How you can help baby squirrels separated from their mother during storms
BRANDON, Fla. - Wildlife rehabbers said they are seeing too many baby squirrels. It's mating season for squirrels, but recent storms have brought down trees separating mothers from their babies.
Right now, wildlife rehabber and Raptor Center of Tampa Bay President Nancy Murrah has eight baby squirrels she's caring for.
"Right now, we're getting calls for two, four, six, eight squirrels every single day," Murrah said. "There's other rehabbers that have 50 and 60 squirrels right now."
Murrah typically deals with birds of preys, but it's baby squirrels that are in need with recent storms having destroyed a lot of their nests.
"The baby squirrels will end up on the ground, and people will rush out and find them and pick them up and not knowing that really the mother is still around. She's in the tree," Murrah said.
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Murrah said if you see a baby, wait a good 30 minutes for the mother to come get it. If it's injured, immediately call a rehabber. If it's not injured and the mother hasn't come to retrieve it, you may be able to help.
"You want to give their mother an opportunity to get them back," Murrah said. "Put them in a little towel, maybe with some moss around it. Put uncooked rice in [a sock], put it in the microwave for about a minute. That'll stay warm for about 25 minutes," Murrah said.
Once the babies are protected and near the tree, Murrah said you can us your phone to play the audio of a baby squirrel in distress. The sound can easily be found online.
"Step at least 30 feet away but so you can still watch the baby squirrels," Murrah said.
The sound is meant to attract the mother to come retrieve them.
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Monday, Murrah said in two cases, the mom did come back to retrieve the squirrels but in another case she didn't. It's the same case for the eight baby squirrels Murrah is currently caring for until she can find a rehabber that specializes in Mammals. Once there, they'll take about three months to raise before they can be set back into the wild.
"They are a rodent. They're a major food source for a lot of animals," Murrah said. "It's important all of us do our part to help the native Florida wildlife."
If you do end up caring for them for more than 12 hours Murrah said Pedialyte is the best thing to feed them until you can get them to a rehabber.