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  • USA Wildlife Removal Education Guide - What do wildlife rehabilitators do with squirrels?

What do wildlife rehabilitators do with squirrels?

Young squirrels are often displaced from their nests and mothers for a variety of reasons. They could simply fall from a nest, be pushed out by some predator, or the nest could fall because of bad weather or high winds. When this happens, the young squirrels are often turned over to a rehabilitation facility. “Rehabbers” will first assess the young squirrel determining its age and condition. Squirrels under three weeks will be pink and hairless, and require extra care. Pinkies as they are called are always in danger of dehydration. They must be fed electrolyte water and infant formula for the first few weeks.

They must also be kept warm. Once they have fur and their eyes are open, they can be moved to cages and begin to eat solid food. The handlers will begin to give them bits of fruit, baby food, and pieces of nuts and seeds. At a few months of age the facility will move them to fenced in outdoor areas where they can associate with other juvenile squirrels and learn social interaction “in the wild”. While living in these extremely large cages they learn to live in a scurry, or colony of squirrels. They also learn to forage for food and build a nest. At 4 to 6 months of age the young adult squirrel is re-assessed.

If its health is good, and it appears to be socializing and exhibiting foraging skills it is ready to be released. The young adult squirrel will be taken to within 2 miles of where it was found, and released into the wild. When it is released it will be given a squirrel box to nest in which will be attached to a tree, and a small amount of feed. Within 2 to 3 days the squirrel should leave the nesting box and go off on its own. The “rehabbers” will periodically check on the squirrel for a few weeks to make sure it has adjusted to its new home.

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