baby squirrels sitting in nest waiting for their mother

Do Mother Squirrels Abandon Their Babies?(& What To Do If You Find One)

Mother squirrels are quite caring and loving towards their babies and do not abandon their babies normally. They may abandon them only under exceptional situations of extreme danger but they are known to, later on, come back for their babies.

Let’s do a deep dive into this topic…

Why do squirrels abandon their babies?

Squirrels do not abandon their babies under normal circumstances. They are known to be a passionate parent and looks after them real good until the time they become self-dependent.

They love their babies so much that they have multiple nests prepared in different locations as backup nests in case some danger arises in the current nest they are living in. So if any mishap happens or the mother squirrel feels that their life is in danger she will quickly transport the babies to the backup nests.

  • At times when you find a baby squirrel on the ground, you may feel like the baby has been abandoned by her mother but it may have been not the case. Maybe the baby just fell off its nest. The mother often goes out for food gatherings so that’s why maybe she hasn’t come and picked the baby up yet.
  • It is also probable that maybe she was transporting her babies from one location to another owing to the presence of some danger and somehow in the rush dropped one of her babies and didn’t stop to pick the baby up as that can put the lives of other squirrel babies she was carrying in danger.
  • If the baby squirrel is about (6 to 8) weeks old, it is also probable that they have started to move around on their own and even if they look abandoned they maybe are moving around as a part of their training.

So there are a lot of situations and probabilities that can justify the reason why it seems like the mother squirrel has abandoned their child. Under most circumstances, even if any abandonment takes place it is temporary as the mother squirrels are known to come back to the spot to collect her baby back. So don’t remove the squirrel from that spot as the mother squirrel won’t find them once she gets back.

How long can baby squirrels live without their mother?

If taken care of by professionals baby squirrels can survive and reach adulthood even without their mother however they always have the best chance of surviving when they are being looked after and groomed by their mother. She will not only look to the baby”s needs but will also make sure to train them properly which is essential for their survival in the wild in their adulthood. 

How many days can a baby squirrel live without food?

Baby squirrels can survive for 6 to 8 days without any food but they won’t make it past 2 days without water. This also depends a lot on the exact age of the squirrel, the kind of weather the place currently has, and if they are fully healthy or not. 

“I found baby squirrel”- What to do now?

If you find a baby squirrel lying on the ground unable to move, it is very tempting to try and bring them home and to maybe nurse them. But that is the last thing you wanna do.

The mother squirrel in most instances will come back to that spot looking for her child. So if you remove them entirely from that location you will prevent them from getting united and the best chance a baby squirrel has of surviving is under the guidance of its mother, no other care will make up for that.

So here are the steps you can take once you find a baby squirrel:

  • See if the squirrel is lying in a dangerous place, say in the middle of the road or so, in that case, you can consider transporting them to the base of the nearest tree which will likely be the place from where they have fallen in the first place.
  • Next, see if the squirrel is injured and if there is blood coming out of the body. If the baby is crying continuously it can also be a sign that it is in pain. Under such conditions, contact the local wildlife department or rehabilitator.
  • If the squirrel is not injured and is in a secured location, you need to make sure that the squirrel is being abandoned by her mother. Let the squirrel stay at that place for a few more hours and keep an eye out for the baby during this course of time.
  • If the mother didn’t turn up even after a few hours, it’s time to contact the local wildlife rehabilitation.

The reason you shouldn’t try to nurture and take care of the baby squirrel by yourself is that the nutritional and caring need of each organism is different and is something which will be provided best by professional who have experience in doing this sort of stuff.

This is an important thing to remember as any negligence on that part can lead to the death of the little baby, especially if it’s injured or in some shock. So when you are sure that the mother has abandoned the baby, call the wildlife service.

Do mother squirrels take babies back even if you have touched them?

It is a complete myth that if humans touch baby squirrels, their mother won’t take them back. Squirrels are known to be affectionate parents and rarely abandon their children. They always go back to look for their lost babies and once they find the babies they will take them back, without any hesitation, even if they got touched by humans.

Do squirrels adopt abandoned babies?

Some species of squirrels are known to demonstrate altruistic behaviors where they adopt the abandoned babies of squirrels with whom they are related by blood. They are also found to not adapt to the abandoned babies who are unrelated to them. 

By evolutionary instinct, red squirrels are found to adopt only baby squirrels who are related to them closely and whose parents are gone. So to receive their adoption, the baby squirrel needs to be related genetically to them. It is like nature has made the squirrels evolve in a way that ensures that their genes get passed on.

It is an important aspect as from a neutral standpoint of view, adopting babies of other squirrels is a luxury especially out in the wild. However, when relatedness is there, they seem to accept the extra risk and cost and go forward with the adoption of the abandoned squirrel babies.

Do squirrels steal other squirrels’ babies?

Squirrels are not known for stealing other squirrels “s babies. They themselves have on an average 2 to 4 babies in each breeding season and most squirrel species have two such breeding seasons in a year. So they don’t have any need of stealing the babies of others as they have plenty of babies to deal with, on their own.

So in case you are wondering whether the squirrel carrying the baby squirrel is actually her mother or not, it is likely her mother.

So that was it! If you still have any questions leave them in the comments below!

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