Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae. They are generally clever and persistent animals. In residential neighborhoods they are notorious for eating out of bird feeders, digging in potted plants either to bury or recover seeds, and for inhabiting sheltered areas including attics. While many companies sell bird feeders which are supposedly "squirrel-proof", very few of them really are. Although expert climbers, and primarily arboreal, squirrels also thrive in urban environments that are largely free of trees.
Urban squirrels have learned to get a great deal of food from over-generous humans. One of the more common and inexpensive foods fed to squirrels is peanuts. Recent studies however have shown that raw peanuts contain a trypsin inhibitor that prevents the absorption of protein in the intestine. Wildlife rehabilitators in the field have noted that neither raw and roasted peanuts or sunflower seeds are good for squirrels, since they are deficient in several nutrients needed. This type of deficiency has been found to cause Metabolic Bone Disease, a somewhat common ailment found in malnourished squirrels. Thanks to its agreeable appearance, intelligence and its eating styles and habits, squirrels are one of the most successful wild urban animal species.
Injured Baby Squirrels
If the baby appears uninjured (no bloody nose, no wounds), and is warm to the touch, place it in a shallow, towel-lined box at the base of the tree and leave it undisturbed for four to six hours. Often, the mother will come down and carry off the baby. She will not come down if people or pets are nearby, so stay clear. If the baby is cool or cold, it should be warmed before placing out for reclaiming. Place a hot water bottle under the towel the baby is resting on. Humans handling the baby will not make the mother reject it. If the mother does not reclaim the baby within three hours, or by dark, bring the infant inside and keep it warm until it can be transported to Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release, (530) 432-5522. Injured baby squirrels should be brought in immediately.
Injured Adult Squirrels
If you find an injured or sick squirrel (bloody nose, shivering, attacked by cat or dog), place the animal in an escape proof, ventilated box lined with a towel or soft cloth. Wear gloves and wash your hands before and after handling the animal. Cover the container with a light sheet or towel and place it in a warm, dark, quiet place until you can get the animal to Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release, (530) 432-5522. If the animal is chilled, place a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel in the container next to the animal. Note exactly where you found the animal. This will be important for its release.