So many people get confused on what to do if they are left to deal with a constipated squirrel, and here we are with solutions to that.
There are several methods to help this elusive rodent relieve itself of its constipation.
First, you must stimulate its penis. This is usually a small nub just above the anus. If it’s a female, stimulate the area near its anus. Don’t stop stimulating it until it pees. If you don’t, it may not empty its bladder completely.
Below are what you need to do in different situations for young and old squirrels.
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Rehydrate a constipated baby squirrel.
Rehydrate a baby squirrel who is conspicuously dehydrated with a hydration solution. It can be given using a dropper bottle or a syringe. Choose the smallest syringe available to minimize the risk of aspirating the baby.
Also, feed the baby formula in a slow feeding pattern, and monitor the squirrel closely to make sure it is drinking formula.
The best way to rehydrate a baby squirrel who is constipation-prone is to offer the rehydration liquid you’ve prepared yourself. For the first feeding, mix an equal amount of liquid Esbilac with the water and give it to the squirrel. Be sure to keep the mixture lukewarm – never hot!
Another option is to feed the squirrel a homemade formula made from soymilk or cow’s milk, which is not appropriate for wildlife. If your budget is limited, you can even make your own formula using ingredients you can find online.
Feed a constipated baby squirrel with elongated feeding nipples.
If a baby squirrel is constipated, you need to stimulate the bowel and urinary tract of the young animal. You can stimulate this by wiping the abdomen with a warm, damp cloth. It will eventually urinate or pass bowel movement. It may take a while, but the baby should eventually urinate or pass a stool.
If a baby squirrel is feeding a dribble of formula, it will eventually begin gnawing on solid food. This type of food is rich in calcium, which prevents metabolic bone disease. A newborn squirrel is the size of a woman’s thumb.
It has no hair at first, but develops reddish, soft sable fur around its mouth and nose. A grayish-purple shadow forms over its back and shoulders. A bright pink belly and legs will also indicate the presence of bowel movement.
Leave the constipated baby squirrel alone for a grace period.
If your baby squirrel is constipated, leave it alone for a few days and then try again. The problem is likely due to overeating or formula intolerance. When your baby is constipated, try to feed it less frequently but increase the amount of time between feedings.
If you have a baby squirrel that has recently been constipated, you can try the same approach as above. Just be sure to stay out of sight, and don’t place the baby squirrel out of the nest before it gets dark.
In the meantime, you can also stimulate its elimination by brushing or rolling it on its nether regions. You can use a Q-tip or a piece of Kleenex soaked in warm water. This is less irritating to the baby squirrel’s skin.
You must do this several times a day after feeding until it is five weeks old. If you are not sure how to stimulate it, use a Q-tip in a rolling or brushing motion. Repeat this process daily for a few days.
Test for dehydration
If you have a baby squirrel that has recently become constipated, he or she could be suffering from dehydration. Baby squirrels normally get water from their mother’s milk or a formula. When they become dehydrated, they become constipated.
To test if your squirrel is dehydrated, pinch his or her skin and wait a few seconds. If the skin comes back after a few seconds, it is likely dehydrated.
If the squirrel appears to be dehydrated, the first thing to do is to increase his or her blood sugar level. To do this, you can purchase Pedialyte, which is high in fructose. Remember to mix it with water before feeding your squirrel.
Do not use Pedialyte for more than 24 hours. Keeping a supply on hand will help you administer the right amount to your squirrel as quickly as possible.
Rehydrate a constipated baby squirrel with O-ring syringes.
O-ring syringes are a very effective way to rehydrate a baby squirrel who is constipation. Using this device is simple and is available in many animal stores. Simply use the dropper provided to dispense fluid into the squirrel’s mouth. If the squirrel is not comfortable with the procedure, you can use a small bottle.
If you notice that the baby squirrel has gone to the toilet without removing stools, he may be dehydrated. Use an apple juice and water solution or a prune juice and water solution. You can also use a feeding syringe to give the squirrel fluids. Make sure you tip the baby forward as he or she is prone to aspiration.
Rehydrate a constipated baby squirrel with Esbilac
Rehydrate a baby squirrel with liquid Esbilac. Mix half part liquid and half water for the first feeding. For subsequent feedings, use less water. Make sure the mixture is warm and not hot. Avoid using cows, goats, or soymilk. These are all not suitable for squirrels and can be fatal. Esbilac formula is best for constipated baby squirrels.
Before feeding the formula, you need to make sure the dropper doesn’t have any air pockets. Rather, you should drip the fluid onto the squirrel’s tongue and let him or her lap it up. This technique should be done slowly because squirrels have a strong sucking reflex and can suck on the dropper’s tip.
Make sure to use extreme caution when force-feeding a baby squirrel who is constipated. Always keep the squirrel on an upright position when administering the fluid.
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.