You’re out for a walk and see a squirrel lying on the ground, not moving but breathing. You watch it for a while, concerned that maybe it’s dead. But then you realize that the squirrel is breathing – just very slowly. So why is squirrel not moving but breathing? What could be causing this strange behavior? Read on to find out!
Squirrels are very active and playful, so seeing one just lying there was quite strange. So let’s find it out.
The Short Answer…
A squirrel not moving but breathing is in shock, stunned, injured, sick or simply moments before dying.
I was taking a nice leisurely walk in the park when I noticed a squirrel lying on the ground. At first, I thought it was dead because it wasn’t moving at all. But then I noticed that it was breathing! So why Is squirrel not moving but breathing?
Why Is Squirrel Not Moving But Breathing?
If you’ve ever seen a squirrel that has been hit by a car, you may have noticed that they often seem to be frozen in place. This is actually a common response to trauma, and it’s known as shock. Going into shock can also be due to shaking from predators, falling from tree or electric shock. It can also be injured, scared, dehydrated or too cold for shock.
When an animal is in shock, their body goes into survival mode and shuts down all non-essential systems. This includes the digestive system, the immune system, and the reproductive system. The squirrel’s heart rate and respiration also slow down, which conserves energy.
- If the squirrel is laid on its back, and isn’t responsive to your presence or even touch but breathing, with stare face without moving its eyes, the squirrel is in shock. Usually, squirrels do not lay on their back neither they sleep on their back. Instead they sleep on their front side like dogs, cats.
- If the squirrel’s leg and paw are cold along with blood on the mouth and nose they don’t move for a while. Sometimes squirrel may walk on one side or in circles in shock. So that shouldn’t make you believe the squirrel is fine.
What To Do If You Find A Squirrel Not Moving But Breathing?
If a squirrel is not moving but breathing, it is highly likely it’s in shock.
Move Into a Safe Place
If there are no obvious injuries, gently place the squirrel in a small box or cage lined with soft fabric. You should then bring the squirrel to a quiet, warm place and let it recover. Sometimes, it just takes time to recover without doing anything.
Remember to wear gloves and place inside the towel in box or just in a box somewhere up in a tree or anywhere away from a predator.
Keep an eye on the squirrel and if it doesn’t start to recover after a few 10 minutes, proceed with the next step.
Do A CPR
Depending on the severity, a squirrel can come out of shock with CPR which is an emergency lifesaving procedure when the hearts stop beating.
If you find a squirrel not moving but breathing, wear gloves and place it in a towel and move it in shade and start applying CPR. Gloves will help from the illness, blood and bites in case it wakes during CPR. Here’s how to do it.
Just like humans, squirrels may also come out of shock with water. After you have brought the squirrel under shade, you can sprinkle some water on the face, very less. That should be very less and with hand only.
The first step is to check for any obvious injuries. If there are, like squirrel’s mouth and nose are blood, take a cloth and clean it gently. If squirrels hand or legs are bloodful, it’s important to provide first aid as soon as possible. If the squirrel has a broken bone or an open wound, provide a first aid kid until call a wildlife rehabilitation center for help.
Call For Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
The best thing to do is to call a professional. They will be able to assess the situation and provide the best course of action. If the squirrel is injured, they will be able to provide care and transport it to a rehabilitation center. If the squirrel is not injured, they will be able to release it back into the wild. In either case, it is best to leave the squirrel in the care of a professional.
How Long Does A Squirrel Stay In Shock?
Depending on the severity, a squirrel stays in shock for between 3 to 4 minutes.
What Does Squirrel Stunned Like?
If you’ve ever spotted a small, furry animal lying motionless on the ground, you may have wondered if it was stunned. The term “stunned” is often used to describe animals that appear to be unconscious or inactive.
For example, if a squirrel is hit by a car, it may become dazed and unable to move.
- If a squirrel breathes and the heartbeat is working but not moving, it is stunning. Birds stunned will also bink their eyes but not squirrels.
- If the squirrel’s body temperature is normal and breathes, without moving, it is likely stunned. But if the body temperature is cold, then its likely dead.
In this case, the best thing you can do is call a wildlife rehabilitation center for help. Don’t try to handle the animal yourself, as it could bite or scratch in its confusion.
How Do You Know When A Squirrel Is Dying?
You can know a squirrel is dying from its appearance. A healthy squirrel will have a glossy coat of fur, bright eyes, and a bushy tail.
However, a dying squirrel will often look bedraggled and unkempt, with dull fur and listless movements. Lying on the ground with eyes and mouth open but breathing.
Stiff Hands & Legs
Observing, if the squirrel hands and legs are stiff and don’t move after a decent time, the squirrel is probably dead. If a squirrel is having difficulty moving their limbs or holding their body up, it’s also a good indication that they’re living their last minutes.
Unfortunately, once a squirrel reaches this stage, there’s often little that can be done to help them. If you suspect that your squirrel is dying, the best thing to do is to contact a vet and have them euthanized. While it may be painful to lose a furry friend, it’s the kindest thing you can do for an animal who is suffering.
Cold Body Tempurature
One way to tell if a squirrel is dying is by observing its body temperature. When a squirrel is dying, its body temperature will drop significantly. This is because the animal’s metabolism slows down as it nears death, and it can no longer generate enough heat to keep itself warm.
As a result, the squirrel will become lethargic and may even seem unconscious. If you touch the squirrel, its skin will feel cold and lifeless.
Can A Paralyzed Squirrel Move?
squirrels are someimes paralyzed due to injury or illness. The good news is that, in most cases, a paralyzed squirrel can still move half of its body. Like for example, if the legs are paralyzed, the squirrel can still move its hands and vice versa. This may seem strange, but it’s due to the fact that the nerves that control movement are different from the nerves that control sensation.
As a result, a squirrel can still feel pain even if it can’t move its limbs. However, if the paralysis is severe, the squirrel may not be able to move its limbs at all. In these cases, the squirrel will usually die within a few days.