How to Prepare Whole Milk and Heavy Whipped Cream to Feed a Baby Squirrel
If a baby squirrel becomes separated from its mother, it will need a consistent food and heat source. Here are some tips:
Providing a constant heat source
The best way to provide a constant heat source for whole milk and whipped cream to a baby squirrel is to keep it warm. If possible, set a coffee mug in a larger container of hot water. Place a small cloth over the mug to prevent it from overheating. Ensure that the container is clean before adding the baby squirrel’s food.
During the first few days, the baby squirrel will develop its own body temperature. It is important to provide a warm environment for it, even if it is only a few degrees lower than the temperature inside the nest. The baby squirrel should be held gently and warmly with a soft cloth. It is vital to maintain the baby squirrel’s body temperature, as the mother will not be able to detect it if it is too hot or too cold.
Providing a constant food source
Providing a constant food source for naive baby squirrels is a good idea, but only if you live in an area without a rehabber. You can warm the baby squirrel safely by placing it next to you on a low heating pad or by using a medical hot pack. Place a towel between the squirrel and the heating pad to prevent any burns or injury. You can also warm the baby squirrel while transporting it to the rehabber. Pinching the skin indicates dehydration, but it is not a reliable indication if the baby is hairless or emaciated. Always keep a supply of Fox Valley Electro-Stat Powdered Electrolyte handy when administering this treatment.
If your baby squirrel is unable to urinate on its own, this might be a sign of dehydration. Brown or non-formed stools are signs of dehydration. If your baby squirrel does not have a clear stool, the baby squirrel may be dehydrated and may need electrolyte rehydration formula. If your baby squirrel does not pee or has diarrhea, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
Rehydrating a baby squirrel
Rehydrating a baby squirrel with whole-milk-and-heavy-whipped-cream formula should be administered as soon as possible. Warm water will help the squirrel regain body fluids, but it’s also important to provide some warmth. Warm water in the form of Pedialyte is essential for rehydration. Also, baby squirrels should be kept in warm rooms for as long as possible to maintain a stable core temperature.
First, assess the injured squirrel. If it’s only a few days old, the squirrel may be in need of medical attention. Make sure you evaluate the squirrel in a room with good light and sound. Apply some heat and a heating device underneath the squirrel. Once the squirrel is warm, offer infant rehydration fluids by syringe. Be careful not to squirt liquid directly into its throat or lungs.
Getting the mother to return to her babies
This method of getting the mother to return to her babies is used when the baby has been separated from its mom for more than 24 hours. The baby must be held by the mother until the first feeding. After that, the baby is on its own. It takes approximately two hours for the baby to feel full. In the first feeding, the mother should hold the baby over her until the next meal.
Keeping a baby squirrel warm by creating a make-shift nest
To keep a baby squirrel warm, first prepare a small box or large Tupperware container with air holes. Then, put the squirrel into it. Do not place a heat source directly on top of the baby; it can snag its toes, limbs, or ankles on the towel. If you do not have any supplies to keep the baby squirrel warm, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or vet. You can also keep the box nearby the original nesting location.
The temperature of the environment should be about 96 degrees F to keep the baby squirrel comfortable. If you feed it, the temperature will drop too much and the squirrel might die. You need to make sure the baby squirrel is warm before you attempt to provide warm bedding. If possible, use bedding that is one to one and a half inches thick. The ideal body temperature for a baby squirrel is 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getting a flying squirrel to reunite with its mother
Often, a flying squirrel will seek out the comfort of its mother after a long absence. Feeding the baby whole milk and heavy whipped cream can help the animal feel loved and secure. When the baby is ready for feeding, it will start to look for its mother and gape open wide. Feeding it from your hand can also help stimulate the baby to pee.
When bringing home a baby flying squirrel, make sure you place it in a quiet room so that it doesn’t feel threatened. Use a washcloth to simulate the feel of a mother licking the baby. You can also place toys in the cage to stimulate play. This method is best for a single orphaned squirrel that’s just learning to trust humans.
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.