Baby squirrel care sheet

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY: IT SHOULD NOT BE READ AS ENCOURAGEMENT TO HAND-REAR BABY SQUIRRELS WITHOUT A LICENCE OR WITHOUT PROPER TRAINING

BABY SQUIRREL CARE SHEET


FOOD
Esbilac, the type with prebiotics and probiotics added.

FEEDING EQUIPMENT
1ml, later (from about 5-6 weeks) 2.5ml or 3 ml and 5ml syringes, small Catac teats (or similar).

FEEDING FREQUENCY
Birth to open eyes – every 4 hours, including overnight.
Open eyes to weaning – every 4 hours, 5 feeds a day, not overnight.

FEEDING AMOUNT
Birth to 1 week – 3% of body weight,
1 week to open eyes – 4% of body weight, can slowly build up to 5%,
Open eyes to weaning – 5% of body weight, can slowly build up to 7%.

WEANING
Slowly from about 7 weeks till about 10 weeks; drop one feed every few days and make sure that the squirrel continues to gain weight from the solid food. Good weaning foods are Farley’s rusks, pine nuts, avocado. Never peanuts!

FEEDING PROBLEMS

1.Inhaling the milk – this is very dangerous, a squirrel can die or get pneumonia; the younger the squirrel, the more the danger.

Please note that squirrels can suck too hard, you (and not the squirrel) need to regulate the flow of the milk. Make it very slow and use a 1ml syringe until you get more confident. Practise dripping water from the syringe into a cup first, to get used to the action – it should not squirt or gush. Watch the baby as you feed, make sure you see her swallow before you allow any more milk into the mouth.2

2. Not eating.
Check that the milk is warm – not too hot or too cold.

Check the position you hold the squirrel in – never on her back. She should be either upright or on all fours; experiment to see what your squirrel likes.

Wrap the squirrel in a cloth and cover the face a bit to give her some feeding “privacy” – this is especially important for older babies.

Check that the squirrel does not need to go to the toilet.

3. Overeating.
You will know because the poo becomes lighter-coloured and soft. It is not good to over-load the digestive system like that, reduce the amount you feed.

4. Bloating.
When the tummy feels round and hard. Either over-feeing, or insufficient toileting, or parasites.

TOILETING
Should be done after every feed, stroke (but do not put pressure) on the lower tummy with tissue or cotton wool until you get results. Independent from about 6 weeks. Normal squirrel poo is in mustard-coloured pellets while they are on milk.

ACCOMMODATION
Birth to 5 weeks – a small pet-carrier, blanket inside, blanket on top of the squirrels, on heat. The squirrel should always feel pleasantly warm to the touch.
5 to 8 weeks – bigger cage, but not a high one, in case the squirrels fall. Gradually reduce the heat. Blanket or nest, water, solid food, low things to climb on, things to chew. From this age squirrels shouldn’t be kept on their own, but in groups of 2 or 3.
8 to 12 weeks – big cage the squirrels can practise their climbing in. Leave the window in the room open to acclimatize them to outside temperatures. Nest, water, solid food, blanket or similar on the bottom to “dig” into, perches, things to chew.
12 weeks to release – big outside aviary with a nest box and plenty of natural objects to climb on and to chew.

SOME HEALTH PROBLEMS – TALK TO EXPERIENCED REHABBERS AND/OR TAKE TO THE VET (no information sheet is complete without this section, but do not be discouraged – in actual fact, baby grey squirrels are strong animals who do their best to cooperate with your effort to save them).

  1. Pneumonia (rapid breathing, a clicking sound in the chest).
  2. Bloat that is painful or that is not helped by toileting more and feeding less.
  3. Any external injury that you can see.
  4. Paralysis, or partial paralysis.
  5. Fitting – do not ignore it, it can kill.
  6. Hair loss.

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