Injured or orphaned squirrels
If the squirrel has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.
We have four types of tree dwelling squirrels in Minnesota. Species include the gray squirrel, red squirrel, fox squirrel, and flying squirrel. The red squirrel has one litter of babies per year, whereas the other three species usually have two litters per year. Litters range from 2-7 young. All are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant material (such as nuts and seeds) and animal material (baby birds and eggs, carrion, insects, mice). All build leaf nests or use hollow cavities in trees.
Infant squirrels are usually found in one of these four circumstances:
- Tree trimmers have disturbed nests of squirrels in the areas in which they are working.
- Winds from summer storms have knocked down trees, branches or nests.
- A predator has invaded a squirrel nest and thrown babies to the ground.
- A mother squirrel has been killed and her hungry babies have fallen out of their nest in an attempt to find their mother and their milk source.
DO NOT feed the squirrels anything, infants can easily aspirate fluids (get liquid in their lungs) and get sick. Wildlife professionals are trained how to feed as well as have appropriate diets/formulas for squirrels.
Check the squirrels for any injuries, parasites (such as maggots or adult flies landing on them), temperature (if they feel cold), or look very thin; these squirrels need immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.
If they look healthy and are warm, place the infant(s) in a box they cannot crawl out of but the mother can jump into. Put a warm water bottle under a towel in with them to provide a heat source. Place the box in a safe area near where they were found — the mother should be coming to look for her babies so keep all pets and people away so she feels it is safe to come. Observe the box from a distance. It likely will take some time for the mother to come. Be patient and give her a few hours to return. If she has not returned after some time, you can assume the squirrels are orphaned and in need of professional help.
Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. It is against the law to try and raise these squirrels yourself. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.
Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call Wildlife Exam at 763-489-2223.