Since we are now known in the village as squirrel fans and we are contacted from time to time when a squirrel is found, I wrote down what you should do if you find a squirrel baby. Tanja from the Wildtierhilfe Schäfer gave me a lot of tips during a visit to her, so I revised the article afterwards.
I hope it helps you too, should you ever get into the situation!
Important! You can touch squirrel babies calmly, the mother does not reject them because of the human smell.
Don’t worry, squirrels don’t have rabies or contagious diseases! And if a squirrel baby runs after you or tries to climb up your leg, it needs help urgently!!!
So if you find an uninjured baby squirrel, you should warm it first in case it is hypothermic, for example under your sweater or blouse. When it is warm, you can put it down and see if the mother will retrieve it. But this only works if the squirrel is warm. Please always pay attention to the surroundings. If there are cats, dogs or raven crows around, it is better to take the squirrel right away.
If a baby squirrel runs after you or tries to climb up your trouser leg, take this squirrel with you immediately, then it has been separated from its mother for some time and needs help immediately! Please remember that each squirrel may have siblings. If the mother has died in an accident, up to six little squirrels may starve to death! Therefore, if possible, always go back to this spot and look to see if you might find other little animals.
Examine the animal carefully – does it have open wounds, fractures, fly eggs, maggots (remove them immediately), how is the general condition. In case of injuries go to the vet or a veterinary clinic. If possible, they should be familiar with wild animals. Often veterinarians treat the animals free of charge, but this is not always the case. Never give flea medication, because the squirrels can die from it!
Immediately call a wildlife center, there you can discuss the transfer of the animal and further procedure. If no immediate transfer is possible, take the foundling home for the time being. If you don’t know a wildlife center in your area, call one that you can find on the Internet or one of the numbers listed below. The wild animal helpers are so well networked among themselves that they usually know someone nearby.
When you get home, the most important thing is warmth. You can take a hot water bottle covered with fabric or a cherry stone pillow or a heating pad (lowest level). Make sure that the heat source is not too hot and wrap it in a towel. Put the squirrel in a basket (e.g. a transport basket for animals) or a cardboard box, but in such a way that it can get away from the heat source, should it become too warm for it. If you do not have a hot water bottle, you can also fill a PET bottle with warm water and put a sock over it. Apart from warmth, rest is the most important thing. So please keep children and pets away from the squirrel, even if it is so cute that everyone wants to look at it or even take pictures. This will only bring a lot of additional stress to the animal.
Please do not feed the squirrel or give it any liquids, the same goes for other wild animals and especially birds. You can do so much wrong that it is better not to give anything. It is best to give the squirrel into experienced hands as soon as possible. If the handover takes longer, discuss with the wildlife center what liquid should be given and how.
Please never give cow’s milk, the squirrels do not tolerate this!
If you find an adult squirrel, please handle it with gloves!
And please give the squirrel in any case in experienced hands!!! It has only this one life and so many squirrels have already died because the finders thought they could feed it themselves!
Squirrel feeding with special rearing milk should only be done after the handover from a professional, like here Jürgen Conrad from the Squirrel Emergency Bremen.
Important telephone numbers (Germany)
I have saved the phone numbers of the wildlife help centers in my area. Since the Wildtierhilfen are very well networked, usually even a squirrel aid further away knows a contact person nearby.
Wild animal assistance shepherd registered association Dreieich
Tel.: +49 178 7 21 51 03
Wild animal assistance Odenwald – “Koboldhof
Tel: +49 163-3515058
Here also the telephone number of Squirrels in Need in Saarland (Heusweiler), Monika Pfister:
+49 176 22 32 69 96
Wild animal emergency brochure
There is a new brochure about what to consider in case of a wild animal emergency! This brochure was created by the Interessengemeinschaft Hessischer Wildtierpfleger (IGHW). It covers many animal species, including squirrels, foxes, bats, songbirds, birds of prey, swifts and swallows, hares, waterfowl and pigeons. Of course, it also says what you should basically pay attention to and what the legal situation is. Also about a possible repatriation is cleared up. I can absolutely recommend this emergency brochure, which can be downloaded here on the IGHW homepage as a PDF. So you know what to do in an emergency and more wild animals can be saved! Only available in German.
I hope so many squirrels can be saved!
Thanks to Tanja Schäfer from the Wildtierhilfe Schäfer, who taught me a lot about first aid, so that I can help in an emergency. And also to Jürgen Conrad for letting me visit him and his squirrels. Please also remember that all wildlife helpers work on a voluntary basis and do not receive any government aid. Therefore they are always happy about donations and also depend on them!