It is illegal to
rehabilitate, keep or release grey squirrels without a licence from
Natural England. If you have found a squirrel in need of help please
make sure that you take it to a rescue centre which holds such a
The Wildlife Haven does have a licence from Natural England to rehabilitate and re-release grey squirrels.
A wild adult squirrel that allows you to approach it (excluding tame ones found in parks) is quite possibly in need of attention. This does not mean that it will let you handle it safely. Those teeth and claws will still work! However, don’t be heavy handed as squirrels can easily be hurt. If the squirrel is not very mobile and you want to help, keep calm and get organised! Have a squirrel-proof container ready. A cat travel basket or similar would be suitable - preferable made of metal. Arm yourself with thick gloves and then try to pick up the squirrel by covering it with a large towel or blanket. Scoop it into the container and leave the blanket in with it.
Unless it appears to be an emergency, we suggest that you keep it warm, quiet and dark to allow the squirrel time to calm down if necessary.
Don’t try to force the squirrel to eat or drink, especially if it may be suffering from shock.
Try to get some idea of the problem. Are there obvious external injuries? Can you see any swelling (particularly around the head)? Are all limbs working?
Contact your nearest licensed wildlife rescue centre for advice.
We describe a young squirrel as one that is not fully weaned, so probably less than 8 weeks old.
The majority of young squirrels ‘found’ by people have been caught by a cat (or sometimes a dog or other animal) or have fallen from the nest. If the squirrel is unable to find its way back home, it is likely to need help. Handling youngsters is usually easily as their inexperience makes them unlikely to try to make a rapid escape or to be aggressive. As a general rule, if a squirrel hasn’t yet grown a full tail, then its teeth and claws are unlikely to be fully developed, but exercise caution and handle the creature very gently and preferably with gloves.
is a fair chance that the squirrel may be in shock and/or rather cold.
It is unwise to try to feed the youngster. Young squirrels can get cold
quickly when out of the nest. It's very important to provide warmth as
soon as possible. A small cardboard box or animal travel basket with a
towel or small blanket (or even a fleecy hat!) will help to provide a
warm nest, put a hot water bottle or wheat bag wrapped underneath the
bedding you have provided (or even an ordinary plastic bottle with hot
water if you have nothing else), before calling someone for help.
Young squirrels may seek out people when they are ill or hungry. This behaviour is often mistaken for domestication and leads to people attempting to keep them.
Please don't attempt to rear squirrels yourself. Apart from it being an offence to keep them without a licence, squirrels also tame easily and can become aggressive towards people as they mature. Always take squirrels to your nearest licensed rescue centre.