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Baby squirrels fall from their nests to cool off during the scorching heat wave

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Animal hospitals in the Bay Area were recently inundated with baby squirrels falling from their nests seeking relief from the scorching heat wave.

A squirrel nest is built to retain heat so baby squirrels will be warm on cold nights, but nests get incredibly hot when the temperature rises.

When baby squirrels try to crawl away, they fall out of the nest and onto the overheated ground. The squirrels, which usually spend the first four months of their lives in a nest, injure themselves.

“In addition to the usual injuries we see in fallen baby squirrels (broken teeth and cleft lips are the most common – baby squirrels have large heads so they almost always land face first!), our medical staff had to address the symptoms of hyperthermia in the baby squirrels and all the patients we admitted that week,” Alison Hermance, communications director for WildCare in San Rafael, DailyMail.com told via email.

Bay Area animal hospitals, such as WildCare in San Rafael (above), were recently overrun with baby squirrels falling from their nests seeking relief from the scorching heat wave.

When baby squirrels try to crawl away, they fall out of the nest and onto the overheated ground.  The squirrels, which usually spend the first four months of their lives in a nest, injure themselves.  Above: Healthy and recovered baby squirrels after a week at WildCare

When baby squirrels try to crawl away, they fall out of the nest and onto the overheated ground. The squirrels, which usually spend the first four months of their lives in a nest, injure themselves. Above: Healthy and recovered baby squirrels after a week at WildCare

A squirrel nest is built to retain heat, so baby squirrels will be warm on cold nights, but that means nests get incredibly hot when the temperature rises.  Above: A squirrel in the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center

A squirrel nest is built to retain heat, so baby squirrels will be warm on cold nights, but that means nests get incredibly hot when the temperature rises. Above: A squirrel in the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center

Volunteers and medical staff see broken teeth, cleft lips and hyperthermia, WildCare told DailyMail.com

Volunteers and medical staff see broken teeth, cleft lips and hyperthermia, WildCare told DailyMail.com

WildCare admitted 15 hyperthermic or overheated baby squirrels during the heatwave’s three hottest days.

Hermance explained that medical interventions include giving the injured little squirrels subcutaneous fluids, careful cooling, oral dextrose and a hydrating electrolyte solution, as well as treatment for shock including oxygen.

“Like humans, our wildlife experiencing hyperthermia (overheating) needs to be cooled down, but you can’t cool them down too quickly or you risk organ damage and death (this is another reason we don’t want people trying to get hot.” animals cool themselves,” she said.

“It has to be done with great care — seizures are a real risk in hyperthermia, so that’s another reason patients should be closely monitored.”

Hermance also told DailyMail.com that when conditions are right for mating, tree squirrels in the area have been known to produce a second brood in late summer or early fall. She added that they’ve seen a baby boom of sorts since late August, which she called a “squirrel palooza,” noting that the center was already caring for 40 babies even before the heat wave hit.

Silicon Valley's Wildlife Center cared for more than 200 tree squirrels as of Saturday, and they expected more

Silicon Valley’s Wildlife Center cared for more than 200 tree squirrels as of Saturday, and they expected more

“We had 14 squirrels that came within an hour.  People were queuing outside the gate to get in when we opened,

“We had 14 squirrels that came within an hour. People were queuing outside the gate to get in when we opened,” Laura Hawkins, executive director of the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center, told CBS News. ‘It’s a tidal wave, yeah’

“Some of them are really docile,” said Andy Young, a volunteer at the center. ‘Like you wouldn’t think that, but some of them will just lay there and be happily fed when they’re younger’

All of the center's volunteers had to work shifts to hand-feed four times a day (above) for the ailing squirrels

All of the center’s volunteers had to work shifts to hand-feed four times a day (above) for the ailing squirrels

The Silicon Valley Wildlife Center cared for more than 200 tree squirrels on Saturday, and they expected more. Of that group, most were covered in small cages and a few dozen were cared for in volunteers’ homes.

“We had 14 squirrels that came within an hour. People were queuing outside the gate to get in when we opened,” Laura Hawkins, executive director of the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center, told CBS News. “It’s a tidal wave, yes.”

All of the center’s volunteers had to work shifts to hand-feed the ailing squirrels four times a day.

“Some of them are really docile,” said Andy Young, a volunteer at the center. “Like you wouldn’t think that, but some of them will just lay there and like to be fed when they’re younger.”

Employees told the news channel that when the squirrels are released, they should be able to easily return to the wild.

Buffy Martin Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society, who treated 101 squirrels, told The Mercury News: “They literally jump out of their nest to escape the heat. The young animals “don’t have the climbing ability to get back up.”

Adult squirrels have been seen in the Bay Area squashing themselves on the ground to reduce body heat. Mammals can naturally sweat to cool down.

Adult squirrels have been seen in the Bay Area squashing themselves on the ground to reduce body heat.  Mammals can naturally sweat to cool down

Adult squirrels have been seen in the Bay Area squashing themselves on the ground to reduce body heat. Mammals can naturally sweat to cool down

Buffy Martin Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society, who treated 101 squirrels, told The Mercury News:

Buffy Martin Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society, who treated 101 squirrels, told The Mercury News: “They literally jump out of their nest to escape the heat. The young animals ‘don’t have the climbing skills to get back up’

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