Found a Squirrel! HELP!!!

Isabella

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Hi everyone,

You won't believe what happened today. I and my family found a tiny - I think a baby - squirrel in my driveway today! She is about 5" long, so is it still a baby or is it some older squirrel? I really have NO IDEA about squirrels, so I need your help on what to do now. I know some of you have raised (or are still raising) baby squirrels so perhaps you'll tell me what to do.

The squirrel can walk but she seems not to be able to jump and run. Her eyes seem clear but her nose is kind of weird - it's either dirty or it has some dried blood on it. She doesn't seem to have any broken bones, as she's moving normally. She doesn't seem aggressive and she stays calm when we pet her (we use gloves when we touch her as she may have some disease).

We noticed her when she was sitting in the middle of our driveway - she was just sitting there and looked as if she were falling asleep. When we walked closed to her, she wouldn't run away but just stay where she was. At that point I thought she may be sick and need help. When I whistled at her, she squeaked back at me, as if she was calling - I think she was calling for her mommy. I think maybe she got lost or perhaps fell from a tree and lost touch with her mommy? These are just guesses anyway.

At some point she started slowly walking after us to our backyard! Maybe she liked when I whistled? At that point I knew I couldn't leave her! So we set up a tank (a 10 gallon spare tank that I had - it has cracked glass but it is intact), made a bed of paper towels in it, and put water, bread, and our rat food in there (various sunflower seeds, etc). Then my brother put leather gloves on, took the squirrel (it didn't struggle at all, it was very calm), and put it in the tank. Then we covered it with a metal mesh (the ones that come with tanks for reptiles). The squirrel may have had some food but not sure about water, then it buried itself in the paper towels and fell asleep. It is sleeping right now. The tank is standing under our backyard umbrella in case of rain. We're afraid to take her inside or to touch her with our bare hands because she may be sick, for all we know. So we'll keep her outside and feed her there. It's still warm outside.

Now, please tell me what to do next? Should we keep her and feed her or let her go? What to feed her with? I'm afraid to let her go though, because she appears weak and lost. Do you think her mother will find her if we keep her outside like this?

Thanks for any help.

P.S. 1) She's so beautiful!
P.S. 2) Should I be giving her MILK? If so, what kind? Can I buy regular milk, or do I need some baby formula? Does the milk need to be warm? I'm not sure if she can drink herself. Should I get a baby bottle? How long can a baby squirrel survive without milk? I really don't want her to die.

Please someone help !

Here I go again, as the matter is urgent and I couldn't wait with this squirrel - it turns out it needs immediate help.

So far, I've answered some of my questions. I did a quick internet search on orphaned baby squirrels and basic care. I determined her to be about 4 weeks of age. What I need to do is to keep her inside and giver her powdered puppy milk every few hours. Plus, I need to keep a bottle with warm water inside the tank where she is. This is because she still needs mother's milk and the warmth of mother's body. So we took her in. We still handle her with gloves just in case. We covered the tank's bottom with a towel and put a warm bottle in there (she clings to the bottle!). I rushed to the store to get Esbilac Puppy Milk (and tiny bottle to feed her with) - this is the only milk you can give a baby squirrel, if you give her cow's milk, she'll die. We will feed her with this milk every few hours for the next days to come. Then we'll slowly switch to fruit and nuts / grain foods. She doesn't yet know how how to drink from a bottle, so I pour a few drops of milk at a time in her mouth and then she swallows it. Thanks God she eats. It appears to me she must have fallen from a tree and since she is still a baby she can't run fast and jump yet. The reason she's not afraid of us, went after us, and falls asleep when we pet her, is because she probably thinks it's her mother or something? For sure she doesn't yet know what danger is so she's not afraid of us.

If she survives, we'll probably take her to the vet to see if she doesn't have any diseases. We may keep her if it won't be likely that she'll survive on her own - after all, it is NYC and not some wild forest. Or we'll just let her run close to the house - she'll probably stay with us if we ourselves raise her. You know ... I think it must have been some higher power that wanted her to end up on our backyard, and not someone else's. We're the kind of people that won't leave alone an animal needing help. Who knows ...

I really hope she survives.

If there is anything else I need to know, please anybody help me. Thanks up front.
 

SunnShadow

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You can use a syringe to feed her for now. That's what my daughter did with her baby squirrel. Also, once you feel comfortable handling her more, wear a shirt with a pocket or make a pouch out of an old apron. Carry her close to your body as you do things around the house. This will comfort her and help her bond to you and trust you more. You can buy squirrel food from a farm supply store (Tractor Supply) when she's old enough.

Sara
 
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Isabella

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Thanks Sara. I bought a tiny nipple with the tiny bottle to feed her. However, I have a small syringe from my vet as well. Which one should I use then? (When I was feeding her today, I used the nipple with the bottle). I'd love to carry her with me but I am afraid that I'll get infected with something if she's sick. Did you test your squirrel for diseases before you started touching her with your bare hands? What if the squirrel has rabies? I have 2 cats in my house by the way. Is there any way to know if she's sick? Except being sleepy and little dried blood on her nose, she seems fine - nothing broken, no weird behaviors, no growling, but she's very peaceful. I think she must have scratched or hit her nose as she was falling from the tree. There is no blood coming from her mouth nor from her urinary parts, so everything must be OK internally. Does that mean she's healthy? Any idea what an animal with rabies behaves like?

I took some pictures of the squirrel. I am posting them so that you can yourself see it. I've been referring to it as a "she" so far but today we discovered it's a boy. And it's Mr. Squeaky by the way lol. He had a lot of puppy milk today and is doing very well. He sucked the nipple like a baby lol (after all, he still is a baby). It seems he now knows how to drink from a bottle. Besides, he sleeps a lot clinging to the plastic bottle filled with warm water, as you can see on the pictures.
 

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He probably thinks that warm bottle is his mommy When he starts getting teeth you can offer him raw veggies and nuts(unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds are a favorite).
He is such a darling, makes me miss ours we had years ago. She loved to ride in the pocket of my husbands flannel shirts and I would find her in my fluffy house coat pocket
Carol
 
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Isabella

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UNBELIEVABLE! We found ANOTHER ONE! We heard squeaking somewhere outside, so we went looking. And there it was - another squirrel up on our roof! We talked to her and she was coming our way. She looks exactly the same as the one we found yesterday. They both must be from one nest. This one is skinnier and it appears to have her leg hurt. It's a girl. It's been squeaking for a long time and no mother squirrel came. Same with the other one. We think the mother died and the baby squirrels were left alone so long they got hungry and went out of the nest looking for food. That's how one landed in our driveway and the other on our roof. Must have come from a nearby tree - no doubt. So my dad took a ladder and the squirrel came to him - he just called it. We took it home and gave it warm puppy milk - she drank like crazy, holding the nipple in her hands! I have no idea what we'll do with two squirrels now! Then we put it in the tank with the other squirrel, then they cuddled together, and fell asleep clinging to one another. NO DOUBT they're from the same nest. I can't believe all of this. I hope they were just two, and there is no third squirrel somewhere dying of hunger. But we aren't hearing anymore squeaking in the nearby trees or on our roof. So now we'll care for 2 squirrels and we'll see what happens. We'll probably have to call some wildlife rescue after a while as we can't have 2 squirrels. I am afraid to release them into the streets in NY - too dangerous. And the summer is almost over - it's gonna be getting cold and there'll be no food outside. When should they be released? Will they be able to socialize with other squirrels if they're raised together? Will they survive on their own once released? Thanks for answers up front, I'd really appreciate.

Here is another picture of Mr. Squeaky, as he sleeps in my hands in a towel.
 

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You might want to call Wildlife Services in your area and find out if its legal to keep the squirrels in your home. It's not in some states. They may have you foster it and re-acclimate it in a safe area in the spring.
Mr Squeaky is so cute. Many late birthings of squirrels are leaving the nest about now, sometimes their not ready to leave the nest, they fall out and can't get back or mama gets killed. This happens frequently in the city as many squirrels are run over by cars.
We really enjoyed our squirrels when the kids were small. We lived in a wooded area and was able to raise them and release them. They came back to visit and feast on the veggies and nuts we left out for them. also on my tulip and jonquil bulbs
Carol
 

LilaBean

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oh my goodness-- i never thought a squirell could be so cute-- i wonder what miss patches would think??!! LILA
 

SunnShadow

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I seriously don't know if I'd call the wildlife officer, especially in the city, where squirrels might be considered a nuisance.
Most baby animals don't have rabies, since they have to be bit in order to contract the disease. Usual signs are unsteadiness (hard to distinguish in wobbly babies), watery discharge from their nose, "unusual" behavior (raccoons or oppossums out in broad daylight, snapping and growling at the air or water, refusal of food and water).
No, my daughters squirrel was not tested. As I said, it is highly unusual for baby animals to have rabies, and after several days of no symptoms we knew it was safe to handle freely.
The squirrels should do fine when you release them, although they might be less afraid of humans than wild squirrels. I'd keep them until the spring. Keep them outside (in a large cage, if possible) as much as possible when it starts to warm up, to acclimate them to life outdoors. Then, start hiding their food in and around their cage, so they learn to search and gather. If you can't let them go near your home (do you live downtown?), drive them to the nearest wooded area. However, don't be surprised if they return to your yard. They have great homing instincts. This may make releasing them far away more of a danger to them than letting them live in your yard.
My sister has raised both raccoons and a squirrel. The squirrel she released in her yard two years ago, and he still lives there, coming to her doorstep for treats. The raccoons she let go in a state park about an hours drive from her home, and two of them found their way back to her. She knew it was them because they showed up outside her porch together, chattering for food. A mom always recognizes her childrens voices.

Sara
 
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Isabella

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Thank you all for the information I don't yet know if it's legal in my state to have squirrels at home but I'll check promptly. But considering that there are MANY squirrels in NY perhaps they're not illegal to keep? I suppose only the endangered species are illegal? Now, if it's legal to have them in NY, and the rescue will come and take them only to kill them because of the overpopulation of squirrels in NY, I'd rather keep them and release them in my backyard, slowly, and teach them how to gather food on their own in the springtime. And I'd love to see them running around my house and come to me for food. So no matter if it's legal or not, I would love to continue seeing them forever! I don't want to give them away somewhere, where they can possibly be killed. Though I have busy highways near me, they're not directly next to me. There are also many trees, homes, gardens, etc. where I live - it's a residential area. They're such darlings, so gentle, so calm, so wonderful! How could I part with them? I've always wanted something like a ferret, or anything of the sort - and now, I have these squirrels!

Besides the girl's leg (it seems she can't move it much, yet I don't think it's broken because I checked), it seems to me they're healthy, only very hungry because they must have waited for their mommy for a while and seeing she wasn't coming back, they ventured out of their nest in search of food. They're also VERY clean! I'll start touching them in a few days if no symptoms of any diseases develop. I could take them in my hands now - that's how gentle they are. Oh, and they DO have small teeth already. They love to drink milk, but I'll also start giving them apples, bananas, and other fruit to chew on for now. Then I'll start giving them peanuts and the like. Though the boy already has a name, Mr. Squeaky, we're thinking now of naming both: Chip and Dale, lol - like the squirrels from the children's cartoon Please keep your fingers crossed for me from now on, so that the babies make it and grow into beautiful healthy squirrels!

LilaBean ... Miss Patches is currently sitting on top of the mesh (over the tank with the squirrels) ... lol. I hope once they're running around, she'll start to see them as companions rather than prey! But that remains to be seen. When they get bigger, and start moving around (because all they do now is eat and sleep), I'll get them a large cage. We'll keep them there until the spring I suppose.

I know you won't believe it ... there is a THIRD ONE !!! Yes, there is. Just as I feared. We found another one on our driveway today. LOL, every day a new squirrel. Now I am 200% sure they're all from one nest (all look the same), and that the mother died because she would have come to feed her babies during the last 3 days. It was probably much longer than 3 days of her absence. The third squirrel also had its nose hurt from the fall (either from a tree or from our roof), but otherwise it's OK and appears healthy, only very hungry. They're all sleeping cuddled together and between two bottles of warm water. They all drink milk, and one also eats apples.

Now, I am not sure anymore if the 2nd one we found is a girl, hmm. We'll have check them all again. So forget about Mr. Squeaky and Chip and Dale for now, lol. We'll see. And we'll keep them until the Spring and then release them slowly and in our backyard - as SunnShadow has suggested - so that they learn how to gather food and so that they stay close to us. I think they'll be able to socialize with other squirrels since there is 3 of them now, right?

Anyway, here is a picture of the 3 squirrels sleeping together
 
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Isabella

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Yes, I do feel very lucky ... because they're so wonderful! I'd never expect something like this to happen to us! I still can't believe it's happening (lol): finding 3 squirrels, for 3 consecutive days each! But it will be hard for me to part with them when it's Spring. I know this as I get very attached to my pets. But I understand they're wild animals and it would be best for them to live free. Their nature demands freedom. Only I hope they'll be fine and safe out there and that they'll visit us from time to time. Besides, they're the ones who are lucky too: if we haven't found them and taken them home, they'd surely die of cold and hunger, as they're still babies that need mother's milk and warmth. They also could have been easily attacked by other animals and killed, as they're still so small and helpless. Or - God forbid! - they'd end up on a street and wouldn't be able to run away when cars would be coming. I am thankful they ended up on my driveway and on my roof, rather than someone else's. Other people could have left them to die. But my family could never do that. All life is precious, really.

I hope the 3 squirrels are all that was in the nest !!! Any idea how many squirrels are usually born at once?

I've had many family members and friends come over my house during the last 3 days to see the squirrels. They are all in love with them!
 
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Isabella

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They're drinking milk, as usual, but in addition to it, now all of them eat apples and bananas They're actually crazy about bananas: I have to feed them bananas separately, one by one, because otherwise they steal the bananas from each other, lol. They actually sort of "fight" over bananas if they all eat bananas in one tank. Not that they hurt each other, but they squeak nervously as if in a "race" for bananas, haha. They've also learned to react to our voices and they'll climb our hands if we put them inside the tank (we don't wear gloves anymore). They always smell our hands thoroughly looking for food, and no doubt for their beloved bananas, lol. They mostly sleep between the warm bottles, but as soon as they're hungry, they start waking up and walking around the tank. Once they've been fed, they fall asleep instantly again! Seems like they'll all be very well

P.S. The leg of the one squirrel is getting better and better - she's moving it normally now.
 

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They sound like their doing great, glad to hear her leg is better also. Ours were always very interactive. I think you will enjoy your time with them.
Carol
 

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I have only had one interaction with squirrels before (I'm from arizona) and they are just such precious little things. I'm glad you were able to care for them, my mom would have been terrified of rabies or some other unknown disease.
 
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Isabella

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I've read somewhere that squirrels don't carry rabies, especially the young squirrels that still drink mother's milk and that don't venture out of their nests. Don't know if bites transfer rabies to squirrels, but if they do, mine were still too young to wander about and thus possibly get bitten. It's been a week now and they seem healthy and very docile and gentle. Don't think an animal with rabies would let you touch it. I actually think wild squirrels are more likely to be healthier than feral cats because wild cats eat meat (various birds and mice that may be sick), and squirrels only eat various plants and grains like nuts, etc.
 

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Great job, Isabella! With the care you're taking of the little ones, and the love you've given them, you're sure to have outdoor pet squirrels next year.
Once you let them go, you can put out squirrel houses for them. I'd put a little of whatever litter or bedding they've been sleeping in inside the house, along with a little banana or squirrel nut mix outside of it. Then put out some squirrel feeders. Who knows? They might even let you watch them raise their babies in your yard!

Sara
 

Butterfly

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I think your doing a great job with them and they are most likely disease free. Have you seen this? . It was so interesting.
Carol
 
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Isabella

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Thank you for the article Carol. It's very useful. I have read most of the information it contains on many other websites the first day I found the first squirrel, lol. But I saved the website from you (as I saved all the others) for reference purposes. Once again, thanks a lot

SunnShadow, my dad said he'll make a wooden house for our squirrels and put it in our backyard in the Spring We'll also put the cage (they're in) outside in the Spring, so that they decide where they'll like to be best. Maybe we'll keep both the house and the cage outside for them, so they'll come to whichever they want. We'll be putting food there regularly. If they please, they may breed in the cage or the house - better to breed in our backyard than on some tree over some road where the mother or the babies can get killed.

P.S. By now, they climb my hands by themselves when I put my hands in the tank, especially when they're hungry, lol - then they climb as fast as if they feared they were not going to get the food, so they hurry! ;D I think they've also gained some weight - their bellies are very nice and round
 
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