baby chipmunk

Baby chipmunk rescued and given new life after found on Toronto sidewalk

A baby chipmunk found weak and alone on a warm August evening in Toronto is now recovering slowly.

The chipmunk, one of four babies the Toronto Wildlife Centre currently has, was found on Aug. 7, the Centre's executive director Nathalie Karvonen tells blogTO.

He was found on a sidewalk, weak with very little energy, in the Leslie Street and Finch Avenue area in Toronto. The fact that he was alone and not running away is not normal behaviour for baby chipmunks.

"Just the fact that this little baby was seen out on a sidewalk would have been a huge red flag — so it is really good that the person who found him, picked him up to get him some help," Karvonen says.

The chipmunk was fed milk and although the person was trying to help, unfortunately, the little guy aspirated into his lungs. He got aspiration pneumonia and was treated with antibiotics.

"It happens a lot and we realize it is coming from a good place," Karvonen says.

Karvonen says there are warnings on the Toronto Wildlife Centre website telling people not to feed animals they find.

"There are a lot of reasons for that (not feeding animals) but this is definitely one of them," she says.

The chipmunk is doing much better now but is still too little to be released. He is currently with the three other baby chipmunks until he can be released.

"It is important that they are raised with other chipmunks."

Once they are fully weaned, they will be placed in a large outdoor enclosure to monitor their behaviour. They are also kept away from people so they can have a more natural upbringing. 

If people see a baby animal that doesn't run away and isn't near their mother, it likely means the baby needs help.

"If the baby is in imminent danger (on a road or high traffic area) — get it out of that danger."

In some situations, depending on the animal, it is better to wait and see if the mother returns.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre has more information on its website about how to help animals that appear to be in distress.

Lead photo by

Toronto Wildlife Centre screen shot

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