How to Foster an Abandoned Baby Squirrel
If you find an abandoned baby squirrel, the best thing you can do for it is to find a wildlife rehabilitator and have them care for it until it can survive on its own. You should avoid feeding the baby and try to observe the squirrel for six to eight hours of daylight. After that, it’s up to you to find a home for it. Here are some ideas for fostering a baby squirrel:
Reuniting a baby squirrel with its mother is best chance of survival
If you find a baby squirrel, the best thing you can do is reunite it with its mother as quickly as possible. If the mother is not around to see her baby, you should place it in a warm place where it will receive proper care until it can survive on its own. If the mother is nowhere to be found, you can play a video of the baby crying to attract its attention. However, keep your distance and turn off the ringer on your phone while you’re watching the baby squirrel. It may take some time for the mother to move her babies.
Reuniting a baby squirrel with its mom is the best option to help it survive. Remember that the mother will always return to the nest when the young are crying. Disturbing the nest can discourage the mother from coming back. Wildlife control experts are experienced with baby squirrels and will humanely remove and relocate them. In most cases, a mother squirrel will return to her nest after hearing its young.
Keep young squirrels in a cardboard box or carrier
A cardboard box or carrier can be used to keep a baby squirrel. The baby squirrel should be kept out of direct sunlight. It is best to leave the box outdoors for at least two hours until the sun sets. Afterward, bring the baby inside and bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator. Inexperienced wildlife caretakers should not feed the squirrel. Instead, use a dropper filled with ‘Pedialyte’. Cow milk, while tasty, is harmful to a baby squirrel and should be avoided.
A cardboard box will also keep the squirrel warm. Make sure the box is airtight and has ventilation holes. You can also use an undershirt as bedding. Don’t use towels. Squirrel claws can get caught in threads, so keep these items out of the box. Another good bedding material for your young squirrel is a t-shirt. Newspaper can also be used for bedding. If you don’t have a t-shirt or a fleece blanket, use shredded newspaper.
Avoid temptations to feed them
Before you start feeding abandoned baby squirrels, you should first try to assess the situation from a distance. You should find a quiet room where you can avoid any distractions. Next, use a clean washcloth to mimic the mother’s licking motion. Make sure that you don’t touch the baby squirrel while it’s still warm. It is very important that you avoid tempting the baby squirrel to eat.
Providing food to a baby squirrel isn’t the best option. Most squirrels do not want to eat food left out by humans. You must also avoid feeding the animal, because it’s not a good pet. Once they are old enough, they will become quite independent and may bite you if you try to feed them. Therefore, it is best to avoid tempting them by leaving them unattended.
Observe them for six to eight hours of daylight
You may observe abandoned baby squirrels at the bottom of a tree. Young squirrels require constant stimulation to urinate and fecal matter. You can try wiping the infant’s belly with a wet cloth. You should observe the infant for six to eight hours. After you have observed the baby for at least six hours, retrieve it. You can then take it to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator.
When observing an abandoned baby squirrel, it is imperative to observe the condition of the animal as best as possible. If the squirrel appears to have a broken bone, a maggot or fly egg in its mouth, tar paper under the shingles, or moving caterpillars, it may need immediate medical attention. The animal should be handled carefully and with gloves on. Depending on the species, the animal may also need immediate veterinary care.
Avoid temptations to house them with humans
When considering bringing a squirrel into your home as a pet, it is important to understand that this is not an easy task. Baby squirrels are adorable, but they require a lot of attention and care to survive. Squirrels are not natural house pets, and they may bite if they feel threatened. Also, if you plan to keep a squirrel as a pet, you should find out what the state laws are regarding the treatment of wildlife in captivity.
First of all, it is important to remember that squirrels have slow taste buds, and they can choke on slimy offerings or soft fruits. Try to start with a firm vegetable and gradually introduce other types of food to the squirrels. Always avoid giving squirrels unpeeled fruit, frozen food, and cereal, which can be harmful. And always make sure you wash all food before putting it in the habitat.
How do you know if a baby squirrel is abandoned?
If the baby squirrel is alone and seems to have been neglected or if the mother squirrel is dead then the baby squirrel is most likely abandoned.
What do you do if you find an abandoned baby squirrel?
The best thing to do is to contact a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible so that the baby squirrel can receive the care it needs.
How long can a baby squirrel survive without its mother?
A baby squirrel can only survive for a few hours without its mother before it starts to deteriorate.
What does a baby squirrel need to survive?
A baby squirrel needs food water and warmth to survive.
What kind of food do baby squirrels eat?
Baby squirrels eat mostly insects and other invertebrates but they will also eat some fruit and nuts.
How often do baby squirrels need to eat?
Baby squirrels need to eat every few hours in order to survive.
How do you give a baby squirrel food?
You can give a baby squirrel food by using a syringe or an eyedropper to place the food directly into its mouth.
How much food does a baby squirrel need?
A baby squirrel needs about 1/2 teaspoon of food per day.
What kind of water do baby squirrels drink?
Baby squirrels drink mostly water but they will also drink milk if it is available.
How often do baby squirrels need to drink water?
Baby squirrels need to drink water every few hours.
How do you give a baby squirrel water?
You can give a baby squirrel water by using a syringe or an eyedropper to place the water directly into its mouth.
How much water does a baby squirrel need?
A baby squirrel needs about 1/2 teaspoon of water per day.
What kind of warmth do baby squirrels need?
Baby squirrels need a warm environment in order to survive.
How warm does the environment need to be for a baby squirrel?
The environment needs to be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a baby squirrel.
How do you provide warmth for a baby squirrel?
You can provide warmth for a baby squirrel by using a heating pad set on low or by placing the squirrel in a warm environment.
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.