FAQ Squirrels and More Frequently asked questions So often during the peak of the rehab season our phones are ringing non-stop and we try to get to all the calls but sometimes it just seems impossible to get back to everyone. Therefore “Chris” has developed this page with hopes that you will find many of you questions answered here. Some of the answers are lengthy due to the different calls and situations that we encounter over time. We will add this section of our site as new questions arise that will hopefully be helpful when you are trying to help the animals in your care. Items in the FYI that are items you may need to have on hand have been highlighted with a link, if you click on the link it will take you to the item on our site. Sincerely, Chris Clark Owner of “Chris’s Squirrels and More, LLC”
1) I found a baby squirrel, now what?
We cover a lot of this area in a special area on our site intended for initial help when finding an orphaned baby squirrel. Please follow this link to go to that section or you can also find it on the bottom center of our homepage. http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/i-found-a-baby-squirrel/
2) Does Chris's Squirrels and More sell pet squirrels?
Absolutely not! Nor do we recommend anyone keeping squirrels as pets. Once wild animals have matured they suddenly turn wild and no longer friendly. In most cases, a so called pet squirrel becomes aggressive and many times are either killed or released back to the wild improperly which will also result in death to the animal. Chris’s recommendation to those who want a pet squirrel is to volunteer with a Wildlife Rehabilitator or better yet learn how to become a Wildlife Rehabilitator. The satisfaction of helping animals in need is much more satisfying than keeping a single unhappy wild animal as a pet. For more info on this subject please visit this link on our site. http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/keeping-wildlife-as-pets?___store=default
3) I’m raising baby squirrels and feeding them “Squirrel Food”, so that should be the correct diet right?
When raising baby squirrels or any wild animal it is critical to know the proper diet of the animal in your care. An improper diet can lead to some devastating illnesses that can actually cause death in these animals. Keeping in mind, every specie of animal has different nutritional needs. Here we will going over quickly the diet for baby and adult squirrels.
Milk Replacer – We recommend either Esbilac or Fox Valley 32/40 for infant squirrels, in many cases combining the two formulas works very well.
Using Esbilac- mix 1 part esbilac powder to 1.5 parts warm water. With neonate squirrels (newborn) you can add a couple drops of heavy cream to the formula, as they get older you can add more up to a ½ part of cream. Always prepare formula several hours in advance and let sit in the refrigerator, this helps for the formula to break down which leads to better absorption in the animals gut.
Using Esbilac and Fox Valley 32/40 combined- Mix 1 part esbilac, 1 part 32/40, 3 ¾ parts warm water, ¼ part heavy cream, once again with neonates use just a couple of drops of cream until the baby is a bit older.
Using Fox Valley 32/40 – mix 1 part 32/40, 2 parts warm water, and add a few drops of heavy cream adding a bit more with age.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Always prepare formula several hours in advance and let sit in the refrigerator, this helps for the formula to break down which leads to better absorption in the animals gut.
Weaning Diet- Weaning diet is critical for proper growth. We recommend either Mazuri Rodent Block or Zupreem Primate or both to be given to babies once they have reached 5 weeks of age. At 5 weeks they will primarily just play with the food but will not consume much at this point. Within a week or so they will be eating it. At about 7-8 weeks we recommend offering additional foods to their plates to include the following: broccoli, kale, sweet potatoe, butternut squash, pumpkin (when in season), green beans, apples, and other fruits. Real nut pieces to include pecans, walnuts, almonds, and most importantly filberts, also known as hazelnuts. Squirrels also love avocado but we usually wait till their a little older before we offer that. Now this is the important part. In the morning only offer them one or both of the dry foods of Rodent Block or Zupreem Primate Diet. Around mid-afternoon is when we offer the other foods. In the evening we strip the food from the cages everything except the Rodent Block and the Zupreem. The reason for this is that if you don’t do that than they will not eat the dry foods. The dry foods are critical for their health and they will eat them when the other food is not availalble. Once the babies can sit up and hold their food than you can offer them grapes, please don’t offer grapes until they are about 9 weeks old, they tend to get the skins caught in their throat nor do we recommend cup up grapes. Really important part!
DO NOT FEED anything labeled “Squirrel Food” that you would purchase at a feed, pet, bird store. So called “Squirrel Food” is deadly to squirrels in a rehab situation. It is safe for outdoor wild squirrels but not squirrels us humans are raising. You will notice that “Squirrel Food” consists of corn, sunflower seeds, peanuts. The worst three things that you can feed a squirrel in captivity. Your squirrel will develop a disease called “Metabolic Bone Disease” and it is a common killer for young squirrels fed this diet. So in other words, that means that you do not offer sunflower seeds, corn, or peanuts (by the way, peanuts are not a nut, they are a legume) Also, once your squirrels are about 6 weeks old we always offer either a femur bone or deer antlers for gnawing on. The two benefits of these are: Calcium from the bone and squirrels need to gnaw their teeth on a very hard substance, branches are not a hard substance to a squirrel. Squirrels teeth are continually growing in length and therefore they need to gnaw the length down on the teeth.
My outside squirrels have mange, what can I do for them?
And yes, occasionally squirrels in a rehab situation in captivity can also get mange, but it's not too common. Mange in outdoor wild animals is not an uncommon problem. Yes it is a problem and can deadly to animals infested with the Mange Mite but if treated accordingly it is very curable. Often seen as patches of no fur in spots on the skin with minor cases and for involved cases you will see the animal become debilitated and unable to fend for itself. The treatment is very easy but caution needs to be taken to not overdose the animal or surrounding animals. In the past we have treated outdoor wild squirrel by dosing a piece of meat nut with a very small amount of Ivermectin. Usually the injectable was used but we seem to be having excellent results using Ivermectin Paste designed for use with horses. The Paste for horses is actually much safer to use on squirrels than the injectable method of Ivermectin. When treating outdoor squirrels you must be very observant of the squirrel you are treating. Putting a very small amount of the paste (about the size of a very small pea, and I mean very small) on a piece of walnut meat will most likely do the trick if the squirrel eats it. If possible it is best to re-treat in 10 days, but many times the initial dose will do the trick. If the animal is already debilitated than you may need to supplement the squirrel with additional food and water until it is strong enough to fend for himself. Capturing the squirrel and keeping an adult wild squirrel can in many cases be too stressful for the squirrel and may create further issues. If the squirrel can be treated correctly while living outside than that is the best situation for all. Ivermectin Equine Paste can be purchased on our site but also readily available at most feed stores and Tractor Supply Stores.
My baby squirrel is gasping for breath when it eats its formula- Is my squirrel dying?
If your squirrel is normally breathing normal and just seems to be having this gasping action while eating than it most likely is not latching onto the nipple that you are using. In the rehab world we call this a “Feeding Seizure”. Not to worry, it’s not a seizure, it’s just your squirrel not getting the proper suction onto the nipple. Using the Miracle Nipple may stop this issue but if you’re using a different type of nipple you can move the nipple around in his mouth and try to get him to latch onto it. You can also take it away for a few moments until he stops and then start feeding again. This is not an uncommon problem with some squirrels, while it does take longer to feed them they are not in any harm.
OMG! My squirrel is crawling with fleas! What do I do?
Fleas and small mites are common when baby squirrels first come from the nest. If the squirrel is furless than a warm bath with a couple drops of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid will solve this problem. If the baby has fur than you will need to treat with a flea killer. I usually recommend for people to use a kitten flea powder, in most cases if a powder is safe for kittens than it is also safe for squirrels. When treating we don’t recommend putting the powder directly on the squirrel. Normally we will have a container to keep the squirrel in. We will put a paper towel on the bottom, sprinkle the paper towel with the flea powder. Than we will lay another paper towel over the flea powder and then place the squirrel on the top paper towel. In most cases we try to not saturate the skin or fur with powder or spray. Nor do we want the animal to breath in the powder or spray. At this time you can lightly cover the squirrel with fleece to keep him warm and let him be for several minutes keeping a close eye on your squirrel. We do offer a safe spray for use on squirrels called “Lice & Mite Spray for Birds”. When using this item we spray a cloth and rub the animal lightly with the cloth. Remember, do not saturate the animal with the spray. BEWARE – Hartz and Sargents Flea Sprays & Powders have hundreds of complaints about animals dying using their powders and shampoos.
My baby animal is feeding just fine using an eyedropper, why is everyone telling me this is wrong?
When feeding baby mammals, the proper nipple and syringe should always be used. Feeding with an eyedropper or using a nursing bottle is pneumonia waiting to happen with many small mammals especially at the neonatal stage but with squirrels it would be considered harmful at all stages of nursing age. When using an eye dropper or a nursing bottle you have no control over the flow of the formula. When using the proper syringe with the proper nipple you will be controlling the flow. Keeping in mind the younger the animal is than the smaller the syringe should be. Many times people will use a larger syringe without realizing that a large flow comes out of a larger syringe even though you are not pushing harder. For example: A newborn, hairless squirrel should not be on a syringe any larger than a 1cc syringe and even than you need to be very cautious of aspiration. When feeding a newborn squirrel (bald, no hair whatsoever), than the best way to feed at that point is to very gradually drip the formula onto the tongue so as not to cause aspiration. When you see formula coming out of the nose than you are actually aspirating the animal. Doing this repeatedly will most likely end in death.