HOUSTON - Baby squirrels are creating a challenge for the Wildlife Center of Texas.
The small furry creatures are showing up by the hundreds.
"It's a major operation every day. We have volunteers who come in three times a day to feed these little guys," said Debbie Mitchell, operations director of the Wildlife Center of Texas.
From feeding stations to baby blankets, volunteers are working to keep all of the baby squirrels alive. The center is doing its best to take care of more than 410 rescued orphaned squirrels, but it's not a population increase for which the center was prepared. In 2012, they took in just 72 squirrels.
The center blames the weather for the mass arrival.
"We really feel like it's a result of the drought two years ago," said Mitchell. "There are a lot of trees that are falling and that have died from the drought. People are having trees removed. Trees have fallen. The past couple of weeks, we've had a lot of wind that has also knocked down some branches and some trees down.
When those trees fall, the babies are left alone, unable to fend for themselves.
Jaime Townsend, a volunteer at the center, said she likes helping the animals.
"It's very rewarding, even though there's so many. I feel like I'm making a difference by helping them each and every day," said Townsend.
The Wildlife Center of Texas has advice for anyone who sees a baby squirrel. First, make sure it truly it is an orphan. Observe it for a couple hours to see if it's wet, cold, injured or in danger. If it is, bring the baby squirrel to the center.
People may also help care for the baby orphans by making a donation on the Wildlife Center of Texas' website.
Workers said once the squirrels are old enough to care for themselves, they will release them back into the wild.
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