Dedicated to making the world a

better place one squirrel at a time

 Preparing An Orphan for Transport

1. Other than to treat life threatening injuries and provide supportive care, do not handle orphaned or injured wildlife.

2. Warm the baby and keep the baby warm.  If the baby is cool to the touch.  Carefully warm it before doing anything else!

3. Provide  older babies a comfortable place to hide.    Loosely wrap the baby in an old T-shirt or other soft fabric and place in a box in a quiet, dark, and warm location away from noise or other household activities.

4. Do not feed solid food or offer any milk or juice.  You may offer a small amount of water or  hydration fluid (such as  unflavored  Pedialyte) with  a dropper or syringe if the baby is clearly dehydrated.  

5. For young babies (eyes closed), stimulate the baby to urinate and defecate as they cannot do it without assistance.

Capture & Transport of Injured Juvenile and Adult Wildlife

Adult squirrels can be very tricky to handle.  Use a heavy towel or blanket to loosely cover the animal.

Handle wildlife with extreme care at your own Risk!   

Squirrels have very sharp incisors and strong jaw muscles!

The bite of an angry squirrel is roughly  equivalent to having an

ice pick stabbed into your hand  (usually repeatedly) until either

the squirrel gets tired or you let go.   Even then, it is likely  

You will need to gently pry the squirrel’s mouth open by placing firm  

pressure on both sides of the squirrel’s mouth to open the jaw.

You must move quickly secure the squirrel in a towel or let it go by

tossing it (yes, gently!) away from you before it latches on again.


A squirrel has two defenses, the teeth and the claws.  When these are secured, the squirrel cannot inflict damage.  Severely injured squirrels are typically docile, but not always - always use good judgement.

1.   Drape a sturdy towel over the squirrel,  reach down and  feel for the head and shoulders. Through the towel, place your hand on each side of the head with you palm on the shoulders. Gently pick up the towel with the squirrel inside and wrap the towel around the squirrel into a ‘squirrel burrito’.  The towel can remain draped over the head but make sure the squirrel can breath.  Place burrito in box and secure top. Make sure air can get in the box.

2.  Place a towel in the bottom of a box and use a broom or other tool to very gently ‘sweep’ the squirrel into the box and secure the lid.  Make sure air can get in the box.

Adult squirrels can and will bite through heavy leather gloves!

Only attempt to capture the animal if:

1. It can be done safely for the handler

2. It can be done safely for the animal

3. The handler has the tools necessary to restrain and hold the animal

4. The handler can provide constant observation and attention to the animal during and following the procedure.

Stabilization and Transportation of Wildlife

Considerations for Transport

Do not attempt to rehabilitate the wild animal on your own. Each animal has unique care needs that are highly specific to its species.

Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility to arrange to drop off the animal.

Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonosis is any infectious disease that can be transmitted between two different species (for example, between a human’s finger and  a squirrel’s teeth)

BTW. Don’t ever ask a squirrel to pull your finger.

The instructions on this page are targeted towards transporting squirrels; however, they are appropriate for many  other species of small mammals. If you  have any concerns about how to safely transport a particular species of wildlife or are concerned about disease transmission, please discuss it with the rehabilitator before approaching the animal.   Squirrels, rabbits and opossums are not rabies vector species and are considered to be relatively low risk when handled properly.

Warning!  Always take extreme care to protect yourself, your family and pets.  Handling wildlife, particularly large carnivores or rabies vector species, can result in severe injury or death! Rabies vector species include bats, raccoons, fox, skunks and ground hogs.  Bats are currently the only known reservoir of rabies in Washington State.  It is estimated that no more than 1% of bats in nature are infected with rabies. Of the bats found on the ground 5 to 10% tested positive; therefore, it is recommended that you take extreme care if you choose to handle a bat on the ground.  Source.

Zoonotic diseases
Warming the Baby

If the baby is cool to the touch it must be warmed. This section discusses methods for warming the baby.  See also: Build an Incubator.

Warming the Baby

Most orphaned and injured wildlife has some degree of dehydration.

After treating life threatening injuries and providing warmth, addressing hydration is the next step in stabilizing the squirrel.

Going to the Bathroom
Treating Dehydration Bathrooming

Baby’s with their eyes closed must be stimulated to urinate (pee) and defecate (poop). They cannot do it without help!

Step by step instructions for accomplishing the task after every feeding.

Treating Dehydration
Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator

Links and other helpful resources to assist you in finding qualified help for injured and orphaned wildlife.

Find a Rehabilitator

How to safely remove fleas, ticks, mites, flies, larva and other unwelcome visitors from squirrels!

Debugging Squirrels

Watch out for the hurty parts!