Squirrel Wildlife Rehabilitation


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Feeding Baby Squirrel With Eyes Open



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ATTENTION The information contained on this web page is not designed to take the place of a wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian BUT is designed to give you some guidance in what you can do to help the squirrel(s) you have found until you can reach a rehabilitator. If it is an injured adult, please take PRECAUTIONS so that you do not get bitten.

Once the squirrels eyes have opened, you will still continue to feed them their formula, Rodent Block, Zu/Preem Primate Dry monkey biscuits (which can be ordered from Jeffers, 1-800-533-3377 - Item number NA-D4 for 20 pound bag, cost $31.99, which is subject to change) or (Arcata Pet Supplies, phone number 1-800-822-9085, item number 800, 1 pound bag, cost $3.89). It may take them a few days to get use to them, you may even help them hold it and let them eat. Another trick is to put a few pieces in the box with them before their eyes open and they can get use to the smell and may even start gnawing on it. Please try to use the Rodent Bloc or Zu/Preem Primate Dry monkey biscuits for the babies because if they do not get the proper diet Metabolic Bone Disease can occur, as well as other medical problems that will not be reversible once the damage is done. It is closer to what they really need nutritionally. Rodent Bloc should be stored in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag once it has been opened. The Zu/Preem Primate Dry monkey biscuits can just be stored in the bag and kept closed.

Once they are eating the Rodent Bloc and/or Zu/Preem Primate Dry monkey biscuits real well, you may introduce sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower one at a time. By that I mean start them say on sweet potato and after 24 hours if they have eaten it and do not have diahrrea, you may add another selection. When they are eating that pretty good, you may start to introduce any of the following foods, one at a time. If the squirrel gets diahrrea after introducing the new food, do not give it to him anymore and when it is cleared up, you may try another food. Then you may re-introduce the other food later. The food list is as follows: (this is not a complete list, there may be other foods)


Shelled Pecans, corn on the cob, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, grains, pine cones, branches containing lichen, shelled walnuts, berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.), seedless grapes, small apple wedges (small enough for them to hold in their hands and in very limited amounts as they can cause diarrhea), spinach leaves, acorns, broccoli, califlower, pecans, chestnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hickory nuts.

If you should notice any diarrhea or bloating, cut back on the vegetables and fruits. Do not be in a hurry to wean these squirrels. Calcium deficiencies happen too often in wildlife raised by humans. In the wild a mother squirrel nurses her babies for months.

As the squirrels get older and their teeth get stronger, introduce unshelled nuts, dry puppy dog food (Science Diet or Purina puppy chow) and sunflower seeds. Also twigs from non-poisonous trees (oak, dogwood, maple, tulip poplar) that have leaves or buds on them may be used. You may also try dog biscuits.

Once the squirrels are eating a variety of foods on their own, you can continue to offer the formula in a hanging bottle or small dish. The hanging bottle works best if you can get them trained to use it. You will have to work with them to get them use to the hanging bottle by holding it and trying to teach them to lick the end of the bottle, they will not just pick it up on their own. It is best try this inbetween feedings when they are not so hungry. If you go this route, make sure you change out the formula every 2 hours as it will spoil.

Do not let the squirrel drink to the point of getting bloated. You have to watch them carefully and not let them get it in their nose and all over them. It is a good idea to watch them closely the first few days while they are learning so they do not overeat. If, they do not get the hang of it, go back to hand feeding and try again when they are a little older.


At this point, when they are eating solid foods on their own and are drinking on their own, you can cut out the night time feeding if they are getting enough during the day. I will continue to offer the formula to them as long as they will take it, but as they get older it is offered inbetween as a filler and not as their main diet as their main diet should be solid foods by the time they 7-8 weeks of age depending on the species and on the individual squirrel.


What They Should Live In

As the squirrels start to get older and move around a lot, they will need to be moved into bigger housing. A cage now becomes necessary. Squirrels have to have plenty of room to climb and play or they will develop physical problems such as paralysis. It is best to use 1/2 inch welded hardware cloth for this. You can use rabbit cage clips to put the cage together. The assembly with the rabbit clips will be easier if you use the rabbit clip pliers that you can purchase where you get the clips, take my word for it. They are worth every penny you pay for them.

An indoor cage should be at least 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep and at least 3 feet tall depending on the number of squirrels. If you have more than 2, the cage should be bigger. BUT keep in mind that the cage has to go out of the doorways of your house. So be sure to measure before cutting the wire. Place thick branches at different levels in the cage and secure them. I use screws and washers to secure the branches so they do not fall in the babies while they are playing. Also provide a sleeping box in the cage that has their blankets in it that has their scent on it. You can use newspaper (as long as the ink is soy based) in the bottom of the cage. This will have to be changed at least daily, if not more often. Use your imagination when you design the cage. Leave room at the top and fix it so that the box can be moved to the top of the cage when the squirrels get a little older and are good at climbing. You can secure the box in by wiring it from the outside of the cage and balancing it on a couple of branches. This will make the cage easier to clean out.

Squirrels can suffer from a vitamin D deficiency if they are not exposed to sunlight for period of time. This will result in the loss of hair. Do not confuse this with mange, which is caused by a small mite on the skin. Mange needs to be treated by a veterinarian.


Release Of Squirrels

Never release a squirrel that has not gotten use to being outside. An outdoor cage must be made from 1/2 inch welded hardware cloth. The cage needs to be as large as possible (4 x 6 x 6) is preferred and designed using 2 x 4 posts to make the frame. Make sure that it is predator proof. The inside should be designed similar to the cage you designed for the squirrel to live in the house, but should have lots of branches and limbs for climbing on. A nest box (like the one on Squirrel Nesting Box Instructions) should be built and placed in the upper side of the cage under a cover to protect it from the rain. I use plywood to cover 1/2 of my outdoor cage and place the squirrel box under this side. The squirrels should be ready to go into this cage at about 10 weeks of age.

Once the squirrels are ready to be released, check the area you are going to release them in to make sure there is an ample supply of water and food and plenty of trees. Also make sure there are no dogs or cats.

After 2 to 3 weeks when the squirrels have had a chance to get use to being outside and they are big enough to out run most of the bullies, you may open the cage door and let them go. Most squirrels will come back to the box at night. Make sure you close the door up after dark to make sure all of them that are going to return have done so. This will prevent any predator from getting in there after dark and disturbing them. But remember you have to be out there to open the door before dawn so they can get back out for the day. Most squirrels will continue to come back to the box for a week or so. You have to remember that they do not know how to build a nest yet and will have to learn and therefore do not have a nest to go to at night like other squirrels. Also, you should continue to supply food and water for several weeks.


Feeding An Infant Eastern Grey Squirrel With Eyes Closed
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Squirrel Rehab Pages
{Locate A Wildlife Rehabilitator} {Is This Squirrel Orphaned?} {Stabilization} {Frequently Asked Questions}
{Results Of Improper Diet} {Metabolic Bone Disease} {Squirrel Fibroma}

Other Wildlife Pages
{What's in that Milk Replacer You Are Using for Squirrels?}
A Guide to Ingredients and Their Effects on Growth by Sarah Rowe

{My Opossum Page} {Squirrel/Bird Feeders} {Build A Squirrel Nesting Box} {Rehabilitation Permits}
{Suet Recipe} {Wildlife Links} {Wildlife Article} {Squirrel Wildlife Home Page}

Wildlife Photo Pages
{Southern Flying Squirrel} {Eastern Grey Squirrel} {Black Squirrel} {Northern Flying Squirrel}
{Inside A Squirrel Nest} {Euro Red Squirrel} {Weekly Squirrel Photos} {Squirrelys}
{Baby Pictures Index Page} {Stan Westfall Nature Photos}

Other Pages
{Jigsaw Puzzles/Other Fun Games} {Squirrel Greeting Cards} {Squirrel Screen Saver}
{Nonda Surratt Memorial} {Pams Graphics}


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