Around 5:30 pm on Sunday February 21, Nick M. of the West University area of Houston, witnessed a baby squirrel fall from a nest. He transferred the baby to a shoe box and placed a sock with warm rice inside, next to the baby, for heat. After placing the box at the base of the nest tree, hoping to reunite the baby with its parents, two hours had passed with no success. Nick found my email address on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and reached out for help.
As the baby had not yet been retrieved and it was now dark, Nick was advised to bring the box in for the night and to keep the baby covered and warm, with the sock filled with warm rice or a heating pad on low. As squirrels are diurnal (active in the daytime), I suggested that the box should be returned to the base of the tree in the morning and Nick was given a link to a YouTube video that has the sound of a baby squirrel calling to get the mother squirrel’s attention.
Monday morning, I was overjoyed to see a follow-up email from Nick, saying he had kept the baby safe, inside the house, last night and in the morning placed the box at the base of the tree. He set his phone by the box and turned up the volume to the “squirrel-cry” link. He reports, “Mom was down in less than 60 seconds.”
Nick mentioned that he would have had a video to share, but he wasn’t expecting the Mom squirrel to retrieve the baby so quickly! Nick reports, “Also worth mentioning, when I went back to retrieve my phone, the Mom was back for more. I had to grab it and get out of the way. Pretty sure my phone was about to make its way back to the nest too.”
If you find a baby squirrel on the ground, please refer to our website for temporary care instructions. The very best outcome is to reunite the baby with its mother, so please remember, TWRC is here to advise on ways to do that. (Note: if the baby is injured or if the mother is deceased, the baby should be brought to a wildlife facility as soon as possible for care.)
Jeannie Gresko, TWRC Wildlife Center