Palisadian Andi Wagner Shares the Story of Rescuing Three Baby Squirrels
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Actor, comedian and resident of the Palisades Andi Wagner recently added another skill to her wheelhouse: temporary squirrel mom.
She was running near Saint Matthew’s in September with her dog when, on her way through the parking lot, she saw something lying on the sidewalk that she assumed was a dead or injured rat.
“The closer I looked, I saw that it was a baby squirrel,” Wagner recalled. “I wasn’t sure if it was alive, so I put my hand on him and felt that he was warm and he was breathing.”
She looked over to the right and there was another abandoned squirrel.
“I was like, oh, my gosh, how many freaking baby squirrels am I going to find?” Wagner said with a laugh. “I was like, please don’t let there be a dozen.”
In total, Wagner found three squirrels and no mom in sight, so she quickly got to work on a rescue mission.
“I couldn’t leave them,” she said. “I just couldn’t. I knew that they needed help.”
While she was running, Wagner remembered she saw a discarded Frisbee, which she went back for, flipped over and filled with leaves to make it softer for the squirrels during their transport.
“I scooped each one up with my hands and put them in the Frisbee, and decided to just carry them home,” she explained.
She made the half-mile journey, noting that because it was recycling day, she was able to snag an Amazon box from a neighbor’s bin to put the squirrels in on her way.
“There I was with three baby squirrels, not knowing what to give them, but I didn’t want to kill them, so that’s why I Googled—I always turn to Dr. Google on the internet,” Wagner explained. “Next thing you know there’s just videos galore how to keep baby squirrels and how to take care of them. So, I was trying to read as much as I could and listened to a video.”
While posting on Nextdoor to try to get input from neighbors who may have been in similar situations, Wagner found herself weeding through inconsistencies in how to care for baby squirrels.
“There’s a plethora of information and what I was trying to find was a lot of consistency, because there was a lot of inconsistency,” she shared. “Some people said yes you can give them water, and then no you can’t give them water, they’re most likely going to be dehydrated so you have to give them Pedialyte, and if you can’t get Pedialyte, you can make your own.”
Some of the information she found mentioned that rescuers should use a soft, warm rag to rub the squirrels’ heads to make it feel like their mother is there. Wagner also discovered they would need to be fed throughout the night and could not be placed on towels, as their nails get caught on the cloth.
“I’m not even kidding, there were so many rules to raising or taking care of a baby squirrel that it was kind of overwhelming,” Wagner said. “I did it all because I’m sort of a perfectionist and again, I didn’t want them to die on my clock.”
Because the California Wildlife Center in Malibu was inundated with baby squirrels at the time and shelters were closed on the Monday Wagner found them, the squirrels had to remain in her care overnight.
“So now really, I’m squirrel momma,” she said. “I have no choice, what am I going to do?”
Wagner posted her story on Instagram, where a friend shared that they rescued baby squirrels earlier in 2020 and was able to bring them to a rescue in the Sunland area. Wagner got in touch with the woman who runs the place, but she was only available to receive them the next night, as she was currently at the vet with some of her other rescues.
When Wagner handed off her baby squirrels, the woman explained that they were all little girls, so they named them after Charlie’s Angels: Farrah, Kate and Jaclyn.
This is not Wagner’s first foray into rescuing animals. She recalled a time where she rescued a hawk with her son and another time a hummingbird hit her window, which she picked up and held until it woke up.
“My ex-husband calls me Snow White because animals just sort of find their way into my life, whether they’re injured or not,” she said. “I’m one of those people where if I see a hurt animal, I will always try to help it, no matter what.”
The rescue will keep the baby squirrels in its care for a few weeks until they are able to survive on their own, at which point they will be returned to the Palisades area.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.