Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Squirrel Angst

My Squirrel Angst

I know I often complain about the squirrel antics in my backyard but I had a squirrel experience today that shook me up. My husband and I were out walking this afternoon and saw two young squirrels coming down from a tree. I stopped for a few seconds to say, “Oh, look at the tiny squirrels!” Then I said to the closest one, “You are adorable!” After that we moved on up the street. And so did that little squirrel. It followed us, running between our feet and looking up longingly. After telling it gently that it needed to go back to its tree, we walked on. But the squirrel came with us. We were walking carefully so as not to step on it. It pawed at our shoes and the bottom of our jeans and tried to climb up. It wanted to follow us across the street but we turned back so it would stay on the sidewalk.

By this time, my heart was aching. Surely this poor critter was looking for its mother. What might have happened to her? Was it hungry? Sad? Was it imprinting? I knew relatively nothing about a baby squirrel’s needs. We had nothing to carry it in to transport it to an animal center or vet so we couldn’t take it with us. We tried to lead it back to the tree we saw it climbing down from but it stopped following. It must have gotten the message that we were not going to be its parents.

When we got back home, I tried calling several animal shelters and natural centers for advice but it was after hours and I only got their voice mail. I hope the squirrel took after its smart adult counterparts and found its way back to its tree home to climb up to its nest and be safe. I think I will look at my backyard squirrels differently from now on and perhaps be less critical as I remember my squirrel angst for one of the new generation.

If you run into this situation, here is how to handle it:

Squirrel nests:


  1. That's wild - we had a similar experience. It was over ten years ago but I still member it. The tiny squirrel was by our mailbox and followed us to the front door. My husband and I made a bed/nest of sorts with some nuts but the squirrel never did use it, although it did take a few nibbles on the nuts. Animal control said to just leave it be; we don't know what happened to it.

    1. I spoke with someone at a local nature center who said basically the same thing. If we see the squirrel again with mother we can put it in a box (using gloves) and bring it to them. We actually went back but did not see the little one again. I just wish it well.