Remember, it’s always best to contact a wildlife rescue or rehabilitation center in your area if you encounter a wild animal who may be injured or in need of assistance.
1. Remain Calm: Squirrels are naturally curious animals, and if they see you as no threat, they may come closer. Try not to move or make a sudden noise as this may startle them.
2. Avoid Eye Contact: In the animal kingdom, direct eye contact could be interpreted as a challenge or threat. It’s best to avert your gaze and allow the squirrel to approach or move away at its leisure.
3. Do Not Feed Them: While squirrels may seem adorable, feeding them only encourages them to stick around and potentially become too comfortable with humans. This can be dangerous for both the squirrel and people involved.
4. Back Away Slowly: If the squirrel continues to follow you, try to slowly walk away without agitating them. They will eventually lose interest if they do not perceive you to be a threat.
5. Seek Professional Help: If the squirrel shows signs of aggression or does not seem to leave, it’s best to seek help from a local wildlife rehabilitation center or animal control. Never try to handle wild animals on your own as this could lead to serious harm.
What to Do If a Squirrel Follows You
If you spend enough time in the great outdoors, it’s bound to happen to you at least once: you’re walking along, minding your own business, when a curious and friendly squirrel starts to follow you, scampering along just inches from your feet. While it might be tempting to simply walk away and leave the squirrel behind, this can be a dangerous proposition, both for the animal and for other people and pets. Here are some tips and strategies you can use to safely handle a following squirrel.
How to Approach a Following Squirrel
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that squirrels are wild animals, not pets. While they may seem friendly and harmless, they are still capable of biting or scratching if they feel threatened or cornered. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to approach a following squirrel safely:
- Stay calm and speak softly: squirrels are sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, so it’s important to approach them slowly and gently.
- Try to keep a safe distance: while approaching the squirrel slowly, make sure to give them plenty of space. You don’t want to scare them or make them feel cornered.
- Avoid making direct eye contact: squirrels are nervous around humans, and staring at them can make them feel even more anxious.
- Talk to the squirrel in a friendly, soothing voice. This can help to reassure them and make them feel more comfortable around you.
Finding a Safe and Secure Location
Once you’ve established a rapport with the squirrel and they’re following you closely, it’s important to find a safe and secure location where you can interact with them without putting yourself, the animal, or others in danger. Here are some tips to follow:
- Look for a quiet, dark location where the squirrel can feel safe and secure. This might be a park bench, a shaded area under some trees, or an abandoned building.
- Make sure that pets and other people are kept away. Squirrels are sensitive creatures, and they may become frightened or aggressive if they feel like they’re being threatened or cornered.
- Offer the squirrel some food and water if they seem interested in it, but avoid feeding them large quantities of food. Squirrels have a delicate digestive system, and overfeeding can cause them to become sick or even die. Large pieces of apple are safe and healthy to give squirrels, in moderation.
Providing Warmth for the Squirrel
In order to keep the squirrel calm and secure, it’s important to provide them with a warm and comfortable environment in which to rest and relax. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the location where you’re interacting with the squirrel is warm and comfortable. Ideally, it should be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Offer the squirrel a warm, soft blanket or piece of clothing to cuddle up with. This will help them to feel more secure and at ease.
- Keep the squirrel away from drafts or cold air. This can make them feel uncomfortable and cause them to become agitated or anxious.
Keeping Pets and People Away
While it might be tempting to show off your adorable new pet squirrel to everyone you meet, it’s important to remember that squirrels are wild animals, not pets. For that reason, it’s important to keep other pets and people away from the squirrel to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are some tips to follow:
- Keep the squirrel away from other pets, such as dogs and cats. These animals may become aggressive or territorial and could potentially attack the squirrel.
- Avoid approaching the squirrel with a crowd of people or noisy children. This can make them feel overwhelmed and cause them to become agitated or anxious.
- Make sure to keep a safe distance between the squirrel and any other animals or people that might be around. This will help to ensure that everyone stays safe and the squirrel isn’t put in any danger.
The Dangers of Feeding Squirrels
While it might be tempting to offer a following squirrel some food or snacks, it’s important to remember that feeding squirrels can actually be quite dangerous. Here are some reasons why:
- Feeding squirrels can cause them to become dependent on human food, which can make them lose their natural hunting and foraging instincts.
- Feeding squirrels can cause them to become too comfortable around humans, which can make them more susceptible to being captured or killed by predators.
- Feeding squirrels can also make them more vulnerable to getting sick or injured. Squirrels have delicate digestive systems, and overfeeding can cause them to become sick or even die.
Offering a Healthy Snack Option
While it’s important to avoid feeding squirrels large quantities of human food, there are some healthy snacks that you can offer them in moderation. Here are some options to consider:
- Small pieces of fresh fruit, such as apples or cherries.
- Unsalted nuts, such as almonds or peanuts.
- Small pieces of fresh vegetables, such as carrots or celery.
What to Do if the Squirrel is Injured or Sick
If you notice that the squirrel following you is injured or sick in any way, it’s important to take immediate action to help them. Here are some steps you can take:
- Wrap the squirrel in a soft, warm blanket or piece of clothing.
- Place the squirrel in a small, dark area where they can rest and relax.
- Make sure to keep pets and other people away, as the squirrel may be frightened or agitated.
The Importance of Contacting a Wildlife Rehab Center
If you notice that the squirrel following you is sick or injured, it’s important to contact a local wildlife rehab center as soon as possible. These organizations are trained to handle and care for sick and injured squirrels, and they can provide the squirrel with the medical attention and care they need to recover. Remember: squirrels are wild animals, and they deserve to be treated with respect and care. By following these tips and strategies, you can safely interact with a following squirrel and help to ensure their safety and well-being.