Baby gray squirrels are usually weaned at 10 weeks of age, until then, their chances of survival are best if they have their mother to care for them. Unfortunately, it’s not the case for all newborn baby squirrels. Sometimes accidents lead to the separation of these kits from their mother, what if you find one such pup?Most of us have found a baby squirrel some time or the other, fallen out of their nest. Sometimes keeping them safe in the same location is the best idea, as their mom may find them and take them back to the safety of their nest. But, what if that doesn’t happen? We if we are left with a baby squirrel to care for.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on all such probabilities and answering all your doubts about caring for a squirrel.
Maybe you have found one such kit or someone you know is left with a baby squirrel to care for and here you are, looking for answers. And of course, we are here to help you with it. You can see baby grey squirrel.
About Newborn Baby Squirrels
So the first and the best thing to try is to leave the newborn baby squirrel where it is found and keep an eye on it (of course, only if it is not injured, as an injured pup would need immediate veterinary assistance).
To reunite the newborn squirrel with its mother you must first know ‘what does a baby squirrel look like?’
So What Does a Baby Squirrel Look Like?
Baby squirrels are extremely tiny and can many a time be confused with a mouse or other similar looking rodent infants. So if you keep a baby and wait for the squirrel mom to come and pick it up, you gotta be sure it’s their baby and not an entirely different species.
Squirrel babies have a short and thin coat or if they are way too young, they may not have any fur at all (imagine Rachel’s sphynx cat from F.R.I.E.N.D.S). Their tail isn’t bushy like the adult squirrels, instead, it is thin and barely has any fur.
Their eyes may be closed or open depending on how young they are. Their nails are turned inwards. Here’s a description of their looks corresponding to their age to give you an idea about the age of the squirrel baby that you found:
- Newborn squirrels are hairless and pink.
- Squirrels between the age of 1 to 2 weeks have grayish pink skin and eyes that are not open.
- At 3 to 4 weeks of age, their eyes have a small slit-like opening, eyes begin to open slightly and grayish fur can now be seen to be growing.
- At 4 to 6 weeks, they have a straightened out tail, their eyes are open by this time and you may even notice their front teeth.
- A 7 to 11-week old squirrel can sit on its own and resembles an adult.
This approximate guide to judge the age must help you decide how old is the squirrel that you’ve found.
If it’s less than 5 to 6 weeks of age, it’s best to try and reunite it with its mom.
Handle the baby gray squirrel as little as possible, do not try to feed the pup right when you find them. You need to keep the pup warm while they are under observation for 4 to 6 hours.
You can keep the squirrel pup warm by keeping them in a cardboard box and placing warm rice-filled socks around them. You can warm the rice in a pan or a microwave before stuffing the socks with it. Hot water bags wrapped in a towel can also be used to keep them warm.
Keep the box where you found the squirrel, or under the nearest tree to where you found the newborn squirrel, as that’s possibly where its nest is. keep making sure that they stay warm. If the pup is old enough to climb, you may even encourage them to climb the tree or else just leave the box near the tree.
Note: Make sure you keep the baby warm or the mother would reject them.
Observe for 4 to 6 hours during the daylight. If the newborn squirrel baby is not picked up in the given period by its mother, take it in the house. You can provide them continuous warmth by placing the box containing them under a 100W bulb.
How to Feed a Baby Squirrel?
Soak a cotton ball in water and carefully place it close to their mouth, be careful not to let the water enter their nostrils. Wait until they voluntarily suck on the cotton and drink from it.
For feeding them, you can also use a hypodermic syringe without a needle. Wet squirrel food or cerelac (if squirrel food isn’t available). It can be fed using these small syringes.
Feed the pup every 2 hours and make sure you’re feeding them warm food, as at this age the baby cannot regulate its body temperature. Baby squirrels need warm food, so make sure it isn’t hot by testing it on your hand before you feed them.
Babies under 5 weeks of age are unable to pee or poop voluntarily so you have to provide them with a stimulus using a Q tip or wet cotton by massaging over their genitals. Make Sure you do it gently and keep an eye out for abnormal faeces.
After 5 weeks of age, they can be fed with small pieces of nuts or fruits. You can mix health supplements to aid their growth.
As they grow up, you can increase the size of their living space. You can replace the box with a proper hutch designed for squirrels. You can add small branches for them to nibble on as they start teething.
Now you can either have them as a pet even after 10 weeks of age or release them back where you found them, if they find their mom it’s the best possible thing. There are many rehabilitation centers working for orphaned wild animals that may be able to help you with their rehabilitation.
If you decide to keep them as your pet, make sure you are well researched as wild animals have very specific requirements to stay healthy and flourish. If the care and management are not done right, you may end up doing more harm than good.
In Case the Squirrel Baby You Found Is Injured!
The first thing you do after you find a baby gray squirrel is check for injuries.
Injuries can be seen in the form of bleeding, lacerations, broken bone, etc. See if the baby squirrel is laden with any parasitic larvae or fly eggs. If they are crying or whining non-stop, it means they are in pain or discomfort. All the above mentioned conditions will require you to take them to a vet.
If they are healthy, continue by keeping them warm and doing things mentioned previously in this blog.
What If the Squirrel You Found Is Above 10 Weeks of Age?
Check if the squirrel has fur all over the body, a fluffed out tail and a length of 6” from head to the base of the tail. Do not include the tail length). If the answer to all three considerations is a yes, it’s a juvenile squirrel above or between 10 and 12 weeks of age.
Such pups are independent and do not need human intervention unless they are injured. Also, if you are handling a big squirrel, make sure you wear gloves, as they may bite.
NOTE: If there are small children or pets in the house, keep the infant squirrel or the injured squirrel out of their reach.
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