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Tree Squirrelscopy02Orphaned baby squirrels need an additional source of heat to keep warm until they are brought to a rehabber. They cannot maintain their own body temperature and placing them in just a towel does not provide heat. After wrapping them in a cloth, place them in a container that is sitting on a heating pad set on low. Check the babies in half an hour to see if they are warm to the touch. Make sure your hands are warm when you do this. Do not try to feed them as they may be dehydrated from being without food for sometime. If you try to feed an animal that is cold, you run the risk of killing it. Keeping them warm is all you should do until you speak to a rehabber for further instructions. If you do not have a heating pad, use a sock filled with 2 cups of dry rice, that has been micro waved for at least a minute. Put it under the towel and place the babies next to it making sure there is enough room for them to move away if it gets too hot. You can also use a zip lock bag filled with hot water but take care not to let the water get cold as it will deplete warmth from the babies.

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Each year, baby squirrels are brought in after well meaning people have attempted to care for them. They are often suffering from bloat, aspiration pneumonia and metabolic bone disease as well as diarrhea. There are some interesting squirrel formulas that can can found on the web for those areas where it is legal to keep them as pets. People that have used these strange concoctions usually turn the animals over to someone knowledgeable after they start to go down hill, or sadly one or more is dead. Please dont try to experiment with these precious lives just because you think they are cute. Give them the best chance possible, with a licensed rehabber in your area.

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California ground Squirrels live in large colonies and are believed to be highly social. Their tunnels are approximately 4 to 5 inches wide and vary in length. There are usually several entrances to the larger tunnels and chambers are set up for distinctive purposes such a food storage, nesting and defecating. Because of this tunneling, they are often seen as pests since the tunnels can be especially dangerous for horses and live stock who may step into a hole. While we appreciate their distinctive personalities , we realize that they are not always welcome. What we have found to work well as a deterrent is to put a small amount (1/4 cup) of dog or cat poop into the tunnel entrance with 2 cups of warm water. As the smell permeates into their burrow, it sends out the message that a predator is near. Using this method in combination with a solar stake in the ground that gives off the sound of a rattlesnake , you will see the population move away from the area. The stakes can be found at your local hardware store.

Ground squirrels play an important part in the food chain and for those of you that think poisoning them is the answer, we kindly ask that you rethink that idea. Aside form being a long and agonizing death ....Ground squirrels are preyed upon by Hawks, Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes (as well as your neighborhood cats and dogs). You will potentially be killing one of these or other animals when you  poison a squirrel.

Ground squirrels provide great bug control by eating cockroaches, snails, slugs , potato bugs and scorpions.

Poisoned Tree

Injured adult Tree squirrels (or ground squirrels)should be handled carefully as they can give you a nasty bite, especially when in severe pain. Use a thick towel to wrap around the squirrel and have the transport container next to you so you don't drop an injured animal that is trying to get away. They may chew their way out of cardboard boxes so a plastic container is better. We have seen quite a few squirrels suffering from west Nile virus (that have recovered)so neurological symptoms may not be from an injury. If an adult female is found, make sure you go back and check the area for youngsters that may be calling for their mother. Baby tree squirrels can make a very high pitched squeaking noise when in distress so listen carefully.

A Nest that has blown down can be reconstructed by placing it, along with uninjured babies, into a box or laundry basket, just slightly bigger than the nest. You can add a little material  if there is not much to work with. As long as you give her a chance, the mother will reclaim her young and continue to raise them, either in the reconstructed nest or by moving them to an alternate site. Remember to put it in an area not in view of predatory birds.

Babies that have fallen from a tree should be checked for injuries. Look for blood coming out of the nose, lacerations ,or, any obvious broken bones by  placing them on a towel inside a large box to see if they move around normally. Watch for any tremors and look for parasite infestation such as mites or fly eggs. (clusters of beige coloured rice shapes embedded in the fur) . If everything checks out OK and the baby is warm to the touch, you can try to reunite it with its mother by placing it on, in or at the base of the tree. The safest way is to put the baby into a container as high as you can. This should be something that the mother can get to easily but not something that the baby will crawl out of and fall. If the squirrel is injured or parasites are present, call a rehabilitator for help.

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