It’s that time of year! What to do if you find a baby animal

by | Interesting |

The leaves are unfurling on the trees, flowers are blooming and many woodland critters are having their young. Spring has sprung and everyone is anxious to get out into the sunshine.  It’s a great time to go out for a walk with your furry companion or get some outdoor spring cleaning done. However, this could mean more encounters with wildlife for you and your animal companions. 

Baby squirrels at risk 

Baby squirrels are the first spring babies that can get into trouble. If a mother squirrel is killed by a car or a predator, babies will get desperate and fall from the nest. Or they can be knocked out of the nest by wind, or enthusiastic cleaning of a nesting area. 

Be patient 

Unlike mother raccoon, squirrels will not retrieve their young at night. If you discover a baby squirrel, give mom some time to retrieve the little one. It’s suggested you put the baby in a small box, with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to keep it warm. To do so, fill a bottle with warm water, wrap it with a towel and duct tape it to the container so it doesn’t roll. Do not attempt to feed baby squirrels. 

Protect and observe 

Place the container close to where you suspect the nest may be (ex. under a tree), then wait and observe. Protect the box from the elements. Ensure the box is out of sight from curious onlookers and animals. If the mother squirrel is able, she will come for her baby. If her baby isn’t retrieved within five to six hours, or if it is getting dark, you will need to get in touch with a local wildlife centre to advise on next steps. 

Be careful when spring cleaning! 

Squirrels will be nesting in eavestroughs, garden sheds, trees and other tucked away spots. 

If you think you have found an orphan, check out our blog on who can you call about orphaned/injured wildlife. 

 Get informed 

As you enjoy outdoor adventures with your furry companions during spring, you may come across other species of baby animals. Different species have different parenting styles.  Wait before intervening too soon as you may be putting that animal at risk. The baby’s mom may return. Give them a chance to reunite. 

Helpful information about orphaned rabbits can be found here. For general wildlife factsheets visit here. 

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