From Tracie: A Hat Full of Baby Squirrels

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Hat Full of Baby Squirrels

Friday was beautiful, so Katarina and I decided to go to work with Thomas for the afternoon, and enjoy the fresh air. At our second job, Thomas was raising the limbs on a tree to have a 10 foot clearance. He didn't realize there was a nest on a particularly high limb until the it fell to the ground, and the squeaky-cheeps of baby squirrels filled the air. Four newborn gray squirrels.

The house we were working at was in a busy neighborhood, and with the yard work going on and the homeowner's pets wandering around, we couldn't leave the squirrels on the ground safely, so we gathered them up in a hat Thomas had in the truck.
Katarina holding a hat full of baby gray squirrels

The homeowner took one look at our hat full of squirrels, and with a panicked look in her eyes, said, "You are going to take those squirrels with you, right?! You can not leave them here."

Baby Gray Squirrels, in a hat

We took the squirrels to a nearby pet store to get a small box, and some material to keep them warm.

Caring for squirrels isn't new for us. A few years ago, Thomas brought home two orphaned baby squirrels. There was no wildlife rehabilitation agency, veterinarian, or pet store in the town we used to live, that was willing to care for squirrels. With no one to take them in, we named them Poncho and Lefty, and raised them until they were old enough to be released (just call me Bob Ross).

With fond memories of Poncho and Lefty running through our minds, Thomas and I were tempted to raise these new babies ourselves. But where we currently live, we don't have the right kind of space for squirrels, and we aren't allowed to have pets. Raising them ourselves was not a realistic option.

Tracie and Leslie Johnson

One of the pet store employees gave us a phone number for someone who works with wild animals. Leslie Johnson is a board member and volunteer with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Central Florida, and she takes in orphaned squirrels.

A quick phone call later, we were on our way to Leslie's house.

Katarina had already started to bond with the baby squirrels and was not excited to give them up. There was some tears. After talking about it, she understood that we couldn't give them the care they needed, and keeping them wouldn't be responsible or kind.

When we arrived at Leslie's house, Katarina was happy to see that she already had a slightly older baby squirrel there who could be friends with our little ones. We will also be checking in on the squirrels as they grow (until it is time for them to be released into the wild), and that helped her feel better about leaving them.
Katarina holding a baby Gray Squirrel and Four Newborn Baby Squirrels

What should you do if you find baby squirrels?
-Place the squirrels in a safe spot, near their tree. Quietly watch from a distance, to make sure that the babies are safe, until the mama squirrel comes back.
-It doesn't matter if you touched the babies, the mama will take them back.
-Gray squirrels usually have a second nest already built, so they can quickly relocate the babies once they return.
-If the mom does not return, the most important thing you need to do - keep the babies warm and hydrated - until you can turn them over to a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.

Baby Grey Squirrels

*The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Central Florida is a non-profit organization, which receives no state or federal funding. They rely on donations from private citizens and businesses to fund the care of injured and orphaned animals, rehabilitate them, and return them to the wild. Several volunteers, like Leslie, care for animals in their homes, and the center cares for an average of 2,000 animals a year. We are very thankful that they were willing to take in and raise our four baby squirrels.

What is the most unusual pet or animal you have cared for? 


  1. I think it's wonderful that you helped to save the babies!

    Hubby and I once found a baby raccoon and his mother was nowhere to be found. It was in the middle of the day, and since raccoons are nocturnal, it just seemed wrong. We called the wildlife people and they came and picked it up. So we only took care of it for a few hours.

  2. Awww look how itty bitty they were.. I am glad you were the ones who found them, someone else would not have been too worried. I would have freaked out when I heard them as well. Of course that is me.. the animal freak

  3. Popped in from SITS! I've rescued birds,but never baby squirells! How CUTE!!!!

  4. This blog post is further confirmation that y'all are an amazing WONDER family! Love you all!

  5. I have never seen a squirrel's nest up close or baby squirrel's like that. I know in my yard they can be a nuisance so I'd rather enjoy them in a public park. Good save!

  6. How precious that you were able to save them.

  7. what a great story and experience for her..

  8. BABY SQUIRRELS! I want baby squirrels!

    Mostly because my boyfriend calls me his baby squirrel :)

  9. Wow this is crazy!!! :) We had a bat fly into our house once, but we had to have animal control come and get it!!!

  10. How precious! They are the cutest little naked babies! You guys are awesome!

  11. HOLY COW. I canNOT even believe this story.


    My boys loved it.

    Thank you for making it into a post.

  12. It was very thoughtful of you to take them with you - and even better of you to find someone who could adequately take care of them! The picture are priceless!


  13. That was so nice of you! My only experience with squirrels has been unfortunate when the bugger chewed through the screen on my third floor city apartment an was stuck in my kitchen! Running (pooping!) and yelling at my cat! City cops, don't know what to do about that!

    But that babies are so cute...

  14. Aw, I've never seen baby squirrels before but they're adorable! Thank goodness you were there to save them!

  15. I have also never seen baby squirrels that young! I'm so glad you found a safe place for them. I also need to know how they are doing... so you will keep us up to date, yes?
    I'm a total softy.

  16. OMG....They are so cute Tracie..reminds me of being a kid and the rabbits we saved after mother left them. We nursed them out of baby bottles until their eyes were open and seemed big enough to be on there own. We would find out in our teens the tragic ending our parents kept from us. I think one of your little furry friends you found would make a good friend for my cat..oh wait Bailey would probably think it's dinner.

  17. What would I do? Why, I'd drop them off at your house, since I couldn't find a rescue in my area.haha Actually, we'd probably raise them; Mr.4444 raised a baby squirrel to old age, back in his day.

    What a sweet story--the pics are adorable :)

  18. I really needed a cute story like this today :) Thank you for posting it :)

  19. Oh wow! Look at those babies! I hope you keep us updated on your new little furry friends!!!

  20. Amazing.
    We just recently raised a baby blue jay and then handed it over to animal wildlife in FL too. We had 'him' for a few weeks handfeeding him - was quite an experience!
    Thanks for hooking up to Time Travel Tuesday this week. I really love reading everyone's old posts, some I have read before and some I am glad have been pointed my way!
    ps. Wordy Wordless Wednesday link up tonight - so busy ;)

  21. Stopping from Time Travel Tuesday! I am so glad you found a good home for them. They sure are cute!