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
The most important factor in a young squirrel’s diet is CALCIUM. Lack of calcium can lead to a host of problems, including paralysis and seizures. It can also be fatal. This is one of the reasons rehabbers do not like to wean their babies too soon: milk = calcium. Supplements, e.g. Zolcal-d, can also be used.
Rodent mineral blocks are good, but please check for the ingredients – too much phosphorus will stop the squirrel absorbing the calcium.
A good natural source of calcium is a piece of deer antler (sold by pet shops).
Farley’s rusks (contain the all-important calcium), pine nuts, pecan nuts, avocado, kale.
A variety of fruit and vegetables, as well as a selection of nuts – but NOT PEANUTS, which hamper the absorption of calcium; perhaps an occasional digestive as a treat.
Twigs and buds are always appreciated, as well as acorns, chestnuts and rosehips. But be sensitive of depriving wild squirrels of their food supply!
The quantity, obviously, depends on the individual squirrel. As a very rough guide (per squirrel per day): 7-8 nuts, a handful of fruit and veg pieces.
Needless to say, fresh water must always be accessible. Rodent water bottles are very convenient and accepted by squirrels if introduced early.
Examples of fruit and veg.
Butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach, kale (great in the macaroni cheese you make for yourself too!), sugar snap peas, green beans, carrot, radish, avocado, strawberry, melon, sweet pepper, blueberries, apple, chestnut mushroom, baby corn, broccoli, coconut or coconut oil as a supplement, etc, etc.
Other things in the cages.
Squirrels’ teeth grow all the time, and they must gnaw to keep them in shape. Nuts in shells are important for this, as well as rodent blocks, deer antlers and natural wood – twigs and branches from your garden and the park (apple trees, oak and maple especially). Watch out for pesticides though.