South Bay wildlife center sees uptick in baby squirrels brought in by public

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley says in the last 28 days, they've received 180 baby squirrels. In a full year, the center will receive roughly 770 baby squirrels found by the public.

"It is more than we've seen in the last year," executive director Laura Hawkins explained. "We're up about 3 percent from last year at this same time."

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She says that from early August through October, tree squirrels have their second litter of the year. The previous breeding season ends in mid-June.

Hawkins says one of the center's recent rehabilitation efforts were no match for the damage that was already done under a well-intentioned person's care.

"The animal gets to a point where sometimes they don't make it because of that," Hawkins says.

The death of a baby squirrel was enough for the center to offer educational tips for anyone who might come across a young animal:

1. Be conscious of bird or squirrel nests when/if you are trimming trees.

2. If a squirrel falls out of the nest or is laying beneath a tree and seems to be injured, please bring it to WCSV or the nearest wildlife rehabilitation facility.

3. If the baby squirrel does not seem injured, monitor the squirrel beneath the tree for up to an hour to see if mom will retrieve it.

4. Do not feed the animal. This includes food, cows milk, and pedialyte.

If it's necessary, WCSV says people can give the baby squirrel water in moderation.

However, Hawkins maintains it is important to get the baby squirrel to a wildlife rehabilitation facility as soon as possible for professional medical care.

The center says every wildlife species has specific diets. When animals are given improper food, it can cause malnutrition, bone disease, growth issues and other complications.

Hawkins also asks that people wait until the end of October or early November to trim their trees.

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For now, it's business as usual at WCSV with volunteers and employees working to nurse the baby squirrels back to health.

"The goal for us is always to rehabilitate and release," Hawkins says. This involves a thorough initial exam from the moment the animals are brought in, then assessing what type of treatment plan the animal should complete.

"Our goal is to always get them back into the wild, so they can continue to live a wild life," Hawkins adds.

WCSV is celebrating 25 years of service to Silicon Valley wildlife. The center's yearly fundraiser is expected in just a few weeks, on September 15.

For more information about services offered by WCSV, click here.

For more stories related to animal rescue, visit this page.
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