HOW TO RESCUE & CARE FOR AN ORPHANED BABY SQUIRREL

Mar 25, 2021 Priyanka Mehar

How to Rescue & Care

A baby squirrel (kit/kitten) has the best chance of survival when it’s cared for by its mother.

(#Remember to wear gloves at all times while handling #wildlife or other animals).

What was the condition of the baby squirrel when you found it?

  • Was it bleeding/having an open wound/broken bone?
  • Was it in a cat or dog's mouth?
  • Was it covered in maggots, fly eggs (rice grain like moving caterpillars)?
  • Was it cold, wet, crying non-stop (with a high-pitched whistle)?

If yes, the kit is likely to be injured/orphaned and needs immediate veterinary attention. Call the nearest animal welfare/rehabilitation centre/take it to the nearest vet!

If no, or if uninjured, it must have fallen down from the nest. In that case, attempt to determine age to decide if rescuing is needed.

• Hairless & pink: 5 days old (newborn)

• Greyish-pink skin, eyes closed: 1-2 weeks old

• Grey fur noticeable, eyes slit & ears slightly open : 3-4 weeks

• Eyes open & front teeth visible, tail straightened out: 5-6weeks

• Begins to sit upright: 6-7 weeks old

• Almost adult looking, active: 7-10 weeks

If the baby has 6-inch body excluding a fluffy tail, then it's a juvenile squirrel. Just scare it away from humans and pets.

2. Attempt to reunite with its Mom if the baby is less than 5-6 weeks, it's an INFANT squirrel you need to guide the kit back to its mother:

STEP 1: Take a box/cardboard container & put a towel/warm cloth/broken or abandoned squirrel nest inside. Keep it warm by microwaving a sock full of rice only for 20-30 secs (every 2 hours) near the kit.

STEP 2: If the baby's eyes are open, encourage it to climb the tree. If it doesn't climb or the eyes are closed, attach the container to the tree.

Watch the baby for 6-8 hours of daylight (reheat the rice sock every 2 hours).

If the mom doesn't return, in addition to the previous steps, find a safe place to keep the kit. Place a 100W bulb one and a half feet above the cardboard box/a cage.

• Make sure the kit is warm enough & hydrated.

• Dip a cotton ball in water & bring it near its mouth until it sucks on it (be careful).

• For feeding, use a syringe without the needle.

• Use baby food like Cerelac & mix as per the box instructions.

• Feed every 2 hrs for quantity acc. to age. Please see : https://henryspets.com/3-howto-feed-a-baby-squirrel/

• Make sure that the formula is very warm. Kits will starve to death if the formula isn't warm enough. Check it on your wrist first.

• A kit less than 5 weeks of age needs stimulation to poop and pee. So wet a cotton ball, Q-tip & gently flick it across the genital area before/after feeding it.

• Keep an eye for bloating/diarrhoea.

• Give nuts, fruits from 5-6 weeks onwards.

• Keep the container clean.

• Mix multi-vitamins in the food once a week.

• Keep something to chew and climb on in the cage; when it has growing teeth (5-6 weeks)

Soft release: Let it roam freely outside at about 7-8 weeks & keep the space open for it to come back.

Hard Release: Release it in a park/tree near which it was found at the age of 10 weeks.

If mom returns, congratulations! You have saved/rescued a baby squirrel successfully!

 

 

 

Priyanka Mehar: She is an MBA student majoring in psychology, currently interning with STRAW India. She is euphoric about saving animals and giving them a better & safer place to live. Rescue is a lifestyle choice for her.

Resources: http://rehabbersden.org/index.php/36-pages/pricing-table/simple/261-hand-rearing-and-rehabilitation-of-orphaned-palm-squirrels-funambulus-sp-revised-contd

 

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Stray Relief and Animal Welfare (STRAW) India is a registered nonprofit /non-government organization and its focus is summed up in its motto, Animal Welfare through Education. It promotes empathy and compassion for all living beings and care for the environment by educating young people through its humane education programs and workshops.

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