Juvenile squirrels just look like small squirrels - they have bushy tails - and all the features of adult squirrels (minus some common sense).
Juvenile squirrels are usually seen in the spring and fall, but in climates like Southern California the "seasons" can almost overlap.
The most common injuries of juveniles include:
- A hit by car
- A fall from tree
- An attack by another animal
And some juveniles are orphaned when mom gets hit by a car or killed by another animal.
Head trauma can be caused by a car hit, a fall or shaking by another animal. The symptoms of head trauma are very similar to those of poisoning and the quicker the animal can be seen by a rehabilitator the better.
Some symptoms of head trauma are: listing to the side - walking in circles - looking and acting dizzy - blood from nose or mouth.
Some symptoms of poisoning are: listing to the side - walking in circles, looking and acting dizzy - blood from nose or mouth.
Look around for the nest, or the siblings - it might have been blown out of a tree. If you found a juvenile squirrel, there is probably at least one more.
Look for the MOM! She may be in the middle of relocating her babies and not want you to kidnap that one!
Look around for predators, dogs and cats or other dangers.
Look for signs of injuries or trauma (needs to come to a rehabilitator right away).
If the Juvenile squirrel is hurt:
Handle with caution - squirrels have very long, sharp teeth and strong jaws. While they are not at all aggressive by nature, injury places them in a defensive state and they may claw or bite to avoid capture.
Leather gloves offer some protection but a good bite will puncture leather gloves or at least bruise you.
Other trapping and capturing techniques - a box or a cage. Some small animal cages detach from the base and are useful for quickly placing over an injured animal - then a flat cookie sheet can be slid under the animal. Place soft cloths on the base of the cage and slip the cookie sheet out - landing the squirrel in the base.
Throw a towel over the squirrel and scoop it up and place in a box or cage.
Call a rehabilitator for assistance or advice.
Squirrels calm down in the dark so cover the cage with a cloth that will make it dark within.
A squirrel may put up a valiant fight if it senses harm and a need to escape. That said - they also seem to be very aware when someone truly is there to help.
- Handle the juvenile as little as possible; no matter how kind you are the squirrel sees you as a predator and it is extremely stressful. Do not let children hold or pet the squirrel.
- Provide a bed of soft cloth such as an old t-shirt or flannel.
- Keep the juvenile warm - human body temperature is a good guideline.
- Place the box or cage away from other animals and keep the area as quiet as possible.
- Juvenile squirrels are self feeding, even if they are still nursing a little, but we recommend you contact a rehabilitator before feeding.