How Often Do You Bottle Feed a Baby Squirrel?
If you’ve decided to keep a baby squirrel, you may be wondering how often to bottle feed it. Baby squirrels are notoriously fast suckers, and they can consume a lot of formula in a short period of time. If you notice your baby squirrel sucking too much, you should immediately stop the feeding and lower its head to let the excess formula escape. Once the formula has drained from the squirrel’s nose, wipe away any remaining liquid. Wait until the baby squirrel’s breathing returns to normal and then resume feeding. If the baby squirrel has fluid in its lungs, it could die immediately or develop pneumonia on a longer basis.
Keeping a baby squirrel in a cage
If you have a new baby squirrel, you will need to find a reputable Wildlife Rehabilitator immediately. Not only does not caring for a baby animal properly result in death, but it can also cause your new friend additional trauma. This information will help you care for your baby squirrel safely. However, keep in mind that the information contained here should never be shared with children or pets.
A squirrel baby needs a warm, moist place to live. A box near a tree or area where mother squirrels normally live can provide a warm place for the baby. If you have a bottle with hot water, place it near the baby squirrel, covering the opening with a sock or towel. Always check the temperature of the water before feeding a baby squirrel.
If you have ever attempted to bottle feed a baby squirrel, you probably remember the need to have a syringe available. But a homemade formula can be prepared without a syringe, making it easier to prepare the right amount of fluid for a squirrel. One important thing to remember when using a dropper is that the fluid should be dripped on the squirrel’s tongue rather than sucked on by the tip. A squirrel’s natural sucking reflex may lead to a rash or other symptoms, and it is best to avoid letting it drink too much at once.
First, you should warm the squirrel’s environment by placing the squirrel on a low heating pad or a medical hot pack. Place a towel between the squirrel and the heating pad. Make sure the container is at least half-filled. Otherwise, the squirrel could get too warm and die. Once warmed, you can begin bottle feeding the squirrel. If you use a homemade formula, you can mix it with a plain hydration formula, such as Oxy-Clean, and administer it as described below.
If you want to avoid overfeeding your squirrel, follow these simple rules: never feed your baby more than 5% of his body weight. You can use a small gram scale to determine how much you should feed your baby. You should avoid overfeeding your squirrel, as overfeeding can cause life-threatening diarrhea and make it easy prey for predators. Feeding your squirrel less frequently than this will encourage him to eat more food.
First, you should know the amount of formula your squirrel should consume. When your squirrel is three to four weeks, he or she will need about six to eight cc of formula every four hours. At five to six weeks, you should feed your baby squirrel once per day with six to eight cc of formula. Lastly, you should give him or her some vegetables, but don’t feed him corn! Sweet potatoes and corn are not healthy for squirrels.
When to introduce solid food to a baby squirrel
If your baby squirrel is a bottle feeder, you need to introduce solid food to him or her after several weeks of bottle feeding. Introduce solid food to a squirrel only after the animal is comfortable eating it. Start by letting it nibble on a rodent block made of rat and mouse droppings. After three weeks, you can offer unsalted sunflower seeds or raw fruit. By six weeks, your squirrel should be able to chew on a small piece of raw fruit.
Once your baby squirrel has developed his lower front teeth, it is time to introduce him to solid food. The best way to introduce solid food is to feed him rodent block, a pellet-shaped treat that helps him teethe. Choose a food made for mice instead of gerbils. Make sure your baby squirrel is fully furred before you introduce him to rodent block. It should be able to hold the end of the syringe with his forepaws.
How often do you need to bottle feed a baby squirrel?
Every 3-4 hours
What kind of milk do you need to feed a baby squirrel?
You can use goat’s milk cow’s milk or a milk replacer specifically made for squirrels.
How much milk should you give a baby squirrel per feeding?
Around 5-10 cc per feeding.
How many feedings a day does a baby squirrel need?
4-6 times a day
What do you need to do before each feeding?
Warm up the milk to body temperature.
How do you know if the milk is the right temperature?
Test it on your wrist- it should feel neither hot nor cold.
What kind of bottle should you use?
A syringe or tiny baby bottle with a small soft nipple.
What should you do if the baby doesn’t want to eat?
Try offering the food at a different temperature or mixing it with a little honey.
How can you tell if a baby squirrel is dehydrated?
Check for sunken eyes dry mouth and wrinkled skin.
How can you rehydrate a dehydrated baby squirrel?
With an electrolyte solution like pedialyte.
What are some signs that a baby squirrel is ill?
If it has diarrhea is vomiting has a runny nose or is acting lethargic.
What should you do if you think the baby is ill?
Take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible.
What should you do if the baby won’t poop?
Gently stimulate the anus with a cotton swab or soft cloth.
What kind of bedding should you use for a baby squirrel?
Something soft like a cloth or paper towel.
Where should you keep the baby squirrel?
In a small box or cage lined with the soft bedding.
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.