How to Handle a Baby Squirrel
If you have found a baby squirrel, you must know how to handle it before it turns into an orphan. First, make sure the baby squirrel is not cold or starved. If it is too cold, the mother squirrel will think it is sick and will not take it back. Also, it is very important to keep an eye on the baby squirrel, as it might be an orphan. The scent of humans won’t deter the mother squirrel from returning to her babies.
Check if baby squirrels are ok
If you’re ever unsure whether or not a baby squirrel is alive, you should always check it out and see if it’s ok. Baby squirrels may fall from the nest and need to be checked for warmth and injuries. The main goal of this activity is to reunite the baby squirrel with its mother. Depending on the species, there may be one to eight babies per litter. The babies usually approach humans and other passersby when they’re in distress.
If the baby squirrel falls from the tree, you can place it in a plastic container with a heat source. If you’re not sure whether it has fallen from the tree, place it under a nearby tree. If you’re not sure what happened to the mother squirrel, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center or wildlife control company. They can safely and effectively rehabilitate the squirrel babies.
Feed a baby squirrel
Depending on how much food you give a baby squirrel, you can wait up to two or three weeks before you attempt to catch one. It is important not to remove the baby squirrel from the nest until it is completely alone. You may also want to consider leaving a small cage outside for the baby squirrel while it develops its natural fear of humans. The longer you wait to catch one, the more likely you are to find a baby squirrel, but this is not necessary.
When is it time to start feeding the baby squirrel? After it is about six weeks old, it is time to introduce solid food. Squirrel Complete, Premium Nut Mix, or sliced fruit is the best way to introduce solid foods to a baby squirrel. A little more than six weeks old, a baby squirrel may start nibbling on unsalted nuts without shells. You can also offer small pieces of vegetables, broccoli, or kale.
Check if mother squirrel is dehydrated or starving
If you notice that your baby squirrel has a scab covering the opening of its privates, it might be experiencing severe dehydration. You can remove this scab by soaking the squirrel in warm water and rubbing it off. If you see a scab covering her privates, you should observe the animal frequently. If she is not peeing at all, she may be dehydrated. If you notice that the baby squirrel has a fever and lack of fluids, you should bring it to the veterinarian immediately.
Before you wait for the mother squirrel to return, you must first make sure that the baby squirrel is actually a baby. A squirrel with a fluffy tail and a longer body is likely to be fine. Babies rarely have visible wounds and tend to fall from their nest, so make sure that the baby squirrel is surrounded by other squirrels. Observe the behavior of your baby squirrel until she returns.
Check if she has a bowel movement
If you suspect that your baby squirrel has become dehydrated, you need to check if the mother has recently had a bowel movement before she returns to her nest. A mother will stimulate her baby to defecate in much the same way that a deer does. The baby will smell like food and have a yellow stain on its private parts. If the mother does not pee, it is best to reduce the amount of formula.
If you think you have detected a bowel movement before your mother returns, she has probably not yet returned. If you notice that she is not returning to her den for a couple of hours, it is likely that she is undergoing a bowel movement. If you observe a bowel movement, contact your veterinarian to get her back on track. The wrong formula can be dangerous and even fatal.
Avoid socializing with a squirrel
While it may be tempting to pet and socialize with a squirrel, the truth is that they are solitary, unpredictable creatures that can become vicious, especially when they are adults. They lack the loyalty and domestic instincts that other animals have. In addition to this, their spatial and dietary needs are unique to them. Adult squirrels are notoriously unpredictable and will not forgive you for mishandling them. They will bite you, even if they feel that you have left them food.
When you catch a baby squirrel, be sure to gently stimulate it to urinate as soon as possible. Mother mammals lick their infants to induce urination and keep them clean. If the infant squirrel isn’t clean, he or she may get diaper rash or urine burns on its tender belly. The baby squirrel’s genitals should also be tickled to stimulate urination until around 6 weeks old.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.