How to Care for a Baby Squirrel?

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

How do you take care of an abandoned baby squirrel?

If the baby is uninjured, leave it where it is, leave the area, keep people and pets away, and monitor it from a safe distance. If it’s chilly outside or the baby isn’t fully furred, place it in a shoebox or other small container with something warm underneath (like a hot water bottle).

How often do you feed a baby squirrel?

(Example: A 5-week-old squirrel will be strictly on formula and not yet on solid foods, so he will need to be fed every three hours. A seven-week-old squirrel will be nibbling on solid foods, and will need formula about four times a day, or every 4 hours.

What to feed a baby squirrel that fell out of a tree?

Place uncooked rice or bird seed in a sock and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Wrap the sock in a soft towel and place it with the baby in an open container [e.g., a box]. Remember, do not give the baby food or water!

Make sure the little squirrel is really a baby, just because the squirrel is tiny doesn’t mean he’s a baby. If the squirrel has a fluffed-out tail or a body longer than 6, he’s probably fine on his own. If youre sure this is truly a baby and doesn’t have visible wounds, the main goal is to get the baby squirrel warm and to reunite with its mom. Usually, the baby has just fallen from the nest. Check your surroundings to see if there is a fallen nest nearby, if there are other squirrels, etc. Do not leave the baby squirrel in the yard unless you know for sure when the nest fell and where. If the mom is going to come and get the babies, she will do so right away after the nest or babies have fallen. If the mother is not in sight, the baby could need help right now because it is getting colder by the minute and seen as prey for many animals. If you believe the baby fell recently and the mother is nearby you can keep it warm in a nest box until she retrieves it.

Make a nest box using a small plastic container (lid off) and fleece blanket to put the baby squirrel in. If it is nighttime, or there are potential harmful animals nearby (dogs), bring the baby inside immediately without waiting for the mother.

The baby squirrel should be moved into a more stable home than a plastic container, it would be best to get a Nest Box filled with soft bedding . Made with 100% natural cotton fibers, this nesting material is soft, cozy, and makes squirrels feel safe and secure. Carefully clean baby with blue Dawn soap or Instant Shampoo , which is a no-rinse formula that gently loosens dirt, dissolves oils, and deodorizes a squirrel‘s skin and coat.

There are many helpful vidoes on youtube that will show you how to stimulate your squirrel to make them pee , demonstrate proper feeding techniques , etc. After being rehydrated, you can temporarily give your baby squirrel unflavored pedialyte for the first 24 hours of care, before beginning milk feedings. You can use one of our Squirrel Nursing Sets to give the baby the Specialty Milk Replacer Formula to feed it.

Specialty milk replacer provides nutrients for strong animal development (read FAQs for more info). It’s important they learn to love these healthy foods before being introduced to sweet fruit and treats that will make them picky. Introduce even more solid food, such as Apple Sticks , which help maintain clean and trim teeth.

Begin to feed healthy Veggie Blend Treat , which contains sweet potatoes, carrots, and green peas. After a month of life, light hair starts growing all over back, and lower front teeth begin emerging. A great forage accessory for a squirrel is a Chew Stack that attaches to the cage and is made of natural wooden blocks, cylinders, and cubes.

If the mother is not in sight the baby needs help right now because it is getting colder by the minute and seen as prey for many animals. Other signs of dehydration: lack of appetite, lethargy, pale gums, spiky fur, dry skin, looks thin and wrinkly. A homemade rehydration fluid is made by mixing 1 tablespoons sugar with 2 cups warm water.

Male baby squirrels have a larger space between the genital opening and the anus (scrotum sac). Feed the baby squirrel milk replacer until it is old enough to properly eat and digest solid foods (around 7-9 weeks old). If the baby shows any signs of illness contact your vet or wildlife resource immediately.

Physical signs of dehydration are sunken eyes, overly wrinkly and/or dry skin (some wrinkles and loose skin is normal), lethargy, hypothermia, dark or hard feces, dark urine (if any), dry mucous membranes, pale gums, and signs of shock. The baby squirrel is experiencing diarrhea if the stools are non-formed, loose, runny, or foul smelling. Spray Elimina on animal’s food daily, the smell from the waste will be virtually undetectable in 3 days.

Make sure to bolt the wheel firmly to the cage so it doesn’t tip over if your pet decides to swing on it. Our customer service representatives are happy to address your questions or provide additional information about products. Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis.

Due to many people trying to help without being able to go to a store to purchase the correct supplies we are adding in critical information to help you. You will find the information in the next paragraph, basic care is followed beyond that point.

The information provided here is intended to help you with the initial steps to caring for a baby squirrel. We urgently recommend that the baby be taken to a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator immediately upon receiving the animal.

The information you will find here is extremely important and must be followed closely to insure a successful rearing. If a baby is sick, injured or cold the chances are that the mom will not come back to retrieve it. Fly eggs look like small yellow dots or flakes on the babies, and if left alone will develop into maggots.

A soda bottle filled with hot water and covered with a sock can be placed near the babies. Make sure the babies are safe from natural predators such as cats, dogs, hawks, crows, and snakes. This box should be placed in a dark, warm and very quiet area indoors away from children and pets.

Make sure the cloths that you use do not have loose strings or loops that the animals fingers, legs, or teeth could get caught up on. Dripping a small amount of fluid gradually on the tongue will help with less chance of aspiration. Check the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or any injuries that the maggots could be inside of.

Normally I bathe the animal in warm water diluted with Dawn dish detergent and this will help loosen the eggs. You can give him a small amount honey, karo syrup, or all-fruit jelly on his tongue to help pull him out of a Hypoglycemic seizure. Transition slowly to Ensure (human supplement found in food stores and pharmacies) which is very easy for the baby to digest, and then gradually introduce Esbilac Puppy milk replacer.

A baby will not start maintaining it’s own body temperature until about 5 weeks of age, shortly after its eyes open. If the animal is heavily infested with fleas, pick off and destroy all that you can, and then carefully wipe the powder with a tissue onto the skin of the squirrel. Symptoms of pneumonia can be a clicking sound in the throat area, open mouth breathing, or a runny or congested nose.

If these symptoms are present, take the animal to a veterinarian or an experience wildlife rehabilitator immediately. You can also soak the babys lower half in a warm water bath while you massage his tummy. If there is no other option, you can make your own by combining 1 teaspoon salt with 3 tablespoons sugar in 1 quart of warm water.

Remember, most pet stores specialize in domestic animals, and their employees usually have no knowledge about care of wildlife. If you think this may be the case, then you can soak the lower half of his body in warm water and massage his back, sides and abdomen. These foods may include kale, broccoli, apples, grapes, sweet potato, and hard-shelled nuts out of the shell and a good quality rodent diet.

( At Chris’s Squirrels and More we offer Mazuri Rodent Block or Zupreme Primate Dry Diet .) Once the squirrel is consuming a good amount of solid foods than you can start cutting out a feeding every few days.

Squirrels are one of the most entertaining animals to watch. They’re so playful and active. And baby squirrels are just adorable. If you hear a high-pitched squeaking sound coming from the ground, look around. You might have found a baby squirrel. If you do see one without its mother around and it is in need of assistance, you may be the only person who can save it, but that should be your last resort. Primarily you should leave it alone, and wait for its mother to care for it. If that isn’t an option, the second best action is to find a wildlife rehabilitator to care for the squirrel until it can care for itself – more on that later. Only when the first two actions are unavailable should you consider trying to care for the baby yourself. In that situation I hope this guide serves and a sound basis for your journey.

Before we move on to adopting and caring for the orphan you found, you might be able to reunite it with its mother by changing or reversing some human behaviors. Make a temporary leaf nest in the gutter and give the mother time to reclaim her young.

You can also fill a bucket or large basin with warm water if you don’t want to take it inside or into the central living area of the house. If a male squirrel does not start urinating at least a little amount within a couple of minutes, check for a swollen penis. If this is the case, soak the lower part of the squirrel‘s body in warm water for about 20 minutes to soften the scab.

If the baby has been alone for a significant amount of time, the urine might be more brown than clear, showing its degree of dehydration. If you suspect broken bones, find deep lacerations, or unable to stimulate urination, call a veterinarian for help. Just as a cat scratch or bite can irritate your skin, feline germs and bacteria can be toxic to small animals .

To help the squirrel drink, place it upright in a sitting or position or as if it were standing on its hind legs. It might also be helpful to use cotton gloves when handling the squirrel and to avoid washing them unless they become soiled with waste material. Clean the baby‘s face and neck with a wet, warm cloth after every drinking period as the salt and sugar water can leave a sticky residue.

Feeding a baby squirrel the wrong thing could cause diarrhea and dehydration or, worse, send their body into shock. Look for the powdered version and then slowly introduce the solution to the baby squirrel‘s system in the following stages. Warm your mixture to room temperature to make it palatable to the baby squirrel and to avoid chilling it.

If the baby‘s stomach seems bloated, soak its lower body in warm water for half an hour and massage its abdomen. You can continue with the puppy milk according to the age and breed guidelines above, but consider thickening it with whipping cream or plain yogurt to add fat content. At six weeks, add unsalted sunflower seeds and raw fruit, such as apple slices, grapes, and banana.

Lay blankets or old towels in the bottom of the box and place it in a dark, quiet room over a heating pad or next to a heater. The chips will be too rough the baby squirrel‘s skin, too aromatic for its lungs, and will not provide enough insulation to keep it warm. To help them teethe and to begin introducing solid food into their diet, place a few pieces of rodent block in their box.

Choose rodent block made for mice and rats rather than hamsters and gerbils to match the squirrel‘s needs more closely. If the holes in the pet carrier or cage are large enough for the squirrel to squeeze through, cover the panels with a smaller material, such as bird netting, chicken wire, or old window screens. Add a hanging water bottle to the side of the habitat and give the squirrel a mineral stone for small mammals.

Bring them back inside or close the garage at dusk to keep them safe from lurking predators. Once they have fur as physical protection against abrasions, you can place sticks, bark, woodchips, leaves, nuts, pinecones, grass clippings, sod, dirt, or feathers in the box.

About This Article

If you’re raising a baby squirrel, get a small box and punch air holes in the lid. Then, find some soft fabric and make a donut-shaped nest inside the box. Put a heating pad or electric blanket on a low-medium setting underneath the box, since baby squirrels need warmth but can’t generate their own heat. To feed your squirrel, get Pedialyte and oral syringes from the store. If you can’t get Pedialyte, make a sugar-salt-water mixture instead. Then feed your baby squirrel every 2 hours until it’s 2 weeks old, then every 3 hours until its eyes are open. For more from our Veterinary reviewer on raising a baby squirrel, including how to wean it and start it on solid foods, keep reading!