Dying Squirrel: 11 Signs and 3 Steps to Save Them

Sometimes you may see that your baby squirrels are showing signs of ailment or dying.

A healthy squirrel has a funky nature, healthy-looking hair, and an absolute energy pace and precision. But how to tell if A baby squirrel is dying? And how can you save baby squirrels from dying?

A dying baby squirrel is lethargic and exhibits dampness. It discharges lesions and scabs about its eyes, ears, lips, genitals, and feet. You can expect that the baby squirrel is not well and about to die by noticing such behaviors.

In this article, you will learn about baby squirrels and the signs they exhibit when they are about to die. Moreover, here we will discuss some ways to save your dying baby squirrel.

How To Tell If A Baby Squirrel Is Dying?


When a squirrel is dying, it typically shows all the signs when it is sick. Such signs are fatigue, baldness, fever, obvious tumors, and spots on the skin.  All these signs exhibit that a squirrel is suffering from severe illness, and all these diseases can spread to human beings and other species.

Here is the list of signs that a dying squirrel exhibits:

Lethargic Behavior

Lethargic and sedentary behavior among squirrels is probably the symbol of an ill squirrel that could ultimately lead to death because this is beyond their ultimate behavior.

By analyzing these signs, you can judge that your squirrel is about to die, and it is the right time to take any action to save its life.

Skin Anomalies

Some skin anomalies like baldness, marks, or lesions such as naked skin suggest that a squirrel suffers from skin disorders that could ultimately lead to death.

These skin diseases can be infectious and spread to humans and other living beings. Bacterial and fungal infections cause hair loss and dark spots in squirrels.

Infectious Diseases

Squirrels usually get bitten by insects, and they can transmit several diseases. Some diseases can also infect them by drinking dirty water, and all these infectious diseases ultimately lead to death.

How Do You Know If A Baby Squirrel Needs Help?

Baby squirrels are suspect to numerous diseases that can affect their lifespan.

You can get to know that baby squirrels need help by analyzing some ‘SQUIRREL SPECIFIC’ signs.

Baby squirrels sometimes fall from their nests, and their mother typically returns and collects them. But what if a baby squirrel is lying and its mother doesn’t return? Then how can you judge that a baby squirrel needs help?

Here are some of the signs of a baby squirrel who needs help in peril.

11 Signs Of A Dying Squirrel

Some common signs that can help you find out if a baby squirrel is dying are stated below:

  • Some visible tumors
  • Seizures
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Weakness
  • Rashes or lesions
  • Discharge from their eyes, ears, and mouth
  • Skin abnormalities
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Passing of blood
  • Diarrhea

Dying Baby Squirrel Sound

What To Do If You Find An Injured Baby Squirrel? 3 Steps to Save Him

Here are some steps you need to follow when you find an injured squirrel:

Step 1: Look for Signs of Injuries

If you find an injured squirrel in your backyard, look for signs of injury. Some common causes of injuries include falling from a tree, being hit by a car, or attacking any other animal.

Step 2: Handle with Care

If you find an injured squirrel, handle it with care. Squirrels are not aggressive by nature, but they can claw or bite with their sharp teeth if they are not handled with care.

Step 3: Scoop The Squirrel And Put It In Box

Throw a towel over the squirrel and put it in a box or cage. Provide a soft bed. Keep the squirrel warm. Place the Box or cage in a quiet area away from other animals.

How To Save A Baby Squirrel From Dying? 3 Steps

Like all the other living things, mother squirrel also gives the best protection and care to their toddlers, but in some conditions they become ill.

An ill baby squirrel is cold to touch, thin, and inactive. In this condition, you can try the following ways to save a baby squirrel from death.

  • Contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Keep the baby squirrel in a warm box with a clean blanket and ziplock bag.
  • Transport the baby squirrel to the wildlife rehab.

How To Revive A Dead Baby Squirrel?

When you find a dead baby squirrel, your priority should be keeping it in a hot place. It could be a ziplock bag with hot water, or cover the baby squirrel with a blanket.

Provide Them Water

A dehydrated squirrel is usually ill that could also lead to the death of a squirrel. To revive a dead baby squirrel, provide them clean water to drink.

When You Need A VET?

Squirrels also belong to the rodent family, and their mother takes care of them just like all the other animals. But sometimes, baby squirrels get in some situation in which they need a vet.

For instance, if you are trying to revive your baby squirrel but still not responding, it is the right time to visit a vet. Immediately visit the nearest vet to save your pet’s life.

Common Squirrel Diseases

Squirrels easily carry several diseases, and these can be dangerous for other living things. Some of the common diseases among squirrels are:

Bubonic Plague

The bubonic plague is one of the common diseases among squirrels. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This disease can also spread to humans quickly.

Squirrel Pox or Fibroma

Squirrel pox or fibroma is another disease among squirrels. This disease spread through insect bites, like mosquitoes. This virus causes skin tumors in the squirrel’s body.

Bugs, Fungus, and Squirrel Blading

Microscopic Notoedres Douglass brings bugs and fungus to the squirrel’s body. This is also a common disease among squirrels.

What Other Things Can Cause A Squirrel To Die?

Squirrels are rodents and sometimes they show signs of sickness and ultimately die. In the above sections, we have seen that squirrels are prone to several diseases that become their reason for death. But what are other things that can cause a squirrel to die?

Squirrels die for a variety of reasons, sometimes naturally and sometimes due to accidents.

Other than being affected by diseases, squirrels die due to head trauma from a fall, electric shocks, pet predation, or poison.

Head Trauma from a Fall  

Sometimes squirrels die when they fall from height and they suffer from head trauma. Although, squirrels are good jumpers and they land like superheroes but when they fall directly on the head side, this could lead to severe head trauma and ultimately lead to death.

Pet Predation

Squirrels are also victimized by some pets like cats and dogs.


Squirrels can die due to poison or pesticides too. They can get exposed to these pesticides when they come across any fruit or vegetable.

Electric Shocks

Squirrels are great climbers but that does not keep them away from trouble always. Scaling power lines near their nests can be a reason for squirrel’s death.

How To Save A Baby Squirrel From Shock

Signs of shock in squirrels are cold temperature, especially in extreme conditions, a glassy-eyed stare, unresponsiveness to touch, and rapid pulse and respiration. If these signs are accompanied by bleeding or other injuries, get the squirrel to a vet immediately.

The severe shock will require intravenous fluids, constant monitoring, and possible steroid treatment. For mild shock, place the squirrel overheat and leave to warm up.

How To Tell If A Baby Squirrel Is Dehydrated?

Dehydration can be one sign that could lead to death. But how to tell if a baby squirrel is dehydrated?

Examine the baby squirrel gently; Dull, sunken eyes, and dry or tacky mucous membranes (mouth) are a sign of severe dehydration among them.

You can also do a squirrel’s skin turgor test to examine dehydration among baby squirrels. Gently grasp the skin on the squirrel’s back with two fingers so that it is lifted.

Held the skin for a few seconds and then released it. Skin with normal turgor comes rapidly back to its normal position.

However, skin with decreased turgor remains elevated and returns slowly to its normal position. Decreased skin turgor is a late sign of dehydration. It occurs with moderate to severe dehydration.

Can Squirrels Play Dead?

No, squirrels don’t play dead. However, when they hibernate, it is difficult to tell whether they are alive or dead. Because at that time, their breathing rate drops to very few shallow breaths per minute, their heart rate slows to almost nothing, and they don’t respond to external stimuli.

Do Baby Squirrels Carry Diseases?

Yes, baby squirrels carry diseases that can be easily transmitted to human beings. Be careful of the following diseases that humans can adapt from squirrels:

Lyme Disease

Squirrels do not need to bite you to expose you to diseases. Squirrels contain several bacteria that cause fatigue, headaches, and skin rash in human beings.


Salmonella bacteria cause this type of infection. Symptoms of this disease include diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal cramps.


Leptospirosis is transmitted by animal urine. When it comes into contact with open wounds like scratch and bite. In humans, initial symptoms include headaches, rashes, fever, and vomiting.

How to Help Prevent Sickness in Squirrel? 

Squirrels are prone to several diseases that we have discussed in the topics mentioned above. But what could you do to help prevent sickness and all these diseases in squirrels?

You need to provide a variety of foods to squirrels to ensure that they get proper nutrition. Include vegetables like carrots, greens, beans, and fruits like apples and bananas in their diet. To keep squirrels hydrated, make sure there is a constant supply of water available for them.

Moreover, clean their cage so no bacteria and diseases can affect their life.

Why Are Squirrels Dying In My Backyard?

Why are squirrels dying in my backyard? This is a difficult question because there could be several potential reasons behind it.

Squirrels die due to several reasons, and one of them is ‘diseases.’ There are several potential diseases that squirrels can get prone to that leads to their demise.

Another reason could be ‘lack of water. Dehydration also causes squirrels to die fast.

What Happens If You Touch A Baby Squirrel?

Squirrels are excellent mothers. Like other animals, they take care of their little ones, and if you touch a baby squirrel, their mother will abandon it, and they want their baby back.

How Do You Get A Baby Squirrel Back From Its Mother?

Mother squirrels are protective, and they make several nests for their babies. You can get a baby squirrel back from its mother by observing when the mother squirrel is not around.

Healthy Baby Squirrel Signs

Baby squirrels are best cared for by their mothers at the initial days of birth. But how can one judge that baby squirrel is healthy?

You can say that a baby squirrel is healthy if you notice the following signs:

  • A dark color on the head and back of a baby squirrel with eyes slits visible and ears coming from the head in 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Light and short fur on baby squirrel’s ‘body except for belly in 3rd week.
  • Thick fur, emergence of lower teeth, and eyes about to open in the 4th week.

When you see all these signs in the initial weeks of baby squirrel’s birth, you can say that baby is healthy and its mother is taking care of well.

Final Words

Baby squirrels are delicate creatures, and they can only grow if cared for well. This article has explored all the prerequisites of a dying squirrel and the disease which they get prone to. Moreover, how one can take care of a baby squirrel when it gets sick and under what conditions it is possible to visit a vet. 

Some common signs can help one out to find a dying squirrel. For instance, visible tumors, Seizures, Lethargic behavior, Weakness, Rashes or lesions, discharge from their eyes, ears, and mouth, skin abnormalities, coughing, sneezing, passing of blood, and diarrhea.

SmallPetsX.Com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim to help small pet owners understand their pets a little better so that they can provide their pets with the life they deserve. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.

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