Raising orphaned Eastern Grey Squirrelsposted by mumsy4141 on Monday March 19th 9:58pm
- comfortable "nest", in a small cage, (for babies)
- suitable large cage and nest box (for weanlings)
- warmth and safety
- proper formula
- syringe/eye dropper for feeding
- lots of attention and love
Causes: unsterilized feeding utensils, spoiled formula, improper fomula;
overfeeding will cause yellow mushy stools at first—cut back immediately on amount fed at ech feeding! Injuriesfalls, running into sharp objects, attack by other animals (domestic cat is greatest danger) Cuterebra ("bot fly") Larvaeeggs laid on squirrel by large black "bot" fly; larvae hatch and burrow into animal, living under skin. May cause abcess infectoins and large open wounds; severe debilitation and death of mother and starvation of their babies.
Treatment: capture squirrel and manually remove larvae; irrigation of wounds for several days; antibiotic ointment into abcesses. Need oral antibiotics, or in worst cases, injected antibiotics. Rabies and TetanusIt is very unlikely for squirrels to have rabies. While raising squirrels one will undoubtedly be bitten; this is normal. Make certain you are immunized for tetanus as this is a danger from squirrel bites once they have been released (because of soil in their mouths from burying nuts). After eyes openFeedingContinue formula (larger amounts but less often); gradually over next weeks increase time to every 3-4 hours; also add mashed banana at this time to diet — once a day. Add dish to cage containing very small amounts of wheat germ, wheat cereal flakes, and Cheerios (unsugared), small pieces of wheat bread, shelled sunflower seeds, peanut butter n bread. When baby is eating these foods well, add small slices of a variety of fruits and vegetables — only add 1 new food each few days — watch for diarrhea; carefully wash all vegetables and fruits to remove poisonous chemicals. Favorites: banana, apple, orange, grape, cantalope, sweet potato, brocoli, spinach, carrot), and shelled raw peanuts and shelled pecan halves. Do not feed any sweetened foods! Later still, begin adding unshelled sunflower seeds; when squirrel can easily shell these, begin giving nuts with shells cracked (pacans, filberts, walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns). Also include a few shelled peanuts (but peanuts are not an adequate food by themselves). Start trying unshelled acorns, peanuts, and almonds until these can easily be chewed through; then pecans, etc. Peanuts are not an adequate diet — be certain to feed a variety of other nuts to avoid serious dietary deficiencies. At this age all squirrels must have a well-cooked, cleaned soup or steak bone in their cage to provide necessary calcium and to grind teeth on. ReleaseNever release a young squirrel until it can quickly and easily crack open its own acorns and other hard-shelled nuts, otherwise it will starve to death! Do not release until it is 5 or 6 months old. When squirrel begins pacing back and forth and trying to chew out of cage, it is time for release. CageAfter babies' eyes are open, put nest box into galvanized ½" wire mesh cage (do not use screen as squirrels will chew through it) with same heat source but leave top off nest box. Provide a small branch for climbing. Initial cage size about 12" × 15" × 24". As babies grow and become more active, provide larger cage (at least 24" × 24" × 48" tall) with wire bottom so droppings fall through onto newspaper. Build wood nest box: about 10" × 10" × 14" with 2½" hole in side; also drill small ventilation holes near top. Top should be hinged for easy access to babies and to clean nest; extend top beyond walls to keep rain out when cage is eventually placed outside (see below). Fill box half full with fuzzy socks or rags. Wire a tree limb full length vertically inside cage for climbing. Place toys such as old sock, tennis ball, cardboard center from toilet paper, strip of old sheet hanging down from top of cage to bottom, etc. Attach watering bottle (available from pet shop) to outside of cage (to prevent being chewed) with spout extending through mesh into cage. When your baby is old enough, start moving its cage outdoors in shade for short periods. It will be frightened, so stay with it. Later, hang cage from tree branch and leave outside. Eventually leave cage door open so squirrel can get out (make door for squirrel small enough so a cat could not get in). Squirrel will probably continue to return to cage for food, water, and to sleep. Make certain cage is located where squirrel cannot be ambushed by a cat or dog when leaving cage. Your baby will be dependent on you for food, water, shelter, comfort, and protection until it can establish its own territory and build a nest. Additional NotesBaby squirrels, when hairless, are very difficult to keep alive. Once eyes open they become very attached, affectionate, active, and playful. They love to be close, sleep in a pocket or under a sweater. They need to have indoor trees (branches) to climb. They love to climb all over the human body. They need toys to play with. Best to have two squirrels as playmates, but never place older squirrels (half grown to adult) together unless they have been raised together. They are very territorial and may kill each other. Even when placing baby squirrels beynd 6 weeks of age together, observe for several hours to be certain they are OK together. A screen porch is a wonderful and safe place to play. Once they are released, they may continue to come back to you for many months for safety, comfort, and food. The goal in raising baby wild orphans is to release them back to the wild where they belong, when they are ready. It is cruel and inhumane to keep an adult wild creature in captivity, and also illegal.
Flying squirrels are basically the same as grey squirrels except that they are strictly nocturnal, and must be allowed to sleep during the day except for feeding.
Gray Squirrel Diet ChartFormula : 1 Part Esbilac Powder, 1 Part Heavy Whipping Cream or Multi-Milk , 2 Parts WaterRemember to introduce the baby to formula by starting with dilute formula and building up to full strength formula. See the section on Initial Stabilization Care. How to feed: Use a 1 cc syringe to feed formula. Wrap the baby in a cloth to keep it warm and secure and hold it in a sitting-up position. Squirrels are good nursers and will quickly adapt to the syringe. A 3 cc syringe may be used for babies that are 6 weeks old or older.Stimulating urine and feces: This should be done for babies whose eyes are closed or just opening. Use a slightly damp cotton ball or tissue to gently stroke the genital area. The baby should urine within a few seconds. Babies may not urinate and produce feces every time but should not go more than 36 hours. Consult AWRC or a veterinarian if this occurs.Self-feeding diet: This diet should be given to squirrels as soon as the eyes have opened. Formula will still be offered as directed in the age and development chart until the squirrel is completely weaned. Also offer a shallow dish of water.90% of diet: Purina Puppy Chow or Hill’s Canine Growth Science Diet (Dry chunks). These may be soaked in water until soft for squirrels that are 4 to 5 weeks old or for those that are having tooth problems.5% of diet: Dime to nickel size pieces of the following fruits/vegetables: sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, squash, broccoli, apples, grapes, melons, pears, plum, etc.5% of diet: Sunflower seeds (squirrels prefer striped sunflower seeds), unsalted nuts such as pecans, acorns, and hickory nuts. Nuts should be cracked until the squirrel reaches 10 weeks of age. ** A few crickets and mealworms should be offered. Squirrels do eat some insects.** Natural foods – These food items should be included in the self-feeding diet as often as possible. Most are seasonally available only.Fungi – i.e. mushrooms Closed Pine ConesTree buds - maple and elm Beech nut BlackberriesInsects - such as beetles, worms Black walnuts Hickory nutsGreens – i.e. dandelion greens Acorns Keeping Babies Wild So They Can Go Back To The WildHundreds of baby gray squirrels are orphaned every year. As babies they are very cute and will respond to their caregiver with affection. They are still wild animals though. Individuals raising orphaned babies must not treat them as pets. A baby squirrel should be raised with at least one other squirrel. This will aid in helping it revert to its true wild nature after being weaned. You must obtain permission from your county game warden to legally possess any wild animal even for a short period of time. Use good hygiene. Wash your hands after handling the babies and cleaning the cage. Wash bedding and dishes separate from your own. Disinfect bedding and dishes using 1 part bleach to 30 parts water. Allow bedding and dishes to soak for at least 15 minutes then rinse. The information in this paper is brief and intended for raising healthy orphans. If problems develop or you have questions, please contact the Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Natural History InformationSquirrels belong to the order Rodentia along with many other familiar species such as the chipmunk, the beaver and the muskrat. The prominent characteristic of rodents is the presence of upper and lower incisors that grow continuously throughout their lifetime. As a result, a rodent must gnaw on hard objects such as nuts or wood to keep their teeth worn down. If this is not done, a condition called malocclusion occurs, in which the teeth grow too long and can grow through the cheek or roof of the mouth. Without treatment, the result is death due to starvationGrey Squirrel Developmental Care ChartEstimated Age Newborn – 1 weeks 1 – 2 weeks 2 – 3 weeks Description No fur, eyes closed. Thin shadow of grey fur. Thin fur all over, eyes (Pinky.) Eyes closed, no fur on closed. belly. (Frosty.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What to feed Formula only. Formula only. Formula only.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Stimulate yes yes yes____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Housing Incubator Incubator Incubator____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Furnishings Place in plastic aquarium Place in plastic aquarium Place in plastic aquarium (with ravel-free bedding) (with ravel-free bedding) (with ravel-free bedding) and keep in the incubator. and keep in the incubator. and keep in the incubatorEstimated Age 3 – 4 weeks 4 – 5 weeks 5 – 6 weeks Description Furry all over, tail thin, Furry, eyes beginning Eyes fully open, can sit eyes closed. Lower to open, upper incisors up. Tail thin and canincisors emerging. emerging. curl. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What to feed Formula only. Formula, self-feeding diet Formula, self-feeding diet, and water when eyes open. water. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Stimulate Yes. Yes No, but check bedding for output.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Housing Incubator Incubator until eyes Mammal Nursery enclosure. open, then Mammal Nursery enclosure. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Furnishings Place in plastic aquarium Once in an enclosure, Same, but no heating pad (with ravel- free bedding) place in plastic aquarium unless it’s a single baby and keep in the incubator. on side with ravel-free bedding. or it is unstable. Put ½ on heating pad on low. Estimated Age 6 – 7 weeks (weaning) 7 – 8 weeks (weaning) 8 – 12 weeks Description Fully furred, tail beginning About half adult size, Close to adult size, good to get bushy. Grasps food, bushy tail, good at climbing skills. Should starting to climb. climbing. be shy and defensive.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What to feed Formula until weaned, Formula until weaned, Self-feeding diet, water.self-feeding diet, water. self-feeding diet, water. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Stimulate No. No. No.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Housing Mammal Nursery enclosure. Mammal Nursery enclosure Sidewalk cage. until weaned, then move to sidewalk cage. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Furnishings Plastic aquarium Once in outside enclosure, Same. Begin scattering (with ravel- free bedding). provide nest box and supplemental foods toProvide branches for branches for climbing. encourage foraging.climbing exercise. We had our Vet check our squirrels and put them on a supplemental vitamin to help boost there growth and released them at 15 weeks in the summer so that they had time to find a home or make a nest