Amazing Video Captures Moment Mom Squirrel Rescues Its Baby Taken by Crow

A viral video has shown the heartfelt moment a mother squirrel rescued an infant, dropped to the floor by a crow.

"My boyfriend and I were on a walk and all of a sudden a crow drops a baby squirrel out of the sky right in front of us," wrote TikTok user @kristi.ktok. The video, which can also be seen here, has gained over six million views and was uploaded in late April.

The adorable video begins with the baby squirrel on the side of the road, struggling to move and making loud squealing noises.

Moments later, an older squirrel ran past, seemingly unphased by the struggling infant at first, and stopped on the other side of the road. "Are you serious? She just ran away?" says Kristi off-camera.

"Not only was the crow trying to come back, but there was also a cat coming for the baby squirrel," she wrote, adding that they chased both the cat and crow off moments earlier to protect the baby.

Luckily, the older squirrel had a change of heart and eventually ran over to the baby, picking it up and safely holding it in her mouth before scurrying off.

"Oh my god, I am so happy," said Kristi.

The video of the rescue alone is heart-warming enough, but many in the comments speculated that they could have witnessed a squirrel adopting an abandoned squirrel. "I wonder if that's the mom or just another squirrel that just adopted it," wrote one user.

A 2010 study by the University of Guelph with researchers from the University of Alberta and McGill University discovered that squirrels sometimes adopt abandoned pups. However, they found that this only happens when the squirrels are related, and is likely because the older squirrel wants to continue its genetics, rather than innate kindness.

The study concluded that squirrels learn who their relatives are by the unique sounds they make, and if they fail to hear them for a few days, they may investigate why. "We suspect that if they find pups on the territory, they remember that their neighbor was a relative and carry the pups back to their nest. This would be quite intelligent behavior for a squirrel," noted the study.

The study also theorized that the larger the litter the mother already has, the closer relative she will require the adoptee to be. "That is, as her litter size increases, she requires that orphans be a closer relative to her before she'll adopt them," wrote researcher Jamie Gorrell in a follow-up article to the study. For example, if she has a large litter, she will only adopt younger siblings or grandchildren, but if she has a small litter she will take in nieces or nephews. This is due to the importance of continuing their bloodline, with closer relatives having closer genes.

However, it is unlikely that this is what the viral video portrays. The study also found that cases of "adoption" in squirrels was extremely rare, with the researchers studying 2,230 litters and 7,000 individual squirrels over 20 years, but finding over five cases of adoption.

Moreover, the study found it to be red squirrels that adopt, while the video appeared to capture eastern gray squirrels, making it far more likely to be a mother and its own infant.

Regardless of the relation between the infant and mother, the video has shown a warm side to the animals, generally seen as less-than-kind in their reputation.

"Squirrels have my whole heart and this video was an emotional rollercoaster but I'm glad there was a happy ending," wrote a TikTok user.

Close-up of an eastern gray squirrel
Close-up of an eastern gray squirrel. A video of a squirrel recuing its litter has gone viral online. Getty Images

Update 7/12/21 10:07 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a link to a video.