What Do You Feed a Baby Squirrel: A Comprehensive Guide

Feeding a baby squirrel can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of providing the proper care for these adorable creatures. Whether you found an orphaned baby squirrel or are looking to help temporarily for an injured one, this guide will help you navigate the process of feeding, hydrating, and ensuring a healthy transition from milk to solid food.

How to determine the age of a baby squirrel and adjust feeding accordingly

Finding a baby squirrel: Signs you’ve stumbled upon one of these adorable creatures

A baby squirrel, if found, may be hidden, alone, or in a nest with other siblings in distress. If you find a baby squirrel, it’s essential to determine its age to provide the most appropriate care. Keep in mind that young squirrels don’t have their eyes open until around weeks five of age, so finding one with its eyes open indicates the squirrel is at least 5 weeks old.

Estimating the age of a baby squirrel: Weeks old and developmental milestones

Age estimation can be done by examining the squirrel’s physical characteristics. A newborn will be hairless, pink, and have closed eyes, and at three weeks old, fuzz will begin to cover its head and body. By week five, the squirrel’s eyes open, and its coat will start to resemble an adult’s.

Feeding guidelines based on the squirrel’s age

When you know your baby squirrel’s age, you can appropriately prepare a feeding schedule. For squirrels younger than four weeks old, feeding every four hours is recommended. Between four to six weeks, you can start feeding every six hours, and eventually, as your squirrel gets older, you can reduce the frequency.

Choosing the right formula and feeding techniques for a baby squirrel

Milk replacers, puppy milk, and other suitable options for baby squirrels

Never feed a baby squirrel cow’s milk. Instead, use a milk replacer suitable for the baby – such as Esbilac puppy milk. You can easily find Esbilac at pet stores or order it online. A specialized formula is crucial for the baby squirrel’s survival and growth.

Methods for feeding a baby squirrel: Syringe feeding and beyond

The best method for feeding a baby squirrel is through a syringe. This offers more control and allows for smaller increments of food. Make sure to hold the baby in a natural, upright feeding position to avoid aspiration and choking.

How to mix and warm up the right formula for your baby squirrel

To mix the formula, follow the instructions on the milk replacer packaging. You should always warm the mixed formula before feeding the baby squirrel. Place the syringe containing the formula in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, and test the temperature on your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot or too cold.

Proper hydration and monitoring for health issues

Offering water and Pedialyte: When to provide fluids and what products to use

If the baby squirrel shows signs of dehydration, offer water or diluted Pedialyte in a syringe. Provide fluids before feeding the formula, and continue to monitor the squirrel’s hydration levels throughout its care.

Dealing with diarrhea and other digestive concerns: When to take action

Diarrhea can be dangerous for baby squirrels and may indicate an issue with the current feeding regimen. If diarrhea persists, consult a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Do not attempt to treat the issue without professional guidance.

Ensuring your baby squirrel is urinating: How to stimulate and monitor

Baby squirrels need help to urinate and defecate. Before and after each feeding, use a soft cloth or cotton ball to gently rub the genital area in a circular motion for stimulation. Make sure to keep an eye out for any potential issues, such as a lack of urination or feces.

Transitioning from milk to solid food: Meeting the nutritional needs of your baby squirrel

When to introduce solid food: The timeline for weaning baby squirrels

At around six to seven weeks old, begin introducing solid foods to your baby squirrel. They may be hesitant at first, but persistence is key during this weaning process.

Selecting the right types of solid food for your baby squirrel

Ideal solid foods for a baby squirrel include rodent pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts like walnuts or pecans. Introduce one type of food at a time to avoid overwhelming the squirrel and monitor its reaction to each new food item.

Encouraging your baby squirrel to try new foods and build healthy eating habits

To help transition the baby squirrel to solid food, create a stimulating and enticing environment by providing a variety of appropriate foods. Offer the new foods in small quantities, and gradually decrease the amount of milk replacer as the squirrel becomes more accustomed to its new diet.

Overall care for a baby squirrel: After they’ve opened their eyes and beyond

Creating a suitable nest environment for your baby squirrel’s development

Provide a safe, warm, and comfortable nest for your baby squirrel using materials like fleece or a soft cloth. Avoid using hay or straw, as they can be too rough on the squirrel’s skin.

Helping orphaned baby squirrels find surrogate squirrel parents

In some cases, baby squirrels can be “adopted” by surrogate squirrel mothers in the wild. To encourage this adoption process, securely attach an enclosed box to a tree with a baby squirrel in it and monitor whether an adult squirrel takes interest in the baby.

Knowing when it’s time to reunite your baby squirrel with the wild

Reuniting a baby squirrel with the wild is a significant part of its care. Once the squirrel is eating solid food, behaving typically, and can climb and jump, it may be time to gradually reintroduce it to the wild. Seek guidance from a wildlife rehabilitator for the best approach to release.

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