What to Feed Baby Squirrels In Your Backyard

What to Feed Baby Squirrels In Your Backyard

What can I feed the baby squirrels I find in my yard? Squirrels will eat just about any vegetables they find but if they are babies then they are more safe options to consider for them. Squirrels really love food whether small or big and unlike baby rabbits that are fragile and need to be fed carefully, squirrels are more of wild animals and they are not picky eaters either.

However, there are basic steps required to feed them if they are less than 6 weeks old.

If you find a baby squirrel in your yard, for some reason you might feel obligated to feed them. While feeding a mama squirrel is easy, feeding the babies require more care. They need the right essential nutrients to help them grow faster and healthier.

Squirrels can bond easily and depend on you if you feed them but it might be a good idea to try to reunite them with their mother. If the mother squirrel is still in the area then she is likely to come back for them and if she doesn’t then you are going to need to feed them.

Baby squirrels are excitable creatures hence you need to handle them with care. If reuniting baby squirrels with their mama doesn’t work, this article contains what and how to feed them.

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Rehydrating Squirrels

Squirrels’ common problem is dehydration so you need to give them some water first. Most baby squirrels need to feel comfortable with water first before eating so first you need to get Pedialyte or mix half spoon of sugar and salt into cups of water to feed them.

If the squirrel is too weak then you really need to feed it water first and safety and water are part of their first survival needs. If your baby squirrel doesn’t want to drink, below is what to do.

  • Place them upright in a sitting or put it in a position that seems as if it’s standing on its hind legs as you don’t want to give it liquid while it’s lying back
  • Warm the Pedialyte or salt and sugar water to room temperature
  • Be calm and patient, don’t rush, and make sure you are in a quiet environment
  • Mount a blanket around it or hold it in your hands especially if the baby is wiggly then administer the liquid slowly using a syringe
  • If the baby squirrel drinks too fast, it might choke or allow fluid to enter the nasal area. If liquid start coming out of its nose, turn it upside down and let the liquid flow out entirely from the nose
  • After the drinking process, wipe down the squirrel’s face and neck with a wet warm cloth for comfort.

What to Feed Baby Squirrels In Your Backyard

First, you need to keep the baby squirrels in your yard away from predators. Baby squirrels need care fr about three months and after that, you can let them go.

Baby squirrels are easier to care for compared to baby rabbits. To feed baby squirrels found in your yard, you need to check for injuries first and if they are injured, call for the animal veterinarian or an experienced wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.

Make sure it is placed in a warm area, it won’t digest any food if it’s cold. A warm bath can help heat the baby and when it drops again, place it in s box with a blanket bed and put the bed on a heating pad or next to a heater. If there is more than one baby squirrel then place them next to each other for comfort.

How and the amount you feed a baby squirrel depends on its age and species. Adult squirrels are likely to feed on anything but baby squirrels have a sensitive stomach. Below are ways you can feed them as they grow.

What to feed baby squirrels in your backyard
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  • Less than 4 weeks: Mix one part powdered milk with three parts Pedialyte or salt and sugar water
  • Week 4 to week 7: Continue with the formula or mix two parts puppy milk with two parts liquid
  • Week 7 to week 9: Can still be fed formula and you can start to introduce squirrel foods like squirrel complete which is high in protein pellets and is mixed with healthy nuts.
  • Week 9 to 10: Still need formula so feed twice a day and introduce more solid to help maintain healthy bones and get calcium
  • Week 10 to 12: Your squirrels are able to eat healthy solid foods by now so you can feed them with nuts, fruits, and healthy treats. You can also continue to offer formula until it tires itself out.

Keep in mind that a squirrel needs a mother’s milk first to survive as it contains what it needs for a stronger immune system.

How do I check for dehydration?

To test for dehydration in baby squirrels, pinch the skin of the back of its neck and if it doesn’t spring back then the baby squirrel is dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration you can watch out for include pale gums, dry skin, lack of appetite, lethargy, and looking wrinkly and thin. You will need to first feed it some Pedialyte and feed it within the next 6 hours.

Do squirrels carry diseases?

Squirrels are known to carry many diseases but very few are known to be contagious or harmful to humans. Diseases that can be transmitted to humans through bites include ringworms, plagues, tularemia, and typhus. Hence never attempt to touch an adult squirrel as they are often stressed and can bite or scratch as a reaction.

In Conclusion

If it is a newborn squirrel then it’s best to reunite them with its mother. As soon as the baby survives the formula feeding stage then you can introduce it to solid foods however it is healthier not to feed it junk. Baby squirrels need to be given hydrating solution every 2 hours and keep in mind that squirrels are not pets.

A baby squirrel will bond to you just like any other pest but you should not expect a baby squirrel to become a permanent house pet as they love the outdoor activities.

Read next: What to Feed Baby Rabbits In Your Backyard

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