Ages of Baby Squirrels
Newborn: pink and hairless
1 Week: skin appears gray (the fur is beginning to develop under the skin); whiskers appear
3 Weeks: ears open
5 Weeks: eyes open
6-7 Weeks: weaning begins (will continue until 10-12 weeks old)
10-12 Weeks: on their own but will return to the nest for safety and to sleep
Is This Squirrel Orphaned?
Squirrel nests are not only damaged by bad weather, but can also be damaged by other adult squirrels. Male squirrels will on occasion kill their own babies if they are given a chance. During this struggle, the babies may fall out of the nest.
If the mother survives the attack, she will try to retrieve her babies and carry them back to the nest if it is still intact. If this nest is not intact, she usually has a backup nest that she can carry them to.
A mother squirrel will not take back a baby that has gotten cold. The mother does not object to her babies smelling like humans, but she will not take them back if they are cold.
Be careful with them as the little babies are fragile.
You can warm the baby in your hands or hold it close to your body and when it gets warm, you can place it at the base of the tree and leave the area, but try to keep watch from a distance for about an hour or so.
If the weather is cold, place the baby or babies in a box with some toweling and a hot water bottle. Make sure the hot water bottle is wrapped very well in a couple of layers of toweling so the babies do not get burned.
If you have any cats or dogs that are loose, please put them up at this time to give the mother ample time to come and retrieve her babies.
She will pick them up in her mouth and carry them back to the nest even if they look too large for her to carry.
Usually when she hears her babies crying (which is real loud and if you ever hear it, you will never forget the sound) she will come and get them.
If you wait for 1 to 2 hours and she has not come to get them, it is time for you to step in and take over for her.
Do not assume there are only 1 or 2 babies (grey squirrel litters consist of 3-5 babies); look around cautiously as they will crawl under leaves and straw to hide. Step carefully and look under everything for several feet around.
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