Monday, July 29, 2013

Raising a Baby Squirrel-Week 1

We found a baby squirrel in the backyard that had been in a nest very close to the ground. My dachshund had it in his mouth and I got him to quickly release it to the ground. We left the baby near the nest hoping the mother would take him but she moved all of the other babies and considered taking him too but ultimately left him behind.

We did some quick research and decided to help raise the squirrel until it would be old enough to survive on its own. One of the first things we did was go out and buy unflavored pedialite and an oral syringe. This was to keep the baby hydrated until we could purchase some puppy formula to feed it.

We also placed a heating pad under half of the area the baby was confined within. We used a small size dog crate with a non-pile fleece fabric for the squirrel. I ended up using my lepord print Snuggie brand dog bed and it worked great! If you look closely you can see the squirrel near the bottom left quadrant of the kennel. Typically I use that blue beach towel pictured behind the kenel to drape over the entire cage. This helps keep the heat in and light out.

When this young, he isn't even able to open his eyes, they can not regulate their own temperature so it is important to have heat available. The picture below is the squirrel about 4 days after we found it (compared to the photo at the top with it in the box minutes after discovering it).

He is starting to go from a light pink color to a darker purple color. We have determined that this is because the hair that will eventually grow is going to be a darker color in those places. The belly and legs are still the light pink color (which is traditionally where squirrels have white hair).

One not so great part of taking care of this squirrel is helping it go to the bathroom. I will spare photos here, but basically you just stimulate the area they would go to the bathroom with a light touch or a cotton ball. From the research I have done they can not go on their own. I am not entirely convinced the squirrel doesn't go on its own sometimes, but if they do not use the bathroom they will die because of toxins building up within their body.

At this point, we have been caring for the squirrel several times a day to make sure that he is keeping warm and eating enough. I can not even place into words what will happen once this cute little guy can open his eyes! I can tell the definition of the slit in his eyelids is becoming more defined. I just hope it doesn't scare me too much to help feed and hold it once it can look back at me.

So long as this squirrel survives I will have a week 2 update on how he is doing.

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