How to Care For a Dropped Baby Squirrel
If your pet squirrel is debilitated or emaciated, you may wonder how to care for it. Here are some tips for feeding and weaning a squirrel off formula. You can also seek advice from a wildlife rehabilitator. You should keep your pet squirrel in a warm room, with more space to play and exercise. For this purpose, you can use a large dog-size pet carrier with soft bedding, a hanging water bottle and food. The wire door of your dog carrier may have a mesh that is too big; therefore, you can cover it with window screening. You should gradually remove the squirrel baby from its carrier and change its bedding daily.
Care of a debilitated or emaciated baby squirrel
It is always best to seek the help of a Wildlife Rehabilitator if you see a debilitated or emasculated baby squirrel. Not only is improper care cruel, but it can even lead to the death of the animal. This information is meant for people who cannot reach a rehabber in time. However, you should keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
To begin caring for the infant, it’s important to give it a warm bath and clean its nose and mouth. A soft washcloth or a Q-tip is ideal for this task. Place the box in a dark room with a heating pad and a lid to keep the air out. Keep in mind that the squirrel will need a clean place to sleep after every feeding.
Feeding a baby squirrel
If you have a dropped baby squirrel at home, the best thing to do is to gently pick it up and put it in a plastic tub with soft fleece or shredded newspaper inside. Place the tub in a quiet, warm place. Place the heating pad half way down the tub. The squirrel should be kept warm by providing extra fluids. When it is warm enough, feed the squirrel a plain hydration formula. It should be warm enough to drink at 98 degrees.
If you find the baby in the evening, it is best to leave it outside until morning. However, if the baby is found in the evening, bring it inside the next day to keep it warm and quiet. Avoid feeding the baby or providing water. After the baby has recovered from the cold, put it back out in the morning. You can also keep an eye on the baby to make sure it is not dehydrated or in danger.
Weaning a baby squirrel off formula
You can wean a dropped baby squirrel off formula in the same way that you would a human. First, give the baby some healthy food. You should not give a squirrel nut as its first food. Instead, try giving the baby a handful of vegetables. Once it gets used to the food, you can start introducing a few nuts and small pieces of fruit. The baby squirrel will let you know when it’s done with formula by peeing on it.
You can try placing a box near the tree or area where the baby dropped from. You can make sure the box is secure so the mother squirrel can get in easily. If the baby squirrel is cold, it needs heat. You can place a hot water bottle near it or cover it with a sock. Just remember to test the water temperature first. If the baby squirrel’s eyes are closed, the bottle should be warm enough.
Getting advice from a wildlife rehabilitator
Often, the animal finder will need to provide some information to a wildlife rehabilitator in order to receive the best advice. This information will include the time and place of finding the animal, whether the animal was being held for several days or immediately brought to the rehabilitator’s office. The rehabilitator should be aware of the location of the animal as well as nearby habitats, the age of the animal, and the cause of its arrival.
The first step in caring for a dropped baby squirrel is to get the baby indoors and out of harsh weather conditions. The baby should be kept in the warmest room possible to prevent it from developing a bacterial infection or severe skin damage. A wildlife rehabilitator will also help determine whether the child will be able to eat on its own or will need to be given medication to overcome illness. The baby must remain healthy in order to be reuniting with its mother or foster home.
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.