fall babies over unless they are really early Spring babies and over six months and I can do it while it's still summer. Also I make sure to have nest boxes outside and some in the laundry room as well, so they can come home if they need to. It's tougher on boys, too. They get beat up often.

anonymous 4 years ago

I have a male gray for the past three weeks. Has done well . Eyes opened, takes his formula great and starting to nibble at solids. In a carrier now with a heating pad. Prepared for the near future with a larger accomodations that will allow him to climb and mature his muscles. Expect to release in the spring as he has no ouside nest or skills to forage and certainly no store of foods to draw upon. He will get good care until his time to be a real outside squirrel ! O.K my question , and it's for me , what can I do for his bathroom habits/Accomodation ? Realize they will not go in their nest ( which is great ) but what can I do to encourage him to use a specific area in his cage ? His first urination , on his own, was on the carpet because I did not get him to void fast enough after eating. That is something that will be a problem over the next winter months. Any help or suggestions ? He is a great little guy just need some advice on the subject.

anonymous 4 years ago

I have a male gray for the past three weeks. Has done well . Eyes opened, takes his formula great and starting to nibble at solids. In a carrier now with a heating pad. Prepared for the near future with a larger accommodations that will allow him to climb and mature his muscles. Expect to release in the spring as he has no ouside nest or skills to forage and certainly no store of foods to draw upon. He will get good care until his time to be a real outside squirrel ! O.K my question , and it's for me , what can I do for his bathroom habits/Accommodation ? Realize they will not go in their nest ( which is great ) but what can I do to encourage him to use a specific area in his cage ? His first urination , on his own, was on the carpet because I did not get him to void fast enough after eating. That is something that will be a problem over the next winter months. Any help or suggestions ? He is a great little guy just need some advice on the subject.

anonymous 4 years ago

Hi, we were walking our big Rodesian ridgeback when we noticed a baby squirrel in the middle of the road. We scooped him up in a box and hes been living in a cat crate at night and in our backyard during the day with the crate open. He walks out to eat the peanuts we've crushed and he runs back in and hides under his towel which as of tomorrow.. will be a blanket. Had no clue he could hurt himself.

He's so sweet and would love to keep him but our dog will attack so we're not sure if we should let Belstone off into the wild yet. He eats peanuts and just loves to hide under his cushioned crate. We're in love but truly.. I don't feel it's right to cage a wild animal only because I worry how he'll fend for himself. Selfishly, I'd love to keep him forever and make our yard into a netted Squirrel sanctuary to keep the hawks away. Help! we're in LA and is there anyone that will take care of this little bundle of love?

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: First, don't feed him peanuts. They are legumes and are junk food for squirrels. Baby squirrels need calcium. If he's really a baby he should still be nursing. At least give him filberts and walnuts, fruit and veggies. Look up wildlife rehab in your area. LA is legal for squirrels and there are rehabbers there that will help you. Make sure he has a dish of water, too.

anonymous 4 years ago

I feed the squirrels in our yard peanuts. Is this ok since I am not raising them. I have probably 20 that hang around and come up to us. They do come up often so they are getting a lot. Should I change to another nut or food source. I also noticed several are about to have babies and I really thought they had babies in the spring. We live in the Charleston, SC are so our climate is mild. I have also noticed they are fighting a lot, actually causing wounds on each other. Are they fighting over the food?

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: It would be much better if you could give them hazelnuts (filberts), walnuts, or other nuts you have in your area (pecans?) A lot of people give out peanuts so you don't know how much they're getting. Squirrels have babies twice a year; Spring and Fall. It's common for them to have more babies in their Fall batch, for instance 2 in Spring and 4 in Fall. Not sure what your squirrels are fighting over! It shouldn't be mating season, but we've noticed here in Oregon that their timing has changed dramatically. My guess is global warming, but I am definitely not a scientist!

anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you so much for the response. We were doing halved pecans but they became very expensive with the amount of squirrels that are showing up. I understand the nutritional value now, not sure why I didn't think of that first, so will go back to peacans and walnuts, just doing the whole pecans as they will also help with their teeth. We have a walnut and oak tree so they are getting additional nuts. Thank you

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: Jean, something you might want to look into if you're serious about feeding the squirrels is to look for a grower. For instance, I go to a place that actually grows, shells, and bags the nuts for sale and I get a very good deal. The nuts are not "human quality" and are generally sold to pet stores. I got grandfathered in many years ago because they really don't sell to the public, but it would be worth your while to check around. I pay15-20$ for a 40lb bag of filberts. In the pet store they sell the same nuts for $1.29 to over $2.00 a lb. It depends, of course, what grows in your area.

anonymous 4 years ago

I need help; I found a baby squirrel, about 5 weeks old... I tried to get the mother to come back but she never did. I couldn't just leave it on my porch because I have dogs & I'd worry! I'm afraid to touch it or even try (don't want it to bite me, even tho the front teeth are hardly showing). It's to late to contact a rescue place. Right now, i have it warm & in a tank that was going to be used for a lizzard; i hate the glass, but it's all i've got. I have the sides mostly covered so it feels a bit safer.... what should I do for overnight care (just until I can find someone who rescues babies in this situation).... Thank you!

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: Keep him warm; heating pad on low under half or a third of the tank. Top front teeth don't show when they're that young anyway. He should have two tiny ones showing on the bottom. He's not going to bite you. Keep soft blankets in there. Scald some whole organic milk (nearly boiling) and cool it off. Feed the baby with a syringe, no bigger than a 3cc size. Do not use a baby bottle. Google the name Clarissa Summers and you will find a website called "Squirrel Nutrition and Care". It will help you until you can get the baby to a rehabber. What state are you in?

anonymous 4 years ago

i have a five week old squirrel and i don't have esbilac. What can i feed him?

Lilyowen 4 years ago

@anonymous: I don't like Esbilac. You can use Fox Valley, but you have to order it by mail. Otherwise, get some whole organic milk (make sure it has vitamin A and D added; some don't) and some whole organic plain yogurt. Scald the milk, then cool it and add a bit of yogurt. Put a few drops of vitamin D oil in. Feed the baby with a syringe (no bigger than 3cc size). If you want more info on the scalded milk Google the name Clarissa Summers and you will come up with a website called "Squirrel Nutrition and Care". I have been rehabbing squirrels for 15 years and this works well. I don't release my babies until they are WELL over 6 months old, which means keeping them over winter if they are Fall babies. Because of this I know they are healthy and alive outside because I see them for years. If you feed the wrong things then release early you'll never know if they are alive or healthy or not.

anonymous 4 years ago

My wife and i was given a baby squirrel. The friend that gave him to us kept his brother. The one she kept already has his eyes open but ours hasn't opened his yet. I was just wondering if this is normal? It's been about a week now and ours seems to be doing great other than his eyes haven't opened. The only other thing we've noticed is that his poop is alittle loose and sometimes runny. We are feeding him Nutri Vet milk replacement for puppies. Our vet told us to add a little bit of wipping cream to it, so that's what we've done. He is very active and eats really good for us. We have grown very fond of him and would like to make sure we are doing everything correct. Thank you.

Lilyowen 4 years ago

Don't feed him puppy milk. That's why he has loose poop. Squirrel poop should be tiny, dark, and hard little balls. It's not weird for them to open their eyes at different times. Sometimes they'll open one eye one day and the other another day. I had triplet boys once that all opened their right eye one day. It was funny because then I STILL couldn't tell them apart!

Please go to this website. Google the name Clarissa Summers and you will come up with a website called "squirrel nutrition and care". It is very important for the baby to have calcium, and certain things will block calcium. Too much to explain here. A squirrel can look healthy, and then just drop dead at three months old. You have to feed them properly. If you want to e-mail me, it is


anonymous 3 years ago

@anonymous: Please write me I love my squirrel .......

anonymous 3 years ago

Wow, this info was great. I really enjoyed reading... I have raised orphan babies of all kind all my life. I am really in my realm when I'm brought new have to say that I would keep the, all if I could because I do grow to love them all. This to me is what life is all about. Giving back to mother nature. I've just taken in 2 beautiful baby southern gray squirrels, both boys, and they look to be about two weeks old. Eyes still sealed. I was just doing research to educate myself a little further, can never hurt right. Is hard to believe that they need all this stuff just to get them prepared to leave and live. I must say it's all well worth it, spend through. My wallets always empty bit my heart is always full. I am an animal rescuer! And thank you, for all you do and provide US with!

anonymous 3 years ago

I've raised 8 baby squirrels over @ 6 years, all have been released and healthy. I found one 2 days ago on the ground near one of my large oak trees, I think a hawk got the mother,because I haven't seen her. Anyway this baby is @ 5 weeks old and in good shape she wasn't dehidraited when i found her ,so I started her on esbilac 5 cc's she's peeing every time after feeding but has not pooped I've tried to get her to but nothing her stomach is not bloated any suggestions? thanks Sean

anonymous 3 years ago

I too have one fir about a week, whose eyes opened yesterday. He is eating 7 to 8 ml of Esbilac mixed 2 to 1. He hasn't pooped in the last four feedings. He eats every 3.5 to 4 hours and always acts like he's starving. His stomach is bloating some. I've even sat him in warm water up to his waist and continued to rub his tummy. Would a couple of ml of pedialyte help? I'm worried.

anonymous 3 years ago

I saved a baby squirrel today mom and brother was ran over. I am an avid hunter but my heart took over and i felt sorry for the little one so i welcomed her to my family. I need all the info i can get.

anonymous 3 years ago

@anonymous: With a warm wet towel or cloth gently wipe its genital area as if a mother cleaning it

anonymous 3 years ago

Hi took in a baby squirrel today. He was ice cold n stiff I thought he was dead. I wrapped him up and was gonna bury him until having him in the blanket for a while I saw him move I gabe him a tiny but of pedialite n after hr or two of being on a heating bad he opened his eyes n was moving a lil bit. What shud I give him to eat I domt know how old he is. His eues are open he fits about the soze of my palm he has 2bottomteeth that are kinda long.

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SBPI Inc 3 years ago

This is a wonderful lens. Great accurate information. Love animals and many rescues including a squirrel. They certainly are cute.

anonymous 3 years ago

Hey I have recently taken on a baby squirrell that is about four weeks old well at first her stool was normal and hard now it has turned to liquid and it is orange what does that mean please help I have no idea what it could be and I really want to make sure she is ok..

anonymous 3 years ago

In the fall of 2011 a female red squirrel crawled into my sunroom dragging her back legs like rags. Turned out she had a fractured pelvis so I kept her inside and took care of her. Like guinea pigs they have very strong muscles in their hind ends that help keep things lined up while healing. She was able to use her legs somewhat in a little over a week but it was too late in the fall to put her out. It gets pretty cold in New Brunswick Canada. Charlie had the run of the house until spring and then decided on her own when to come in or stay out. Her hind sets higher than the other squirrels but otherwise she's good to go. As a matter of fact she healed a little too well. This spring she introduced me to her 7 babies that were born in my attic. I couldn't believe it. She took them down the wall one at a time wrapped around her head like a donut and set them on the floor. The last little fellow wasn't too sure he wanted to come down so it took her over two hours of coaxing and a lot of chattering to get him down. Cute, but OMG 7! Very nice site. Critters need all the help they can get these days. Not much place in the world for wildlings anymore.

Neha 15 months ago

i hd found two squirrels six mnths past. Nw he ran n nt cmg to cage. 4days past nw

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