First Baby Squirrels of 2023
When the first baby squirrels arrive at WildCare's Wildlife Hospital in mid-February, we know it's going to be a busy Baby Season.
Usually we admit our first tiny, pink baby squirrels in March, followed a few weeks later by baby animals of dozens of different species. These five little squirrels are only two weeks old (baby squirrels' ears lift up at three weeks, and their eyes open at four weeks), which means their mother gave birth to them at the beginning of February. That feels very early!
These healthy, plump babies were the victims of a tree-trimming accident. The arborist felt terrible that he had inadvertently cut down the tree holding this squirrel family's nest, or drey, and he did a good job keeping the little squirrels warm until he could get them to WildCare.
Keeping baby mammals at this age warm is very important. Born without fur, and with their eyes and ears sealed shut, animals like these little squirrels aren't yet able to regulate their own body temperature, making them very susceptible to hypothermia.
These babies' rescuer kept them warm on the heated seat of his truck, which meant we didn't have to spend these squirrels' first moments in care trying desperately to raise their temperature. Instead, we could go straight to offering them a hydration solution from a syringe, which you can see in the video above.
Keep watching to see this tiny baby squirrel yawn!
Although plump and healthy, the little squirrels were thirsty, and they sucked down the unflavored pedialyte solution. Subcutaneous fluids helped to further hydrate them, and then we placed them in a warm container while we discussed next steps.
As most WildCare readers know, it is possible to successfully reunite wildlife families — birds and mammals alike! We knew the mother of these five babies would be missing them, and she was likely desperately searching for them in the yard where her nest tree had been cut down.
The arborist who rescued them offered to attempt the reunite the next morning, so we gave him everything he would need to keep the baby squirrels safe and warm, but also accessible for the mother squirrel to gather them up and carry them to her secondary drey. (Note: Please always call WildCare's Hotline 415-456-7283 before attempting to reunite wildlife babies with their mother... situations vary considerably, and the safety of the baby animals is paramount.)
Unfortunately, the reunite attempt failed, and the mother squirrel didn't return for her babies. They will go into Foster Care with trained volunteers, until they are old enough to return to the wild.
Meanwhile, our Wildlife Hospital team is gearing up for what will likely be a very busy baby season!
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