Babies and Juveniles:
- Pick up the baby with a soft cloth.
- Put the squirrel in a closed escape-proof container such as a pet kennel or aquarium with a soft ravel-free cloth (no strings), and cover the container loosely with a towel.
- Put the container half on and half off a towel-covered heating pad set on low.
- Monitor it so the animal is warm to the touch, but not hot.
- Keep the container in a quiet area, away from children and pets.
- Do not attempt to feed any type of formula or solid foods. Baby squirrels aspirate very easily, and it’s best to leave feeding to a qualified caretaker. If the animal is dehydrated or it will be more than 2 or 3 hours before you can get the baby to a rehabilitator, you may put a few drops of water on its lips with an eye dropper and see if it will lap it up. It is best to get advice from a rehabilitator before doing this.
- If the squirrel is alert, do not attempt to handle it.
- Cover it with a cardboard box with air holes where it is lying (or gently nudge it out of harm's way with the end of a broom). Weight the box down with a rock or something heavy. Call a rehabilitator.
- If the squirrel is not very alert or cannot move, you may attempt to nudge it into a box, bucket or carrier with the end of a broom, piece of cardboard or other similar object. Do not handle with your bare hands! Cover the container snugly (make sure there are air holes) and bring to a rehabilitator.
- Do not attempt to rehabilitate an adult squirrel for any reason. If it will be a few hours or overnight until you can get the squirrel to a rehabilitator, set the container half-on, half-off a towel-covered heating pad set on low, in a quiet area away from children and pets.
- Do not put food or water into the container. If the squirrel is in shock or has other issues, the food and water could cause more harm than good.
- Light brown fur mixed with dusky fur give a mottled appearance. Tails are longer than half the length of their bodies.
- Found all along the West Coast, from central Washington to northern Baja.
- Very small range – usually stay within 150 yards of their burrows.
- Live in plains, small meadows, rocky outcrops, and hillsides independently or as a group. They make burrows about five inches in diameter.
- Mainly herbivores: eat seeds, nuts, and wildflowers; but will feed on insects, eggs, and small mammals.
- Main predators include foxes, weasels, and hawks.
- Life span is 3-5 years.
- Litter size ranges from 3-5.
- Often store more food than they need and forget where it is stored; this is beneficial as it helps scatter seeds to grow in new locations.
- Squirrels have very powerful front teeth that never stop growing; they are constantly gnawing to keep their teeth filed down.
- True hibernators: do not sleep but exist in a state of suspended animation; in this state, their hearts beat at a tenth of the normal rate and they breath only once every couple of minutes; this period usually starts in early winter and ends in late spring.
- Squirrels will readily take up residence in a building if access is available. It is important to block all holes with wood or wire mesh to prevent entry.
- Install only free-standing bird feeders in sites where squirrels cannot get access; keep them away from shrubs and overhanging tree limbs. Put the feeder on a metal pole at least 6 feet high.
- Prune overhanging tree limbs, shrubs, and vines that may provide access to attics and other areas. Also cover telephone and electric wires near the house with long plastic tubing.
- Squirrels are excitable and can cause severe damage if trapped inside a home. Quickly and quietly open a door or window to the outside and leave the room.
- A squirrel may fall in a chimney while climbing on the roof. Secure a heavy rope from the top of the chimney and drop it down to the fireplace. After the squirrel has exited, remove the rope and properly cap the chimney.
Wildlife Care Center
San Diego, CA 92110
Directions & Map
Open 7 days a week
(except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day)
Staff/Volunteer hours: 8:30a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Drop-off area is open 24/7.
Outside of San Diego County?
If you are outside of our geographical area, please visit the emergency page of Wildlife International or contact your local Department of Animal Control or state Fish and Game office.
Resources for the media to learn more about the good work Project Wildlife provides San Diego County.