How to Handle a Baby Squirrel
When you bring a baby squirrel home, be sure to return it to a safe environment with food and water sources. These little mammals are still too young to survive on their own, and they’re easy prey for predators. The first week is critical, as you need to ensure that the baby squirrel can access food and water and is comfortable with its surroundings. After this, you can introduce it to new places and teach it how to navigate its new home.
Avoid treating a baby squirrel like a pet
If you are thinking about adopting a squirrel as a pet, it’s important to follow certain guidelines to ensure the welfare of your new friend. First, release the baby squirrel in the spring or summer. Never release a baby squirrel in the fall or winter. The best time to release a baby squirrel is after four or six months of age. Until then, it should be monitored by a veterinarian to determine if it has diarrhea.
While it’s tempting to feed the squirrel baby formula, keep in mind that it needs more fat than protein. If you’re trying to feed a baby squirrel, be sure to purchase a syringe with a Wonder Nipple attachment. A squirrel baby can’t handle cold food, so you can’t just squirt it with a syringe.
Avoid giving it junk food
While it may seem tempting to provide a baby squirrel with a bowl of junk food, you should never feed your pet this kind of junk food. Even if the food seems to be nutritious, squirrels will not eat it on the first day. Instead, you should make sure to clear out any leftover food from your home. Even if your squirrel refuses to eat, it will not starve to death, but it will be miserable without proper nutrition.
When you see a baby squirrel on the ground, do not panic! You can still provide it with food! Corn is a staple food that is safe for baby squirrels. You can feed it straight from the ground, or you can place it on a feeder and let it eat from it. Corn on the cob is not recommended for baby squirrels, as its teeth are still developing. But remember that squirrels love corn on the cob.
Avoid playing with it
While it’s tempting to cuddle a new baby squirrel, you should be careful. These tiny creatures may have internal parasites that could harm you. To prevent such an accident, keep the baby squirrel out of the vicinity of your house, and never try to feed it. Even if you find one in your garden, never play with it. In most cases, it will die. Here’s how you can help it get over its parasites.
First of all, don’t play with a baby squirrel! Squirrel babies are prone to harming humans. That’s why a mother squirrel will constantly watch her baby, and will not leave it alone for even a second. In addition, she’ll likely leave the baby alone in the nest for a while, so don’t assume that she’s going to leave the little one unattended.
Avoid euthanizing it
If you come across a baby squirrel in your yard, do not attempt to kill it. Instead, try to find out if it is a female with baby squirrels. Baby squirrels cannot survive on their own and should be returned to their family. If this is not possible, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center to help locate the family. If all else fails, call animal control and ask for the help of a wildlife rehab center.
The mother will always look after the baby squirrel and keep it warm. However, sometimes she will fall from her nest and leave it without its mother. The mother will normally return and collect it once it is well enough. If you find a baby squirrel that has fallen from its nest, do not attempt to raise it yourself. You should wear gloves and contact a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible. Remember to contact the animal’s mother if the baby squirrel is injured or sick.
Keep track of it
How to keep track of a baby squirrel is a question many of us wonder about. The answer may surprise you. Baby squirrels cling to their mothers for a long time. While they begin to wean after 8 weeks, they remain fully dependent on their mother until they are about 12 weeks old. Even the baby squirrel with open eyes is still totally dependent on its mother, so you’ll want to monitor it carefully to make sure it’s okay.
The first step is to assess the baby squirrel. It can be injured, so assess it in a quiet room. Try to use a soft cloth to pick it up. The washcloth should mimic the motions of a mother licking a baby. Make sure to avoid using towels or cardboard boxes, as they may get caught in the nails of the squirrel. If you see an injured squirrel, clean it immediately by using blue Dawn soap. You can also try using Instant Shampoo, a no-rinse formula. It loosens dirt, dissolves oil, and deodorizes squirrel skin. Once the squirrel is clean, check him or her for parasites, and try stimulating his or her genital area with a Q-tip. Many helpful videos can be found on YouTube that can show you how to keep track of a baby squirrel.
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.