A squirrel who is nearly full-sized, has a full and fluffy tail and can run, jump and climb is independent. However, if a juvenile squirrel continuously approaches and follows people, their mom is probably gone. In this case, you should contact a rehabilitator because the baby is very hungry and needs care.

There are a few cases where you might need to intervene:

- A baby squirrel falls from a nest.
- A nest falls from a tree.
- A felled tree contains an intact nest.

If the baby and/or their nest fell from the tree today, give the mother squirrel a chance to reclaim their young and relocate them to a new nest. If the baby is uninjured, leave them where they are, leave the area, keep people and pets away and monitor them from a safe distance.
If it's chilly outside or the baby isn't fully furred, place them in a shoebox with something warm underneath (like a heating pad on a low setting or a hot water bottle). Be sure to put a flannel shirt between the baby and the heating device, or they could overheat. Do not cover them with anything or the mother might not be able to find them.

If the babies are not retrieved by dusk, take these steps:

- Wearing thick gloves, gather the squirrels and place them inside a thick, soft cloth, such as a cloth diaper or fleece scarf or hat.
- Place one of the following items beneath the cloth: A chemical hand warmer inside a sock, a hot water bottle (replace the hot water every 30 minutes) or a heating pad set on the lowest setting. (If the heating pad has no cover, put it inside two pillowcases so the babies don't overheat.)
- Place the baby squirrels, cloth and warmer inside a small cardboard box or carrier. Call a wildlife rehabilitator.

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Why they are important

The most important role of squirrels in the ecosystem is forest regeneration. They are huge contributors in shaping plant composition due to their eating and food saving habit. Squirrels love to feed on seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Interesting Facts

- Squirrels can find food buried beneath a foot of snow
- A squirrel's front teeth never stop growing
- Squirrels lose over 25 percent of their buried food
- They zigzag to escape predators
- Squirrels may pretend to bury a nut to throw off potential thieves
- Squirrels are acrobatic, intelligent, and adaptable
- They get bulky to stay warm during the winter
- Squirrels don't dig up all of their buried nuts, which results in more trees
- A newborn squirrel is about an inch long