Dedicated to making the world a
better place one squirrel at a time
The first 12 to 24 hours the baby should be fed only an electrolyte hydration formula, such as Pedialyte for infants. Do not start feeding a baby until it is first warm, well hydrated, and has started to eliminate normally. Reference the links along the right side of this page for more information on these topics.
If the baby has never had formula or is changing to a new brand, you must slowly
introduce it over several feedings. Formula is never exactly like, or as good as,
mother's natural milk. The baby's gastro-
Important information on how to administer nutrition in a controlled manner to ensure common life threatening feeding problems, such as choking, aspiration pneumonia, bloat and diarrhea and are avoided.
The ideal amount to feed the baby at each feeding is up to 5% of its body weight at an interval that closely matches the frequency the mother would feed her young in the wild. Below is a rough guide to the amount and schedule for feeding a baby based on its approximate age and size.
It is highly recommended that you purchase a gram scale to reduce overfeeding. Baby squirrels are notorious hogs and will happily overeat. Overeating may result in life threatening diarrhea and easy predation by cats, hawks and other menaces that prefer chubby slow moving prey. Reference the link entitled, “Feeding complications” for more information.
If you don’t have a method of weighing the baby and are unsure of its age, you can roughly estimate it by comparing your squirrel to the ones pictured on the “How to determine the age of a baby squirrel” article (link to the right) available on the Chris’s Squirrels & More website.
Important Tips for Success
Baby’s with their eyes closed must be stimulated to urinate (pee) and defecate (poop). This page provides step by step instructions for accomplishing the task after every feeding.
Squirrels without fur, not fully furred, ill or injured require a constant source of supplemental heat. A makeshift incubator can be readily constructed from common household supplies.
If the baby is cool to the touch it must be warmed. This section discusses methods for warming the baby. See also: Build an Incubator.
Most digestion and intestinal problems can be traced to improper feeding methods. This section cover diagnosing and correcting feeding problems and provides guidance when veterinary care may be warranted..
Most orphaned and injured wildlife has some degree of dehydration. After treating life threatening illness and warmth, hydration is the next step in stabilizing the squirrel.
The maximum amount should be no more than 5% in cc’s for the squirrel’s body weight in grams.
For example, if the squirrel weighs 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces), then 5% is 5 grams (.17 ounces) which translates to 5 cc (cubic centimeters) or ml (milliliter) or (1 tsp) of formula.
Need help converting teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups to cubic centimeters (cc’s)?
A squirrel weighing 100 grams should be fed every 4 to 5 hours (reference Chart
1 for squirrels weighing 120-
A note about frequency: It is ok to feed plus or minus 1/2 hour to accommodate scheduling for squirrels under 6 weeks. Older squirrels can be fed plus or minus 1 hour.
*Reference the Online Conversion Calculators if converting grams (weight) or cc’s (volume) to other measuring systems.
It’s important that the baby doesn't get too much or too little formula to eat and
that you know when it last eliminated (and if the product was normal -
Lack of normal appetite and abnormal bodily functions are important queues indicating a problem requiring immediate attention.
Keeping track can be especially hard when you have more than one care giver or multiple squirrels.
Our advice is, Write it down!
If you are caring for multiple squirrels you might notice that it can be hard to tell who is who.
Consider using a temporary identification method such as a non-
ear or the tummy. You may need to reapply every few days.
If the squirrels are furred and you only have a small number , another option is to clip a small notch of fur from the tail at different locations.
Tail fur only replaces itself once a year, so don’t go crazy with this by trimming a large quantity of fur. Squirrels use their tails to communicate, for warmth, and balance.