The 101 of Squirrel Care @ HOME
Most babies are dehydrated when you first find them and must be hydrated before they can be fed... Never feed formula (or food) of any kind to a dehydrated squirrel (it could be fatal).
How to Check for Dehydration:
Pinch the skin on the back of the neck - if skin doesn?t spring back immediately the baby is dehydrated.
Use Pedialyte to rehydrate a baby squirrel - one drop at a time - with a 1 cc o-ring syringe / 24 hr Max!
Always keep a baby squirrel warm while feeding it....... never feed cold formula or liquid to a baby squirrel.
Wrap a small piece of fleece around the squirrels delicate body during feeding and place the squirrel directly back into the bed where its heat source is when you are through with each feeding.
Heat source can be: plastic bottles filled with hot water placed in sock, electric heating pad, heated rice buddy, --do not rely on a baby squirrels to regulate their own body temperature, they cannot.
Proper Squirrel Position
A tiny squirrel should be held upright in your hand. A squirrel with fur on its body can lie on a flat surface on its stomach. A squirrel that can walk can be held upright or can drink sitting up... always hold the syringe so the tip points UP to the squirrels mouth and the syringe points down.
How to Feed Fluids
Place the tip of syringe on the side of the baby's mouth and squeeze out a drop for the squirrel to taste... let him swallow then squeeze another drop, wait a second then squeeze another drop. GO SLOW! --Squeeze. Wait. Squeeze. Wait. It will take a few feedings for the squirrel to learn how this is done.
Amount to Feed: each Squirrels Feeding (formula) is based on weight / 5-7 % of Body Weight
Hairless babies (pinkies) are fed drop by drop - with older babies (once they catch on) being feed slowly for a few seconds, wait for the squirrel to swallow, then squeeze again.... repeat until feeding is done.
DANGER!! Possible Aspiration
If you see fluids coming out of the squirrels mouth or squirting out the nose you are going too fast. STOP!! and immediately tilt the baby’s head down so the fluid drains out / support the babies head and neck like you would a human baby - now wipe the nose and mouth with a tissue.
You can start over with feeding of the formula, but this time go slower and wait longer in between drops of formula... PATIENCE is the KEY.
NOTE: There is now a chance your baby will develop aspiration pneumonia from inhaling fluid into his lungs. This can be fatal. Please contact a rehabber at The Squirrel Board / Squirrel Nation or a local vet ASAP!
NOTE: Never use a puppy nursing bottle to feed a baby squirrel with (air/gas/bloat/death).
NOTE: Never feed kitten formula or household milk, even when scalded, to a squirrel.
1. Warm the Baby (never feed a cold squirrel)
2. Place in tissue or shoe box w/ pieces of fleece
3. Rehydrate the Baby (feed pedialyte first 12 hours)
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp salt (teaspoon)
1.5 tbsp sugar (tablespoon)
4. Feed slowly with a 1cc syringe - head UP tail DOWN (drop by drop)
5. Keep warm at all time - fill bottle with hot water (cover bottle with sock) - or heating pad, low.
1. Infant GasX (1 drop per hr) 2. Warm Water Soak-Rub Tummy 3. Hold Formula - Push Pedialyte
*Fox Valley Formula - 20/50 (squirrels: 4 weeks & older)
**Esbilac - must include Probiotics (or) do not use
**(found at most pet stores)
Need Small Egg Whisk to Mix Formula & hot water
*Homemade GM Recipe - until you get formula
1cc (pinkies) & (baby squirrels)
3cc or 5cc (larger squirrels)
Miracle Nipple (large, mini & regular)
Silicone Mothering Nipples
4. Heat Source
Rice Buddy (fill sock w/ 1 c rice microwave 40 sec) - (repeat 2 hrs)
Medium Plastic Tub with Lid (keep in for best heat containment)
ten weeks after eyes open you can move the squirrel to a safe and age appropriate cage
You will need to do the transition gradually...
OF - Old Formula / NF - New Formula
Day 1-2 ... 75% OF to 25% NF
Day 3-4 ... 50% OF to 50% NF
Day 5-6 ... 25% OF to 75% NF
Day 7 ...... Full NF - New Formula
Please go slow as not to upset the squirrels stomach
using a ratio mix of 2:1 (2 part water - 1 part formula) 3:1 can be use if to thick