How to Tell If a Baby Squirrel Is Dying

How to Tell If a Baby Squirrel Is Dying: Key Signs and Steps

Learning how to tell if a baby squirrel is dying can help save a life. This guide walks you through the process, ensuring you find signs early enough to intervene. However, remember that contacting a wildlife rehabilitation expert should be your first step if you ever find a baby squirrel in distress.

How can you identify a dying baby squirrel?

Several characteristics indicate that a baby squirrel is dying. In the wild, an ill baby squirrel is often abandoned by its mother squirrel because it cannot keep up. So, if you happen to find a baby squirrel alone, there’s a chance it may be ill or dying.

Signs to look for in a dying squirrel

Visibly, a dying baby squirrel may be lethargic, moving sluggishly or not at all. Its breathing rate drops and is often labored. If the baby squirrel’s genitals are noticeably red and swollen, it could be a clue to illness. Lastly, if a baby squirrel is cold to the touch, especially around its tail and feet, it is likely dying, as ill baby squirrels are often cold.

Behavioral indicators of a dying baby squirrel

Baby squirrels may exhibit abnormal behavior when they are unwell. For instance, they might remain isolated, appear confused, or seem unresponsive to external stimuli. These changes can indicate that a squirrel is ill or permanently injured.

Physical appearance of unhealthy vs. healthy baby squirrel

Spotting the difference between a healthy and a dying squirrel is crucial. A healthy baby squirrel is active, alert, and warm. On the contrary, an ill baby squirrel may appear weak and lethargic. In worst cases, the baby squirrel may play dead.

What are typical signs of dehydration in baby squirrels?

A common cause of illness in baby squirrels is dehydration. Knowing the signs could potentially save a baby squirrel’s life.

Telltale symptoms that a baby squirrel is dehydrated

Dehydration in squirrels manifests similar to humans. You’ll notice dry mouth and eyes, sunken eyes, and a loss of skin elasticity (the skin doesn’t quickly snap back if you pinch it). A sluggish or lethargic demeanor is also commonly noted.

Understanding the dangers of a dehydrated baby squirrel

If you come across a baby squirrel that is suffering from dehydration, it’s important to act quickly. Dehydration can lead to organ failure, severe malnutrition, and eventual death if left untreated.

How dehydration can lead to a baby squirrel’s death

Dehydration is dangerous for baby squirrels; the lack of water disrupts their body’s normal functions. When these functions are compromised, it leads to deterioration of the animal’s condition and eventual death.

Can squirrels play dead?

Interestingly, when facing threats or severe stress, squirrels, like many other animals, can play dead.

Understanding the behavior of “playing dead”

Playing dead can be a defense strategy for squirrels. However, the practice is often temporary. If you observe a ‘play dead’ behavior for an extended period, it may indicate that the squirrel is ill or even dying.

The difference between a sleeping and dying squirrel

A baby squirrel may appear dead while sleeping. But, a closer look will reveal a slow and steady breathing pattern which is characteristic of sleep. If the squirrel’s breathing rate drops dramatically or ceases, it could mean the baby is unwell or dying.

When should you consider a baby squirrel needs help?

If a squirrel shows any symptoms of illness, dehydration, or injury, you should assume it needs help.

What are some ways to help a dying baby squirrel?

If you discover a baby squirrel that is dying, before the wildlife rehabilitation team arrives, you can perform a few basic first aid methods to help keep the baby squirrel alive.

How to rehydrate a baby squirrel safely

When dehydrated, gradually hydrate it using a carefully measured amount of a hydration solution like Pedialyte. Avoid cow milk as it can be harmful, and never put anything in a baby squirrel’s mouth when it is cold or unconscious.

Professional care options for ill baby squirrels

When a baby squirrel is unwell, taking it to a professional wildlife care center or contacting a wildlife rehabilitation expert can give it the best chance of survival. Never attempt to take care of a baby squirrel at home without expert guidance.

Ways to keep a sick squirrel warm

Ill baby squirrels often struggle to maintain their body temperature. To keep him warm, place him in a small box lined with a clean blanket, with a ziplock bag filled with warm water for added warmth. Do not use heating pads as they can cause burns.

What are some common squirrel diseases to be aware of?

Just like every wild animal, baby squirrels are susceptible to various diseases. Recognizing the signs of these diseases early can greatly increase the baby’s chance of survival.

Symptoms and effects of squirrel pox

Squirrel pox is a common disease you need to be aware of. Symptoms include swelling and lesions on the squirrel’s face, limbs, and body. This illness can quickly become fatal for baby squirrels, so immediate wildlife rehabilitator intervention is crucial.

Identifying an ill baby squirrel: common diseases

Aside from squirrel pox, baby squirrels can also suffer from parasites, malnutrition, and various bacterial or fungal infections. Respiratory diseases are also common, with signs such as labored breathing, coughing, and nasal discharge.

Treatment options for a sick baby squirrel

As always, the best option is to swiftly get the ill baby squirrel to a professional. However, keep the baby squirrel warm and see if it will take some hydration solution while you wait for the experts.


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