How to Keep a Squirrel Happy and Healthy
The following tips are for people who wish to learn how to keep a squirrel happy and healthy. First, understand what the squirrel eats. Squirrels are foragers and can be fed small amounts of supplementary food such as rodent blocks or chicken. You can also offer your squirrel a treat of hard-boiled eggs, chicken, and occasional treats of high-protein insects such as mealworms or crickets. Ensure that you use only the insects that you raise yourself, and switch up the foods gradually and wait at least a week between feeding them new foods.
A good diet for your pet squirrel or degus may include rodent blocks. However, fresh food should be a main part of the diet, too. Fresh foods, such as bones, are good sources of calcium, which helps your pet’s bones stay strong. Chewing on bones will also help the squirrel wear down its growing incisors and give it calcium. Providing healthy snacks to your pet will help you create a bond with your pet.
Squirrels love to eat a variety of foods, so be sure to offer them plenty of them. Typical foods for squirrels include dried corn, butternut squash, lettuce, broccoli, acorns, and pumpkin seeds. If you want to give your squirrel more variety, try mixing in some nuts and seeds, too. In addition to nuts and seeds, squirrels also love dried corn and butternut squash.
Henry’s Healthy (supplemental) Diet
If you’re looking for a natural food that will keep your squirrel happy and healthy, consider Henry’s Healthy (supplemental) Diet. Its protein blocks are derived from natural sources, and it’s great for older squirrels. The only downside to Henry’s is that it’s a little pricey if you’re rehabbing several squirrels at once. However, you should try it if you’re feeding one squirrel at a time, since the blocks need to be kept frozen. If you’re feeding multiple squirrels, I recommend a supplement like Teklad or Henry’s Healthy Blocks.
If you’re concerned about the health of your squirrel, don’t feed it too much. Squirrels naturally eat insect species as their main source of protein. Providing your squirrel with pellets is a great way to supplement your squirrel’s diet with vitamins and minerals. Similarly, you can buy a supplemental diet for your squirrel that has a low carb content and is soy-free.
Squirrels love nuts, particularly English walnuts, which are a rich source of antioxidants. They can chew through wood and bark easily and have strong teeth. The white walnut is particularly tasty, thanks to its light shell and jagged edges. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you can also offer them acorns. Nuts are a healthy snack for both humans and squirrels, and they will love the added protein and fat.
Nuts can be difficult to find, but luckily for squirrels, they love them! Squirrels usually hold nuts in their tiny paws while eating, making them a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. You can offer your pet a few nuts every day to feed them as a treat. But do remember to put some in a dish for them to gnaw on.
Until your pet squirrel is six to seven weeks old, he or she will need formula every four hours, so it’s important to introduce solid foods gradually. Introduce a small bowl of fresh vegetables and fruits once a day, but make sure you remove any uneaten food after 12 hours. You can also offer your pet hard-boiled eggs and chicken as occasional treats. Once the squirrel has mastered solid food, you can gradually wean it off the formula.
If you’ve been feeding your pet a bottle of formula for about a week, make sure it is scaled milk. Scaled milk is less toxic than commercial puppy formula, which may contain Esibilac, which is not safe for babies. Baby squirrels may also require some stimulation to eliminate. You can do this by dampening a paper towel with warm water and stroking the squirrel’s genitals with a Q-tip.
You can make sure your squirrel is happy and healthy by giving it plenty of exercise. If you can’t give it enough outdoor time, you can install a squirrel-safe play pen or a tall cat tree. A tree is the perfect exercise place for your squirrel, but it should be placed in a place where it can reach out and touch objects. Providing your squirrel with branches and toys is another great way to keep him active and happy.
You can also give your pet squirrel unique toys or make your own exercise devices. A solid plastic wheel in a cage is a great exercise tool for your squirrel, but don’t limit your activities to running on a wheel. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that your squirrel needs to jog or sprint. Squirrels are nocturnal, which means that they are most active during the night. Changes in light schedules may affect their immune system and cause stress. However, squirrels make great pets and bond with your entire family.
It is vital to provide fresh water to your pet at all times. Squirrels love the scent of food and can drown easily in open containers. Also, squirrels are naturally curious, so they will gravitate towards anything sweet. If you want to keep your squirrel happy and healthy, you should avoid allowing your pet to enter your kitchen, as these items can cause serious burns. Glass bottles are preferable to plastic ones. Plastic bottles are also prone to clogging and chewing, so you should purchase a plastic bottle with a plastic chew guard.
If you are unable to find a wildlife rehabber to take care of the animal, you may want to consider adopting the squirrel. While most wildlife rescue organizations prefer to work with wild animals, you can still adopt a squirrel and take care of it yourself. However, remember that squirrels are dangerous animals and should only be handled with care. As long as you can keep them away from small children, you can safely care for your pet 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.