Found a Small Mammal?

Central Oregon Small Mammals

The small mammals found in Central Oregon are rodents such as tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, wood rats, mice, and others.

Orphaned small mammals should be reunited with parents as soon as possible.

Injured small mammals should be contained and brought to Think Wild for care.

DO NOT offer food or water to injured or orphaned mammals! 

Below are tips for different species and ages of small mammals.

 

Orphaned Tree Squirrels (Douglas Squirrel, Western Gray Squirrel)

  • Reunite instructions
    • Place the baby(ies) in a container that they cannot climb out of but the parents can easily climb in and retrieve the baby
      • Example: shoe box or similar depth container
      • If particularly cold, then add a heat source (bag of warmed rice or sand- so it retains heat for as long as possible)
    • Strap the container to the nearest tree to where the squirrel was found
      • Do not place the container directly in the sun to help prevent the infant from overheating
      • If possible, do not place in an area of high human traffic (this increases the chance of a successful reunion)
      • Ensure the container is at least 4 feet off the ground
  •  
    • Leave the container with the baby inside for a minimum of 4 hours
      • Parents can sometimes be lured back to their young by playing a recording of the calls of their young (link coming soon)
    • Check the container after 4 hours have passed
      • If the baby is still there, please contact Think Wild hotline at (541) 241-8680
      • If the baby tree squirrel is found at night, please find a quiet, dark, and warm area to temporarily house it overnight. In the morning, as early as possible and following the previously stated instructions, return the squirrel outside for at least 4 hours.

Please contact the hotline for guidance during this process - (541) 241-8680

Orphaned Ground Squirrel, Chipmunk, or Small Rodent

  • Reunite instructions:
    • Place the baby(ies) under a NON-AIRTIGHT container flipped upside down with a weight on top. Ensure that the weight is heavy enough that the baby cannot lift the container but the parent can easily move the weight and retrieve their baby.
      • Example: plastic strawberry container with a small rock placed on top 
    • Place the container with a weight and the baby under it as close to the den as possible on the ground.
      • If the location of the den is not known, then place the container, weight, and baby in a safe location as close to the location where it was found as possible
  •  
    • Leave the container with the baby inside for at least 4 hours
    • Check the container after 4 hours
    • Check the container after 4 hours have passed
      • If the baby is still there, please contact Think Wild hotline at (541) 241-8680
      • If the baby ground squirrel/mouse/rodent is found at night, please find a quiet, dark, and warm area to temporarily house it overnight. In the morning, as early as possible and following the previously stated instructions, return the squirrel outside for at least 4 hours

Please contact the hotline for guidance during this process - (541) 241-8680

Injured Adults - Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Small Rodents

Signs a small mammal needs care: 

  • Visible wounds, blood, or debris on the animal
  • Very heavy or very shallow breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Neurologic symptoms: balance issues, walking in circles, head tic, etc.
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking
  • Visibly emaciated (bones visible beneath loose skin)
  • Crusty eyes or nasal discharge
  • Entanglement in barbed wire, garden netting, fencing, etc.
  • Caught by a predator or domestic animal (ALL cat-caught native wildlife require treatment)

If you find an injured small mammal

  • At night or outside of hotline operating hours…
    • Wear heavy gloves
    • Capture by placing a box on its side or a crate and gently usher the animal into the box using a stick or a broom
    • Keep in a dark, quiet location away from humans and pets
    • If animal is too alert to capture, please monitor until Think Wild operating hours
    • Contact Think Wild at 8 am - (541) 241-8680
  •  
  • During the day… 
    • Contact Think Wild immediately - (541) 241-8680
    • Monitor the animal's condition and behavior from at least 25 feet away
    • Take photos and videos
    • Contain the small mammal if instructed to do so, or stay in the area until Think Wild team arrives

Please contact the wildlife hotline ASAP if you find an injured small mammal - (541) 241-8680

Learn More About Small Mammals in Central Oregon

Conflicts with Small Mammals?

Getting into Feed

  • Place feed in sturdy hard plastic or metal container
  • Do not leave any food out for pets

Nesting in Property

  • Cover any openings more than a quarter inch in diameter with ¼ inch hardware cloth or wire mesh
  • Use steel wool or copper mesh to create a barrier in holes than cannot be plugged
  • Place offensive odors around the nest area, soiled kitty litter, ammonia soaked cloth, Epsom salts.

Inside House

  • Use a live trap with food inside to capture the animal overnight and relocate the animal outside

Eating out of Bird Feeders

  • Place the bird feeder on a wire with two liter sized bottles on either side, strung on the wire
  • Use squirrel proof cage feeders
  • Dust cayenne pepper on outside of feeder, the birds don’t mind
  • Clean up seeds and debris beneath the feeder that may attract squirrels
  • Prune back any bushes or trees in a 12 foot diameter around feeder (squirrels can jump over 10 feet so place away from launching points)

Tunneling Near Irrigation Ditches

  • Remove food source, prescribed burning of aquatic vegetation in the area when ditches are low or dry
  • Allow ditches to run dry when not in use to reduce overwintering habitat

Reach out to our wildlife services program for a free phone or email consultation or to schedule an in-person visit.