While rarely seen, flying squirrels are actually very common. Their nocturnal, shy nature and preference for large trees makes them more difficult to spot. These rodents don't actually fly; rather they use skin flaps that connect their front and back feet to glide from a higher spot to a lower one. If you have found a suspected orphaned flying squirrel, first, determine if the baby needs to come in.
Do you see any injuries on the infant? Any obviously broken limbs? Visible blood?
Do you see any external parasites (fleas, flies, maggots)?
Does the infant appear ill/sick? Is there discharge coming from its nose? Is it sneezing repeatedly or acting lethargic?
Is the infant cold?
Is the temperature outside below freezing? Is it, or will it soon be, daylight?
Has the baby been touched/found by a pet?
If you answered YES to any of these questions you will need to send us a text at 513-409-1331
If the baby seems healthy, then try reuniting! Mother squirrels are absolutely the best at raising baby squirrels and often have a back-up nest location prepared. All attempts to reunite should be made! If you need help with this, please call. Reuniting baby squirrels with mom is a fairly simple task. To start, make sure you have proper protection equipment (this can be as simple as a tee-shirt, dishrag or garden gloves).
Mother flying squirrels are nocturnal, meaning they are only active during the night, so she will not be out during the day looking for her babies. This would leave the infants exposed to the outside elements and predators. Babies should also never be left outside if temperatures drop below freezing. They cannot thermoregulate, or maintain their body temperature, at this age and will need to be brought to a temperature regulated area.
1) Contain the baby in a box or fabric hat where it can not crawl out and fall or get lost. Place a soft cloth under the infant, keeping him as comfy as possible. An old tee shirt, washcloth or baby blanket will do.
2) Provide a heat source if temperatures are below 85°F. These babies can not thermoregulate, or maintain their body temperature, so they can catch chill quickly and become hypothermic. Hypothermia can take a baby's life very quickly. If temperatures are below freezing babies cannot be left outside, they must be taken into a temperature controlled area. If the baby is not warmed, reuniting will likely fail as a mother squirrel will not retrieve a cold baby. Some ideas for a heat source include:
Heating pad set to low
Prepackaged chemical hand warmers
Uncooked rice in a sock warmed in the microwave
Potato wrapped in a sock warmed in a microwave
Hot water bottle in a sock
Any heat source should not be put into direct contact with the infant, but placed under the cloth near the baby.
3) Leave the container with the infants in the same area that they were found. This could be at the base of the tree that they fell from, nailed to the side of the tree, at the base of the house where the nest came from a gutter or in the building that it was found in. If it is raining you can place the box on its side and keep the babies tucked inside. Get creative to keep the babies warm, dry and protected!
4) Give the mom plenty of time to retrieve her young. Stay away as much as possible, as mom will not come around if you are visible. With technology these days you can put a webcam on them, or simply watch from the window. It is truly a sight to see a mother's love when she comes to take her babies back to safety.
Special Considerations: If it is storming or close to daylight, bring the babies inside. Keep them in a location where it is warm, dark and quiet, away from people and pets. Place the babies back out for mom after the storm passes or early evening. Babies can go 18-24 hours without a meal.
If mom was seen leaving a nest that you have disturbed and need to move, there is a very good chance she will come back to move her babies, one by one. Give mom 48 hours to relocate her young before continuing your home project of removing the nest.
If all attempts fail to reunite, contact us by text or phone so we can assess the situation and make arrangements with our animal caretakers to take in the baby/babies. 513-409-1331