Grit Blogs > News From The Nest In Rural Pennsylvania

Saving Squirrel Babies: Unexpected Additions

Lori DunnIt was a normal Friday afternoon at our house. My husband, Jim, had gotten home from work around 4:00. We usually have a Friday ritual of going to the bank and the grocery store to pick up any items we might need, and sometimes go out to eat. Hubby was on the phone, so I decided to go collect the eggs awhile. That way, when he was off the phone, we could leave. I grabbed the egg basket and away I went.

We have to check for eggs late in the afternoon because about half of our hens are late layers. I stepped into the chicken house and was gathering eggs when I realized I was hearing a noise. It sounded kinda like a high pitched squeal or whistle. My first thought was, “Oh, there is a nest of baby birds close by.” I dismissed it as that, and started back about my business. In a couple minutes, the noise got louder and more demanding. I listened again, giving it more of my attention now and I realized this was not baby birds but something else. I looked out the door that the chickens use to go in and out of the chicken house, and I saw all of our ducks and chickens with their faces pointing the same direction, intently staring directly on the other side of the fence. I knew that whatever was making the noise also had the attention of our poultry. I finished gathering the eggs and walked around the back of the fence. There, on the ground, squealing their little heads off were three baby squirrels that had obviously fallen from the nest. It was very windy, cool, and raining. I’m not sure if the wind blew them out of the nest or if they crawled out and fell, but it really didn’t matter. As soon as I saw them, I scooped the poor little darlings up and brought them in the house to show my husband and to warm them up. They were still pretty small. They did have some hair on them, but not completely covered, and their eyes and ears were stilled closed.

The New Baby Squirrels

We are not strangers to taking care of baby squirrels. About three years ago, my husband found a single baby squirrel that had fallen out of the nest not far from the same place these three did. We decided then we were going to try to save that one too. We got online and looked up info on how to determine the age of the baby squirrel, and how and what to feed them. The info was not difficult to find. We were to use a syringe, remove the needle of course, and fill that with the formula to feed the baby squirrel. We needed to get puppy milk replacer, available at our local pet store. That squirrel we named Spunky. It was very easy to teach him to drink from the syringe, and he did very well. We fed him the recommended amounts, and after a few weeks, we started to wean him on to solid food. He ate things like seeds and dried fruits and nuts.

Spunky the Squirrel

I have to say here that I do NOT recommend keeping wild animals as pets. It was and is our intention to raise these babies up, re-introduce them to the wild, and set them free. When Spunky was big enough, we started taking him outside every day.

Spunky the squirril in the hyacinth

My husband built a squirrel box for him and attached it to one of our trees. He took to the box, and eventually he started staying out all the time. He would still come to us for peanuts, but he was doing fine on his own. Spunky was a success. He still comes to our bird feeders, three years later.

Spunky the squirrel in his squirrel box

Now back to our new babies. As I said, we were familiar with what we needed to do, but these babies were a bit smaller than Spunky was, and there are three of them instead of one. We went to the pet store and got the milk replacer. Once again, it was very easy to teach the babies to drink from the syringe. So far, these babies are doing fine. If they continue to progress the way they have been, I have high hopes that they will be just as successful as Spunky was.

It is, however, more of a challenge trying to deal with three baby squirrels as opposed to one. They are adorable and getting more rambunctious every day! On advice from my niece, Jordan, we have named the squirrels Alvin, Simon, and Theodore! Those names fit them very well! Now if we can just convince our cat Belle, who is not happy with the situation, that these babies are just temporary residents…. No worries, the squirrels are completely safe from Her Highness!