What’s normal for baby squirrels?

Squirrels are excellent mothers and take good care of their young. If you have disturbed a nest, or frightened a mother squirrel, you might see that squirrel run away from the nest or her baby. Don’t panic! There is a very good chance that she will return and continue to care for her young. Even if the baby has fallen from the nest, its mother can pick it up by the scruff of its neck and take it back to the nest.

What should I do if the baby is still in its nest?

Leave the nest alone and watch from a distance for several hours. If possible, temporarily stop any activities going on near the den site that might scare the mother (like construction). If the nest is inside a hole (e.g. in a roof), there is a simple test you can do to confirm the mother is returning for her baby: lightly tape a single sheet of newspaper over the adult squirrel’s entry hole. Check the paper periodically to see if it is still intact (if the mother is returning she will easily rip through the paper to get inside.

If you see the mother return to the nest or the paper is torn away, that’s great! The mother squirrel will continue to care for her babies, and they do not need further assistance.

If by the following day you do NOT see the mother return, or the paper or string is NOT disturbed, the baby is likely orphaned and in need of help.

The baby is orphaned, what now?

What should I do if the baby is outside its nest?

Leave the baby where you last saw the mother and baby together. If you did not see them together, leave the baby where you last saw the mother (if that spot is inaccessible, you can place the baby somewhere along the mother’s route to or from that spot). Clear the area of people and pets and monitor from a distance for 15–20 minutes, giving the mother squirrel the chance to return and retrieve her baby.

If the baby squirrel seems sick or injured in any way, do not leave it out for its mother – contact a rehabilitator instead.

If the mother does not return within 15–20 minutes, follow these steps to try reuniting the baby with its mother.

The mother has returned and retrieved the baby but I don’t want the squirrels living in that space. What can I do?