What Do Baby Squirrels Feed On?
Found an orphaned baby squirrel nearby? Not sure how to rear them or concerning their dietary habits? We are here to guide you! Note that these creatures are not usually kept as pets. You can take care of them till they grow a little. For proper growth, correct food and environmental conditions are necessary. Through this post, let’s find out how to feed these babies squirrels. If you want to keep the squirrel around your yard once you release it, then consider building a DIY squirrel feeder for your yard.
Once the baby is warm enough, offer sufficient water. Most of the orphaned babies suffer dehydration to a certain extent. To find out, gently squeeze their skin. If the skin remains like that for a few seconds before coming to the normal position, then they’re dehydrated.
During the first day, it’s essential to re-hydrate them than giving food. Pedialyte would be a great re-hydrating option. These are easily found in local drug stores. Look out for unflavored options. Or else you can go for home rehydration solution. For this, mix 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of water. Give it to the baby using a feeding syringe. Never feed in a hurry as babies need time to digest. Or else there are chances they might become sick or even result in death.
Place them in an upright sitting position or as if they are standing to help them drink. It can be easily done by mounting them using a towel or blanket and holding them. Do not give liquid when lying on its back, as it may choke them. If the baby starts wiggling, you may have to hold it still. Use cotton gloves when handling them to avoid washing them later. The gloves will also absorb the scent from their body and give it a safe feeling.
Give the fluid slowly. If they drink too fast, it may come out of the nasal cavity and result in choking. In case the fluid comes out from the nose, turn the baby squirrel upside down. It will help the liquid to drain out through the nose without entering the lungs. Feed them gradually at first as they are too weak to swallow a lot at once. They can’t drink too much in one sitting. So you may have to keep hydrating them every one hour. After the drinking session, stimulate the genitals and make them pass urine. When the urine is light yellow or colorless, you can turn to a nutritious diet.
Remember to wipe the baby’s face and neck after each hydration using a warm damp cloth. It is to remove any sticky residue due to sugar and saltwater.
After hydration, feed the baby squirrels with formulas like Esbilac. They are commonly seen in pet shops and are the best option available. You can purchase them from the local stores nearby. Esbilac formula is available in both powdered and liquid forms.
For powdered options, mix the one-part powder with 3 parts of water and combine well. Use a strainer to get a thinner version. Slowly increase the liquid concentration by reducing water content. In liquid forms, add some water in the first feed. For subsequent feeds reduce the water quantity. Make sure that the formula is lukewarm and not hot before feeding. Also, remember to feed as per the age and not the size of the creature.
Avoid feeding the babies with cows milk, soy milk, goat milk, or homemade substitutes. It is because these substitutes can cause fatality. Homemade solutions are not reliable and are inappropriate and may cause death. Also, remember not to overfeed the little one. Make sure that the baby has proper bowel movements and urinates on time. Baby squirrels, especially the ones that haven’t open their eyes or opened just now, requires stimulation to urinate and pass stool.
Stimulate the creature gently by rubbing his belly and genital areas using a wet, warm cloth. After stimulation, the baby must pass urine and stool. In case the baby is starving and has not had his meals for long, they won’t pass urine immediately. In case they find difficulty in bowel movements, they might be suffering from constipation, gas, or bloating.
It’s tempting to give the babies as much milk as they require. However, it is advisable to follow the guidelines. Some don’t know how much they can ingest and will overeat, causing diarrhea, bloated belly, and other digestive concerns.
As it reaches a certain age, you can gradually start solid food. You don’t have to regulate the solid diet if the babies are doing well. Let the squrriel eat as much as they want.
- By 3 weeks, you can give blocks of rodents so that they can chew on.
- By 6 weeks, they can have solid food. This includes apples, broccoli, grapes, unsalted sunflower seeds, and sweet potato. Continue feeding milk along with the solid food till they reach 9 – 10 weeks.
- When they start having lots of solid food, cut down the feedings slowly. Ensure that they are gaining weight even after reducing the feedings.
Remember that the amount you feed your baby squirrel varies during every period. It is primarily based on their species and age. Note that malnourished babies won’t be able to ingest a proper full feeding until they have regained their strength.