Sick or injured squirrels
Be careful when approaching wild animals, as they can scratch and bite when frightened - particularly if they're injured.
How to tell if a squirrel is sick or injured
- Not moving or moving very slowly if you approach it
- Obvious injuries, for example if it's been hit by a car or caught by a cat or dog
- Swollen or sore areas on the face, which can be a sign of infection
- Hunched-over posture
What to do with a sick or injured grey squirrel
By law, we can no longer rehabilitate and release grey squirrels, even if they've been injured and treated.
Unfortunately in some cases, the best option will be humane euthanasia to end the animal's suffering. Please contact your local vet.
To transport a squirrel to the vet:
- Be careful - squirrels have sharp teeth and can be extremely fast.
- Wear thick gloves and quickly place the squirrel into a secure metal or plastic pet carrier with ventilation holes, lined with a towel or newspaper.
How to help a grey squirrel
If the squirrel is trapped (for example in a bird feeder or your house), free it. The law still permits freeing squirrels and releasing them where they were found.
If the grey squirrel has only minor injuries, it's best to leave them in the wild.
Rescuing a squirrel trapped in a bird feeder
How to help a red squirrel
The law doesn’t affect red squirrels, so it's still legal to rehabilitate and release red squirrel infants. If the red squirrel is injured or orphaned, please contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or vet.
Usually, squirrels will have two litters of young a year - one between February and March and the other between June and July.