What to feed orphaned baby squirrels
Baby Squirrels | The Wildlife Center of Virginia
Gray squirrels nest twice a year, in late winter and summer. They commonly have litters of three or four pups. Babies' eyes open at four weeks of age and the young are often starting to explore outside the nest at six weeks of age. They are typically weaned and ready to be on their own at 10 weeks of age.
A baby squirrel has the best chance of survival when it is cared for by its mother. Sometimes healthy young squirrels are found on the ground by themselves are not orphans -- they simply need help reuniting with their mothers. Often, mother squirrels will "rescue" their fallen or displaced healthy babies by carrying them by the scruff back to the nest.
Do any of the following apply to the squirrel?
- It is bleeding, has an open wound, or has a broken bone.
- It's been in a cat's or dog's mouth.
- It's covered in fly eggs [these look like small grains of rice].
- It's cold, wet, or crying nonstop.
- If YES, the squirrel is likely injured or orphaned. Take it to the nearest wildlife veterinarian or rehabilitator.
- If NO, the next step is to identify its age to determine if intervention is needed.
Does the squirrel ...
- Have a fluffed-out tail [like a bottle brush]?
- Have a body longer than 6" [not including the tail]?
- Approach humans or pets?
- If YES, this is likely a juvenile squirrel. You do not need to intervene. Even at the young age of 10 to 12 weeks, the squirrel is independent. If the squirrel is approaching humans or pets, try to scare it by making loud noises when it comes near.
- If NO, this is an infant squirrel. You will need to guide the healthy baby back to its mother:
- Place uncooked rice or bird seed in a sock and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Wrap the sock in a soft towel and place it with the baby in an open container [e. g., a box]. Remember, do not give the baby food or water!
- Return the squirrel to its nesting tree -- this should be a tree in the immediate area where the squirrel was found. If you don't know which tree the squirrel's nest is in, or if the nest was destroyed, then choose a tree closest to where the squirrel was found. Squirrel nests can either be in tree cavities, or in "dreys" -- the big balls of dried leaves at the tops of trees.
- If the baby's eyes are open, place the baby on the tree trunk to encourage it to climb. If it does not climb, place the squirrel in the container and attach the open container to the tree. If the baby's eyes are closed, attach the open container to the tree. Keep children, dogs, and cats out of the area. Click here for more ideas on re-nesting containers.
Observe the baby squirrel for the next six to eight hours of daylight. Reheat the rice/birdseed bag every two hours. Has the mother returned to retrieve her baby?
- If YES ... congratulations! You helped reunite a baby with its mother. This is best for the squirrel!
- If NO, take the squirrel to the nearest permitted small mammal rehabilitator.
NOTE: Each animal's nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if the animal has any chance of survival. Cow's milk and human milk replacers will make wild animals sick. Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal in Virginia unless you have a state permit. For information on how you can become a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, contact the Wildlife Center of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, or your state's wildlife agency.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Squirrels are one of the most entertaining animals to watch. They're so playful and active. And baby squirrels are just adorable. If you hear a high-pitched squeaking sound coming from the ground, look around. You might have found a baby squirrel. If you do see one without its mother around and it is in need of assistance, you may be the only person who can save it, but that should be your last resort. Primarily you should leave it alone, and wait for its mother to care for it. If that isn't an option, the second best action is to find a wildlife rehabilitator to care for the squirrel until it can care for itself - more on that later. Only when the first two actions are unavailable should you consider trying to care for the baby yourself. In that situation I hope this guide serves and a sound basis for your journey.
Did you know? A baby squirrel can't take care of itself until it is 12 weeks old!
What Species is the Squirrel?
The two most common species of squirrel that you'll find in the US are Eastern Greys and American Red squirrels. As the names suggest, you can tell them apart by their coloring. Eastern Greys can be black, gray, or brown with golden hues. They are mostly seen in the eastern US and Canada.
American Red squirrels have a reddish-brown hue on their head and back but a white undercoat. They are also smaller than greys. You can see red squirrels east to west, north to south throughout North America.
Both species develop at about the same rate, and you can care for either species in the same manner.
Identify the Baby Squirrel's Age
Unlike other animals at birth, baby squirrels can't do anything on their own. They require intense care as they develop. You can estimate how old the baby squirrel is by matching its appearance and behavior to these descriptions.
- Newborn to 1 week: pink body, no fur, eyes closed, body measures about three inches long (not including the tail), American red squirrels will have a dark stripe down the middle of their snout
- 2 weeks: fur starting to develop on the back but not on the underside, eyes still closed
- 3 weeks: has grown to about 4 inches long (excluding tail), front lower teeth are coming in, eyes still closed
- 4 weeks: body is approximately 5 inches long, fur growing on the underside, eyes open
- 5 weeks: 6 inches long, top front teeth coming in
- 6 weeks: develops back (cheek) teeth, can sit up on its own and hold food in its front paws
- 7-8 weeks: 7-8 inches long, fur has fully grown in, becoming more active
- 8-12 weeks: learning to climb, still smaller than adult squirrels, can be released outdoors if healthy
Baby squirrels need care for about three months. After that, you can continue supporting them by releasing them outside and filling a squirrel feeder for them to use. Place it in an easy-to-reach, easy-to-see location. Providing a squirrel feeder will ensure that they are getting enough nutrition as they learn to forage for their food supply.
How do You Know if a Baby Squirrel is an Orphan?
You might find a baby squirrel alone and feel the need to care for it. Just be sure that the mother is no longer able to care for it herself.
If the baby squirrel is injured or looks dehydrated or malnourished, take it. If it is hurt, the mother will not be able to heal it. Depending on the severity of the injury, you or even a veterinarian might not be able to save it, but human care will be more effective than the little that the mother squirrel can do. If your pet dog, cat, or another predator carried it away from its home, the mother might not be able to find it again anyway.
If it is dehydrated or starving, you can tell that the mother has not been able to care for it. She might have been trapped and removed in another yard, killed by a predator, or died from falling or natural causes.
If, however, the baby appears healthy, leave it where it is until dark. Monitor it from afar as much as you can to keep it safe, but allow time for the mother to return to it. She might be watching you to make sure it's safe for her to return. She might be creating a new nest and need time to finish it before carrying the baby to its new home. She might be in the process of moving the rest of the litter to the nest and will eventually come back for this one. Finally, if the baby fell from the nest due to high winds or a predator attempting to carry it off, it might take her some time to find it and carry it back to safety.
Did you know? A squirrels teeth never stop growing! They have to gnaw and chew on things to keep their teeth from getting too large.
You can help keep the baby squirrel warm by creating a make-shift nest around it. Place bottles full of warm water under a blanket, towel, or old clothing. Surround the baby with warmth, but do not cover it. Placing the baby in a box, even with the lid open, or covering it with cloth, can make it harder for the mother to see. It also might make her more wary of approaching your setup. You can pick up the baby to position it more comfortably and securely in the nest. Unlike, birds, squirrels will not be bothered by the smell of human oils on their babies. They will shy away from the baby if they are chilled, so keeping them warm is the best you can do for them at this point.
If you notice the likely mother come to the baby but then leave again, don't be discouraged. She knows where the baby is, has checked on its health, and has likely gone to forage for food or secure a new nest.
Squirrels are only active during the day, so if the mother has not returned by dark, you can assume that she isn't able to. If she could, she would have. She would not leave the baby on its own, even if a new nest were not ready to receive it. She would come back to check on and feed it at the very least.
Correcting Human Disruptions
Before we move on to adopting and caring for the orphan you found, you might be able to reunite it with its mother by changing or reversing some human behaviors. Construction and landscape projects often disrupt animal habitats. There's nothing wrong with maintaining your property, but you might find a litter of baby squirrels separated from their mother when you do so.
Where did you find the baby squirrel? Was it near a tree you recently cut down? Was it under the porch where you recently applied a new lattice? Was it on your roof?
Squirrels do not always create nests in trees . They will burrow or find a warm corner. Nestling up against a house under a dark porch is quite cozy for a squirrel. A leafy gutter also makes a soft bed. If you've recently cleaned out your gutters or closed off an area with new fencing, consider reversing your steps for a time. Make a temporary leaf nest in the gutter and give the mother time to reclaim her young. Open the fence or latticework. If you cut down a tree, don't chop the wood or remove the brush right away. The mother will see that her chosen location is no longer suitable and will make a new nest elsewhere. Once she's moved the babies to a new home, you can continue with your project.
Adopting a Baby Squirrel for Care
Being afraid of humans is a partly instinctual, partly learned behavior for squirrels. Baby squirrels who can walk but are alone, will often overcome their fear and approach humans. They've even been known to follow people home or climb up a person's leg. It's an interesting, immensely heartwarming phenomenon, but it also shows how desperate the baby is. If they are willing to approach you for possible help, they have apparently been left alone for some time. Although mobile at six weeks old, a squirrel relies upon and stays with its mother until it is about 12 weeks old.
Younger babies cannot even begin to walk or gather food for themselves. Most of the time, the babies that you find will be newborns who haven't yet opened their eyes. Baby squirrels are docile enough that there is little danger of them biting you. They will generally accept you picking them up, handling them, and feeding them. If you have the time, caring for a baby squirrel can be an exceedingly rewarding experience.
Initial Care: Checking for Injuries and Bathing
The first step is to check the baby squirrel for injuries.
1. Using a soft cloth, gently pick up the baby and carry it indoors to a well-lit room with a sink. You can also fill a bucket or large basin with warm water if you don't want to take it inside or into the central living area of the house.
2. Caress the baby's face. It should move its head from side to side. If it doesn't, the baby might have a broken neck or spinal injury.
3. Gently squeeze each paw and the tail. Watch how the baby reacts. It should pull away from the pressure. If it doesn't, or if the movement seems unnatural, it might have a broken leg or tail.
4. Next, mix some dish soap in warm water and bathe the baby. Use a soft washcloth to clean any cuts and brush away debris or parasites. Be sure to wash the nose and face. Clear the nostrils for natural breathing. Using a soft, wet cloth simulates a mother's tongue grooming the baby.
5. Lastly, use a Q-tip to stimulate the baby squirrel's genital area and anus. Doing so is often necessary for baby animals to release waste and would be a regular part of a mother's care. It might take a couple of minutes' worth of stimulation before the baby pees. You will need to keep stimulating the area until it is finished to ensure the baby empties its bladder.
If a male squirrel does not start urinating at least a little amount within a couple of minutes, check for a swollen penis. Baby squirrels suck on any nipple-like appendage and can sometimes cause a brother's penis to swell and scab over. If this is the case, soak the lower part of the squirrel's body in warm water for about 20 minutes to soften the scab. You can then wipe the scab off with the washcloth and allow it to release its urine.
If the baby has been alone for a significant amount of time, the urine might be more brown than clear, showing its degree of dehydration.
If you suspect broken bones, find deep lacerations, or unable to stimulate urination, call a veterinarian for help. Some vet offices see small rodents. Others can direct you to a wildlife specialist who might be able to help. If your cat caught the squirrel, it would need antibiotics to fight off infections received from the cat. Just as a cat scratch or bite can irritate your skin, feline germs and bacteria can be toxic to small animals.
Secondary Care: Warming
The warm bath will have helped heat the baby up. It will drop again, though, as it dries. To keep the baby's core temperature up, place it in a box with a blanket bed. Cover the baby, even its head, and put the box on a heating pad or next to a heater. Check on the baby every 15 minutes. If you found more than one baby squirrel, place them next to each other for comfort and to share body heat. The presence of a littermate will help the squirrel feel safe and relaxed.
You can also hold the baby squirrel cupped between your hands or let it snuggle against your body for warmth.
Rehydration is often more important than food during the first day of care. You can use Pedialyte or mix half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of sugar in two cups of water and feed it to the squirrel with a feeding syringe. Pedialyte is more efficient than the water mixture, so if you can pick some up at the store, do so. Look for the unflavored variety, but if you can't find it, squirrels will generally drink the flavored mixes as well.
A feeding syringe does not have a needle, but an open, cone-shaped top. It is often used to administer oral liquid medications to animals. You can dip the top into the liquid, pull back on the plunger to fill the vial, and then press the plunger forward to drop or squirt the liquid into the squirrel's mouth.
To help the squirrel drink, place it upright in a sitting or position or as if it were standing on its hind legs. You can do this by mounting a blanket or towel around it or holding it in your hand. You don't want to give it liquid lying on its back as it might choke. If the baby squirrel is particularly wiggly, you might need to hold it to keep it still. It might also be helpful to use cotton gloves when handling the squirrel and to avoid washing them unless they become soiled with waste material. The gloves will absorb the squirrel's scent and help it to feel safe and calm.
Administer the liquid slowly. A squirrel that drinks too fast can choke and allow fluid to enter its nasal passages. If the liquid starts coming out of its nose, turn it upside down to let the liquid to drain out entirely through the nose rather than flowing down into its lungs.
You'll want to go slowly at first as the baby squirrel might be too weak to swallow much at a time. It might also be too small to drink very much during one sitting, so continue to offer the liquid about every half hour. After every drinking period or at least once per hour, re-stimulate the squirrel's genitals. When the urine appears light yellow or clear, you can move on to more nutritious foods.
Clean the baby's face and neck with a wet, warm cloth after every drinking period as the salt and sugar water can leave a sticky residue.
What if the Squirrel Won't Drink?
Most animals need to feel safe and comfortable before they can turn their attention to eating or drinking. It's part of their survival instinct. Be safe first; then eat when they can. If your baby squirrel doesn't seem to want to drink, try the following.
- Hold the squirrel upright in hand towel to keep it warm.
- Stimulate its genitals with a wet, warm cloth to see if it needs to urinate before taking more liquid.
- Make sure you are in a quiet environment.
- Dim the lights to simulate a dark and hidden nest.
- Hold it close to your face and whisper to it so that it gets used to your scent and learns that you're not a danger.
- Warm the Pedialyte or salt and sugar water to room temperature.
- Stay calm and patient. Don't try rush or the squirrel will sense your unease.
Once you establish the right mood and bond with the baby squirrel, it will usually take liquid from you without hesitation.
What to Feed a Baby Squirrel
If the baby squirrel has done well with the syringe, you can graduate to a feeding bottle with elongated nipples. You might need to poke holes in these nipples. To do so, just pierce the nipple with a needle or toothpick and then boil the nipple with the needle or toothpick still in the hole. Remove the nipple from the boiling water, let it cool, and then remove the piercing instrument. The hole will be permanently formed.
Adult squirrels aren't too discerning about what they'll eat , but a baby squirrel's digestive system is sensitive. Feeding a baby squirrel the wrong thing could cause diarrhea and dehydration or, worse, send their body into shock. Never feed them human formula, cow's milk, or milk substitutes. If you aren't sure on what baby squirrels eat, the best feeding solution you can buy is puppy milk. Esbilac and similar products are available at veterinary offices and pet food stores. Look for the powdered version and then slowly introduce the solution to the baby squirrel's system in the following stages.
- 1. Mix one part powdered puppy milk in three parts Pedialyte or salt and sugar water.
- 2. Mix two parts puppy milk in two parts liquid.
- 3. Increase to three parts puppy milk to one part rehydration solution.
- 4. Continue with undiluted puppy milk.
Stay at each stage for two feedings and offer the solution every two and a half hours. It would be helpful to wake up once during the night to provide the baby squirrel an additional feeding time. Be sure to follow the directions on the puppy milk packaging so that powder fully dissolves. Warm your mixture to room temperature to make it palatable to the baby squirrel and to avoid chilling it.
The amount that you should feed a baby squirrel during each period will depend on its age and species. Keep in mind that a malnourished squirrel will probably not be able to take a full feeding until it regains its strength.
- Newborns to 1 week: Eastern greys .75cc-1.25cc every 2.5 hours / American reds .5cc every 2.5 hours
- 2 weeks: Greys 2.5-3cc every 3 hours / Reds 1-1.5cc every 3 hours
- 3 weeks: Greys 4-5.5cc every 3 hours / Reds 1.75-2cc every 3 hours
- 4 weeks: Greys 6-9cc every 3.5 hours / Reds 2-2.5cc every 3. 5 hours
- 5 weeks: Greys 10-12cc every 4 hours / Reds 3-4cc every 4 hours
- 6 weeks: Greys 12-14cc every 4 hours / Reds 4-6 cc every 4 hours
- 7 weeks: Greys 14-16cc every 8 hours / Reds 7-8 cc every 8 hours
- 8-12 weeks: Greys 16-18cc every 12 hours / Reds 9-10 cc every 12 hours
Remember that American red squirrels are smaller than Eastern greys and so will need much less food. You will also need to continue stimulating urination and washing the face and neck after each feeding.
Judging Digestive Health
Pay attention to the baby squirrel's stool. When it is dehydrated, the stool might be dark brown or black and will often be quite loose. After it begins digesting the puppy milk, it should turn to yellowish-brown pellets. If the stool appears very pale, add plain water to the mixture to dilute the milk solution.
If the baby's stomach seems bloated, soak its lower body in warm water for half an hour and massage its abdomen. Skip a feeding period and administer only Pedialyte or salt and sugar water. If the bloating does not dissipate within 24 hours, call a veterinarian or wildlife specialist to check for parasites.
Contact Your Local Wildlife Service
After you have done your best to clean, warm, feed, and treat injuries, the next best step is to call your local wildlife authority. Park services often have nature centers where they can house and rehabilitate injured or orphaned animals. The staff and volunteers of a nature center will have the time and resources to best care for your orphaned squirrel. You would also be free to visit and check up on the little one's progress. And a wildlife shelter might already have another baby squirrel with which they can socialize your rescue.
Guidelines for Ongoing Care
If you are committed to caring for the baby squirrel yourself, here are a few essential guidelines to follow.
1. A squirrel is not a pet. You should not approach caring for a baby squirrel expecting it to become a permanent pet. Once it is mobile, it will be mobile. It will either tear around your house like it does the trees outside or it will be miserable while confined to a cage. Without enough area to expend energy, a caged squirrel will become violent. Even raised from birth, a squirrel cannot be domesticated. It is not an indoor animal.
2. A squirrel should be socialized with other squirrels. If you found one orphaned squirrel, there's a chance that the rest of the litter is nearby. Do your best to walk your yard for a couple of days, listening for little squeaks. Raising the squirrel with others will help it learn how to play and behave appropriately. They will watch each other and pick up new skills.
3. A squirrel should not socialize with other pets or people. For the sake of its outdoor survival, a squirrel needs a healthy fear of people and other animals. You will need to feed, bathe, and play with it to help it develop, but do not let others do so. It will recognize you as its “mother” while retaining its cautious attitude toward people who are not you. Keep it in a room by itself so that other people are not likely to pass its cage. Do not let it become familiar and friendly with your dog or cat. If they have a positive relationship with your pet, they might not know to run when they encounter another of the same species outside.
You can continue with the puppy milk according to the age and breed guidelines above, but consider thickening it with whipping cream or plain yogurt to add fat content. If the baby squirrel is very young or if you intend to nurse more baby squirrels, you can order specially made squirrel milk from Fox Valley Animal Nutrition. Some pet stores will carry their products, but they are more of a specialty item, not in demand on most shelves.
It will be tempting to give the squirrel as much milk as it wants, but be careful to follow the guideline. Some animals do not know their limits and will overheat, giving themselves bloated stomachs, diarrhea, or other digestive issues.
Once they are doing well and have reached a certain age, you can also introduce solid food into their diet. You do not need to regulate solid food once the squirrel is doing well. Allow it to eat as much as it wants.
- At three weeks, you can provide rat and mice rodent block for them to chew on.
- At six weeks, add unsalted sunflower seeds and raw fruit, such as apple slices, grapes, and banana.
Creating a Habitat
The “nest” that you make for your squirrel will need to change as it grows.
Stage 1: At first, a baby squirrel isn't very mobile so that a small box will do just fine. Lay blankets or old towels in the bottom of the box and place it in a dark, quiet room over a heating pad or next to a heater. Poke holes in the box for air circulation and close the lid. Recover the baby squirrel after every feeding or handling time.
Make sure that the cloth does not have loose strings or holes in which the baby squirrel could get caught. Wash or change the materials once a day with unscented detergent. Do not use dryer sheets or other scented additives. It's best to let the squirrel's scent permeate the fabric so that it feels safe without distracting smells. Strong odors can also irritate a baby squirrel's sinuses and lungs.
Do not use woodchips like you would in other rodent habitats. The chips will be too rough the baby squirrel's skin, too aromatic for its lungs, and will not provide enough insulation to keep it warm. You can move to woodchips in Stage 3.
When the baby is about three weeks old, they will start developing their lower front teeth. To help them teethe and to begin introducing solid food into their diet, place a few pieces of rodent block in their box. It is a small pellet-shaped food that will provide all the nutrition the squirrel needs. Choose rodent block made for mice and rats rather than hamsters and gerbils to match the squirrel's needs more closely.
Stage 2: When the baby reaches five weeks and its eyes open, it will want to be more mobile. Move it to a larger box, dog carrier, or rodent cage. If the holes in the pet carrier or cage are large enough for the squirrel to squeeze through, cover the panels with a smaller material, such as bird netting, chicken wire, or old window screens.
Add a hanging water bottle to the side of the habitat and give the squirrel a mineral stone for small mammals. The mineral stone is a salty treat they will lick to gain essential minerals, such as calcium and iron.
Stage 3: At eight weeks old, the baby squirrel is very energetic and nearly ready to be released. It will need a large cage. With sturdy wiring that it can't chew through. A large dog crate is the minimum size you will want at this stage.
Lay a tarp under the cage and fill the bottom with cloths or woodchips. Keep in mind that you will still need to change this bedding out every day. You'll also want to add climbing materials, such as tree branches or hanging dowel rods. You can push dowel rods through the holes of the cage and secure them in place by tying the ends together or placing nuts and washers on the ends. You can create a hanging or pedestal nesting box to simulate how they will live outdoors.
Place this cage outside or in an open garage for at least a few hours per day to help them acclimate to outdoor life. Bring them back inside or close the garage at dusk to keep them safe from lurking predators. Continue this pattern for three to four weeks.
As with human children, play is learning. You will need to handle, stimulate, cuddle, and play with the baby squirrel to help it learn how to use its muscles. You will also want to place plenty of “toys” in its box or cage. Squirrels are not picky. They will explore and play with anything, but for their own good, include natural items. Once they have fur as physical protection against abrasions, you can place sticks, bark, woodchips, leaves, nuts, pinecones, grass clippings, sod, dirt, or feathers in the box. When you release them back outside, they will be familiar with these natural items.
At 12 weeks old, your healthy baby squirrel is ready to be released outside. Take the nesting box that you made and nail it in the crook of a tree. Try to do this when it is warm and dry for a couple of days so that you can stock the box with towels for the squirrel to hide or nestle in.
Bring the cage outside and set it door-open next to the tree. Back away and wait for the squirrel to come out. Some squirrels are more adventurous, some more cautious. Eventually, they will leave the cage and, most likely, climb the tree. They will see their nest box and know that they can use it as their new home. Remove the cage and continue monitoring their explorations.
You will want to fill a food and water bowl some distance from their nesting tree. Doing so will ensure that other animals attracted to the food are not immediately made aware of the nesting box as well. You can also use a squirrel feeder to ensure it is getting enough nutrition.
You'll eventually lose track of your squirrel friend, but don't be surprised if it comes to visit you out in the yard once in a while. If it spent three or more weeks with you, it will remember you and know that you are someone to be trusted.
Baby Squirrel Facts
Here is a quick summary of what you've read for easy reference.
- Baby squirrels make a high-pitched squeaking noise.
- Eastern grey squirrels are black, gray, or brown.
- American red squirrels are reddish-brown with a black stripe on their nose.
- Baby squirrels need to be taken care of until they are 12 weeks old.
- They are pink and bald at first.
- Baby squirrels need Pedialyte and puppy milk to grow.
- You can feed a baby squirrel with a bottle and it will bond to you as its “mother.”
- You have to keep baby squirrels warm and massage their genitals to make them pee.
- At three weeks, they start developing teeth.
- At four weeks, they open their eyes.
- At six weeks, baby squirrels can eat seeds, nuts, and fruit.
- At eight weeks, they start learning how to climb.
- Even after you release it, a baby squirrel will know and remember you.
Is it possible to pick up a squirrel in the forest? Is it possible to release baby squirrels that were fed by people into the wild? In the Sverdlovsk region, a mother of many children takes care of orphaned baby squirrels, May 28, 2022 | e1.ru
An unexpected addition to the Elovikov family from Berezovsky: they had two babies at once. These are tiny squirrels that dad found at the edge of the forest. We visited foster parents and learned how troublesome it is to feed red foundlings.
Olga is a mother of many children. She and her husband have three children: two daughters and a son. It turns out that squirrel motherhood is not much different from human. For example, babies need to be bottle fed every two hours. Snack - even at night. Baby food is not suitable for them, but they liked the special milk formula for kittens.
“It's like I'm on maternity leave again, honestly,” says Olga. As long as they live in a box. Here we put a warm bottle of water, it's like a heating pad. They feel like their mother is there. After eating, be sure to massage the tummy so that they go to the toilet regularly.
Milk formula should be at room temperature – not cold, but not hot either
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU0004
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
Baby squirrels sleep sweetly after eating
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
The head of the family picked up the little squirrels. He works at the pumping station of the city Vodokanal, which is located next to the forest. Anton noticed the little ones while walking around the territory.
- He was walking and looking: little squirrels. He looked like that, there was no mother squirrel, so he went. And they follow him - just like kittens. Don't leave them there! I had to take it,” says Olga. - One was very lethargic, now came to life. And the second was immediately active.
The family showed the baby squirrels to specialists. They were told that the babies were about 40 days old. The sex of the animals is not yet known, but so far they have come up with female names: Squirrel and Strelka. In order not to leave the kids unattended, Olga has to take them with her to work.
— I work as a sales manager. When I brought them for the first time, everyone laughed, of course. But it’s impossible to make long intervals between feedings, so you have to take them with you everywhere, says the foster mother of the squirrels.
Children love new pets
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1. RU
Very tame squirrels
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
ShareJust look at the baby!
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
In the evenings, children help babysit the animals. They love their new pets. A real petting zoo on the couch, mom jokes.
“It's very interesting to watch them,” says nine-year-old Katya. - When they sleep, one lies quietly, and the second wakes up and starts climbing on the other. And they puff funny in a dream. Like hedgehogs.
Across the road from the house is a forest where squirrels live. The family planned to release the babies there
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
At first, the family planned to transport them to the forest as soon as the squirrels got stronger, but experts do not advise doing this. Animals fed in captivity, releasing into the wild is like sending them to certain death.
“The squirrel mother brings them up, teaches them how to survive in the wild, how to beware of predators, how to look for food,” says Anna Postovalova, head of the scientific and educational department of the Yekaterinburg Zoo. - And the likelihood that such domestic squirrels will find a secluded place in autumn and winter, cope with all the difficulties, is low.
Yasha the cat does not understand why the box with “food” is hidden from him
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
But he will have to get used to the new tenants
Photo: Dmitry Emelyanov / E1.RU
The Yelovikovs are not against leaving the kids for permanent residence. They have already decided that they will buy a spacious cage. The only problem is to explain to two house cats that new family members live in a cardboard box, and not their potential prey.
We recently published a selection of fluffy tame squirrels that roam the parks of Yekaterinburg and told us what wild animals you can meet in the Urals. Also watch our video about how sleepy hedgehogs attack the Ecopark.
May 22, 2022, 23:40What wild animals can be found in the Urals: a selection of cute (and not so) photos from Yekaterinburg residents
May 22, 2022, 18:27 We collected them in one video (the cutest one)
May 02, 2022, 23:17Ecopark in the Urals is attacked by sleepy hedgehogs. We don't know how they cope with such (!) level of cuteness
April 27, 2022, 05:00Hares, bear cubs and even moose. Ural routes filled with wild animals: video
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How and what to feed / City News / website Moscow904
Few things compare to walking in the park and feeding birds and squirrels. It brings a lot of pleasant experiences for both children and adults. Eating seeds and other treats by birds and squirrels can be photographed or videotaped. However, it must be understood that not all the foods we eat are suitable for all this small fauna. Treats should correspond as much as possible to the natural diet. The following tips will help you properly feed frisky park animals.
When nighttime temperatures drop to minus 10 Celsius and below, birds can lose up to 10 percent of their body weight overnight! In order to maintain their body temperature (and they have it about 40 degrees Celsius) and survive, they need food from the very early morning. However, in winter it is not easy to get to it: natural feeding places are under snowdrifts or under an impenetrable ice crust. And this is where we, the people, should come to the rescue.
In cold weather, birds need to eat often because their metabolism is noticeably faster and their heart beats very fast. Food turns into heat very quickly, since the small size of the body does not hold it well.
Especially dangerous for them is frost after rain, when everything is covered with ice. In such a situation, the bird population can drop to zero in just a few days.
In Moscow, birds can be found near the feeders in parks. Ornithologists suggest that 75 percent of their food should be sunflower seeds. They are high in calories and are an important energy source for small birds.
In winter, birds need high-calorie food - unsalted lard and margarine. Unsalted bacon is eagerly pecked by tits and sparrows.
Animal fat should be given neat if it is solid. If it is soft, then it is better to mix it with other food, preparing the so-called bird pie. Such a “pie” should be hung in nets from under vegetables.
With confidence, wintering birds can be fed unroasted seeds, unpeeled millet grains, oatmeal, grain waste, pre-harvested rowan berries, bread crumbs, white bread, unsalted lard and unsalted fat.
In addition, birds can be given meat, cones, acorns, nuts, dried rowan and hawthorn, millet, oats and wheat.
Black bread can cause death. There is a lot of salt in such bread, which is harmful to the kidneys and liver. Often birds leave part of the food in the crop, where the bread quickly swells and ferments - this is very dangerous for birds.
Rye bread is the most dangerous because more yeast is added to it than to wheat bread.
It must also be borne in mind that pigeons and crows do not need winter feeding. They themselves find enough food in garbage dumps and garbage containers. Moreover, it is even desirable to make it difficult for them to access winter feeding grounds.
When creating feeders of different designs, it is important to consider the following two rules.
1. The feeder must have a roof, otherwise the feed may be covered with snow or rain, making it unsuitable for the birds.
2. The hole in the feeder must be wide enough for the bird to easily enter and leave the feeder.