How to Take Care of an Abandoned Newborn Squirrel
If you come across an abandoned baby squirrel, you may be wondering how to take care of it. These cute little creatures are typically less than four weeks old. The first few weeks, they have no hair, but then they develop a light hair around the mouth, lower front teeth, and short tail hair. By the time they’re a month old, they are fully furred and have eyes open. The first few weeks are critical because they will need to be kept in a box or cage until they’re at least seven weeks old.
You’ll need a syringe with a dropper to feed an abandoned newborn squirrel. Syringes don’t have needles. They’re cone-shaped, open tops, commonly used to administer oral liquid medications to animals. Dip the syringe’s top into the liquid, pull back on the plunger, and release to release the liquid into the squirrel’s mouth.
When you feed a newborn squirrel, always use a feeding syringe that is small enough to avoid aspirating the infant. If the newborn squirrel is under 5 weeks, it is important not to overfeed it. Fill the syringe slowly, making sure to avoid air pockets. Once the baby has been fed enough, you can switch to feeding it with a bottle.
A male squirrel that refuses to urinate may have a swollen penis. These baby squirrels suck on their nipple-like appendages to gain weight and grow. If the penis is swollen, it can be removed by soaking the squirrel in warm water for 20 minutes. The water will soften the scab, allowing the squirrel to release urine. If the penis is brown, the animal is dehydrated.
Creating a make-shift nest
A new nest can be created with a small plastic container with the lid off and a fleece blanket. You can place warm water bottles in the nest as well as old clothing around the baby. Avoid covering the baby with a cloth or box, as it will make the mother less visible and will make her wary of human touch. Instead, you can pick up the baby and put it in the nest, if possible. Be sure to keep the squirrel’s body temperature normal.
When taking care of an abandoned newborn squirrel, first assess the baby’s condition in a quiet room. Try using a washcloth to mimic a mother licking her baby. If you’re having trouble finding one with holes, you can also buy a Nest Box made of 100% natural cotton fibers. A baby squirrel should spend most of its time indoors. The mother will check on her baby when she comes back.
Stimulating the genital area
Manually stimulating the genital area of an abandoned newborn is necessary for a baby squirrel younger than five weeks old. A wet cloth or towel is rubbed over the genital area of a baby squirrel, simulating the mother’s licking action. The baby squirrel will learn to relieve itself at the appropriate times, usually after a feeding session. If the baby squirrel hasn’t yet had a chance to experience this action from its mother, this procedure will help it learn when it’s time to relieve itself.
If the baby squirrel is still too young to drink, try stimulating it every half an hour. Young squirrels need to drink frequently and may not have the stamina to drink a lot in one sitting. Try to stimulate the genital area once per hour and offer healthy food. You should wait until the baby squirrel’s urine is light yellow and clean before stimulating it. Then, after every feeding period, clean the genital area with a damp cloth. If the baby squirrel doesn’t drink for a long time, it might be time to find another way to stimulate it.
Keeping the baby warm by creating a make-shift nest
Creating a make-shift nest for an abandoned baby squirrel is easy and involves placing it in a box, preferably near the tree or place it came from. Keep in mind that the squirrel is likely cold, so avoid feeding it or giving it water. If you feel the squirrel is cold, play a distress call on a phone and play it near the baby. The noise should not be too loud, though, and should only be played once.
Once the infant has been placed in a safe place, it will need to be moved to a bigger habitat. Using a dog carrier or other rodent cage is a good choice. If you can’t afford a bigger pet carrier, try covering the holes with smaller material, such as bird netting, chicken wire, or an old window screen. Place a small mineral stone in the carrier as well, which will stimulate the baby to use the restroom.
What is the best way to take care of an abandoned newborn squirrel?
The best way to take care of an abandoned newborn squirrel is by taking it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
How can you tell if a squirrel is abandoned?
If the squirrel is not with its mother and is crying it is likely abandoned.
How long can a newborn squirrel survive without its mother?
A newborn squirrel can only survive for a few hours without its mother.
What should you do if you find an abandoned newborn squirrel?
If you find an abandoned newborn squirrel you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible.
What kind of food do squirrels eat?
Squirrels are omnivorous and eat both plant and animal matter.
Their diet consists mostly of nuts seeds fruits and fungi.
What should you not do if you find an abandoned newborn squirrel?
You should not try to care for the squirrel yourself as you could easily injure or even kill it.
The best thing to do is to take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
How can you tell if a squirrel is injured?
If the squirrel is bleeding has a broken bone or cannot move its legs it is likely injured and you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
What is the best way to transport an injured or abandoned squirrel?
The best way to transport an injured or abandoned squirrel is to put it in a box or container with a soft towel or cloth.
Make sure the container has air holes and is big enough for the squirrel to move around in.
What is the best way to catch a squirrel?
The best way to catch a squirrel is to use a live trap.
You can bait the trap with nuts seeds or fruits to lure the squirrel inside.
What should you do if you accidentally trap a squirrel in your live trap?
If you accidentally trap a squirrel in your live trap you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible.
What should you not do if you accidentally trap a squirrel in your live trap?
You should not release the squirrel back into the wild as it could be injured or killed by predators.
The best thing to do is to take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
How can you tell if a squirrel is sick?
If the squirrel is not moving has a runny nose is sneezing or has watery eyes it could be sick and you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
What should you do if you find a sick or injured squirrel?
If you find a sick or injured squirrel you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible.
What is the best way to avoid getting bitten by a squirrel?
The best way to avoid getting bitten by a squirrel is to not try to catch or handle one.
If you must handle a squirrel use gloves and a towel or cloth to avoid getting bitten.
What should you do if you get bitten by a squirrel?
If you get bitten by a squirrel you should wash the wound with soap and water and see a doctor as soon as possible.
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.