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earthduzt's avatar

Help! Just found a baby squirrel! What do I do with him?

Asked by earthduzt (3226points) October 6th, 2010

I just found a baby squirrel in my house…he is curled up and shivering. He looks to be about 6–8 weeks old. It’s fairly chilly outside and I don’t think his mama is around. Has anyone had any luck with a baby squirrel? I’ve got him wrapped up in blankets with a warm water bottle next to him. Is it possible to hand raise a squirrel? I’m thinking I need to go run and get some formula for him. Anyone have any advice?

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35 Answers

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Take him to an animal clinic, one that handles wild animals. He’ll be raised there, and then released into the wild so he can have a chance to be a normal squirrel.

Wow how could I have left off that L?!

Dutchess_III's avatar

O my gosh! Right….. Get him warm first.…blankets, warm water… milk?...try giving it to him with a dropper? If you don’t have a dropper, do you have a straw that you can stick down in the milk, then put your thumb on top….the milk won’t come out until you let air under your thumb. You can control the amount of milk/water coming out by how much you take your thumb off the top of the straw….? Help someone…..Squirrels eat nuts….what the hell else do squirrels eat? Going to check….I’ll be back….glad to see MissAustin and ChocolateGirl checking in…

MissAusten's avatar

Your best bet would be to find a wildlife rehab place that will raise the baby squirrel. You can keep it warm and give it some water to keep it hydrated, then start making phone calls. Try a local vet, animal control, or Google until you reach the right person.

If you absolutely can’t find anyone to raise the squirrel, a vet can tell you whether to feed it puppy or kitten formula. There are also sites like this that have a lot of good information. I’d use it as a last resort though, and try to find someone experienced first.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@Dutchess_III lol I love the nickname….

earthduzt's avatar

I will try and find a professional tomorrow, I work at 5am though so it wont be until the afternoon. If I can’t find anyone to take him, I will try it myself (I’m very good with animals) guess though for the time being I’ll just try and keep him warm…running to WalMart now to get some formula, not sure how long it has been since he has eaten.

MissAusten's avatar

Totally a side note. My husband once had a student in an art class that was a certified wildlife rehab…person. She had some baby squirrels that she had to feed every few hours and brought them to class. When they took a break from painting, she fed the babies. Oh dear Lord, were they ever CUTE!! She fed them from little syringes, and I thought my daughter was going to piss herself she was so happy to get to help.

@earthduzt Start with Pedialyte to rehydrate the squirrel, and don’t give it until the squirrel is warm again. You should be able to find a feeding syringe in the pet section. If not, check the pharmacy area and ask if they have them. A baby squirrel will not be able to feed from a bottle.

I just looked it up, and you need puppy replacement milk. If you end up caring for the baby full time and it will a while before it moves on to solid food, you can order squirrel formula here:

Good luck!

MissAusten's avatar

This specifically describes the first feeding and what you can add to puppy milk to make it suitable for squirrels.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ChocolateReigns I couldn’t do an @ thang!

From Wiki…they are mainly vegetarians but in extreme cases they will eat meat….hence, canned cat food is ok for now if he’s starving (if you you happen to have some canned cat food on hand)....but for the most part, from now on, feed him beans and stuff (see article below.) Oh, good luck. Good luck. I’ve tried saving so many baby animals, and I never had the luxury of taking them to a vet or a wild life specialist, so I’m just throwing out what I would do in an emergency like this, with what I have on hand right this moment.
Sounds like dry dog- or puppy- food or dry cat food soaked in milk might work at the moment…..

From Wiki: “Feeding: Unlike rabbits or deer, squirrels cannot digest cellulose and must rely on foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fat. In temperate regions, early spring is the hardest time of year for squirrels, because buried nuts begin to sprout and are no longer available for the squirrel to eat, and new food sources have not become available yet. During these times squirrels rely heavily on the buds of trees. Squirrels’ diet consists primarily of a wide variety of plant food, including nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi and green vegetation. However some squirrels also consume meat, especially when faced with hunger.[6] Squirrels have been known to eat insects, eggs, small birds, young snakes and smaller rodents. Indeed, some tropical species have shifted almost entirely to a diet of insects.”

As a baby, he might really appreciate being next to your skin.

When I owned the mower shop I saved a baby kitten once who had fallen into a dump vat of fat behind a Sonic. She was brought to the shop by my husbands daughter, and I credit the kitty’s survival with 1) The Dawn dish washing liquid that we gave her her original bath with, 2) the fact that I held her under my sweatshirt, next to my skin for a couple of hours until I got back home and 3) was able to place her with a litter of kittens who were about a week and a half older than her. They cleaned her up good and kept her warm through the night. She lived….PLEASE let us know how it goes. Please. In fact, PM me, because I’m not here much anymore, and I want to know

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh yeah…they bite! And their teeth are sharp!! So…be aware of that. :)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s probably too late, because you’re already attached. I would have killed it humanely… and quickly. I don’t need rodents in the house.

earthduzt's avatar

Here I took a couple pics of him…how could you kill this little guy.

Pic 1

pic 2

Jude's avatar

He’s beautiful!

Coloma's avatar

Yes, get a hold of a professional wildlife rehabber asap. In the meanwhile IF the squirrel is really 6–8 weeks of age it should be weaned or at least partially by now.

You need to make sure it is hydrated before attempting to feed it anything.

Maybe a bit of KMR and water and see if drinks on it’s own from a paper plate or saucer first.

If it drinks on it’s own you can put in a few bits of different foods like a slice of apple, a grape or two, some unsalted sunflower seeds or peanuts.

A bit of oatmeal made into a gruel would be alright also.

I would encourage you to get the right intervention though as if it is to be released it needs minimal handling and others of it’s kind to integrate with which is what rehabbers provide.

Rarebear's avatar

Heartless bastard I am, I’m totally with @CyanoticWasp. Vermin.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dammit! My comment dropped off! To @CyanoticWasp, you Dastardly Flutherite, you! I challange you to a Du-ell!! I shall meet you at sunrise with a .357 or…or….something! You know where I live! I shall l meet you there! At…at….no, not at sunrise…after 2:30 p.m. after the Staff Meeting! @Rarebear That goes for you too DOCTOR! I shall deal with YOU tomorrow!

@earthduzt I think someone above mentioned oatmeal. That sounds like a plan…they bite, btw…

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Is there a 24 hour animal hospitable around? They may have some information for you or be able to check him/her out. It is possible to keep a squirrel as a pet, my grandmother kept one when she was younger.

earthduzt's avatar

@tragiclikebowie yeah I looked there is no 24 hr animal hospital around here. I’ve been googling baby squirrels and I think I have it under control, he has warmed up and is actually becoming a little active. Went to Walmart and bought some kitten formula and a tiny bottle and he actually ate. He is now curled up with a heated water bottle.

I talked to my mother and she too raised a baby squirrel, she found hers when it was still a little pinky though

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@earthduzt Good, it’s good that he ate! Keep us posted.

Pandora's avatar

Yeah! He’s cute as a button. I’m glad he’s eating. Don’t be surprised if his mama breaks in to look for him. If she left him there, than she probably knows he’s there. He looks pretty healthy so if she got injured or killed, it wasn’t too long ago. If she was just scavanging for food she will probably look for him.

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Care for him give him some food and nurse him/her back to health then go find a pet clinic or health center for animals to go take it in and raise it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, it is possible to raise a squirrel. My sister and BIL rescued one that was abandoned on their property. Ozymandias loved to crawl into the left breast pocket of my flannel shirt…soft, warm and close to a heartbeat. When Ozzy was old enough and had spent time outside, he finally went off on his own. They had a farm house on 18 acres though. I’d turn your ‘baby’ over a wildlife shelter.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@earthduzt I presume when you ask “How could you…?” you’re not actually asking for technical suggestions or a “how-to” guide, so I’ll spare you the several techniques that occurred to me for doing the job quickly and as painlessly as possible for both of you. But since you’re asking, “How could you!?” like that, then I’ll tell you: “As easily as I’d set a mouse trap in my kitchen—if I had to—and smile in my sleep as I heard it SNAP! in the middle of the night.” Just like that.

And @Dutchess_III, the rules of etiquette dictate that if you challenge me to a duel, then the choice of weapons is mine. (The 2:30 PM time is perfectly agreeable, btw.) The challenge is accepted; I’ll get back to you on that weapons thing. I’m thinking “glue traps at 20 paces” or a sail to the death, but I haven’t decided yet.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

You could keep him until he’s older and independent. If he’s eating that means he somewhat trusts you. It might be a hard task but it is possible. My neighbor tamed the raccoons that live near us so I think you could tame a squirrel. Bring him to a vet and get him vaccinations and rabies shots. He is so cute!

MrsDufresne's avatar

OMG, he is the cutest squirrel I’ve ever seen.

Here is the number for Project Wildlife.
619–225-WILD (9453) They can help with tips and info on how to care for him
I found an orphaned baby bird last July and brought him here
He’s adorable!!!

Coloma's avatar

Is that the San Diego group?

I used to volunteer for them waaay back when. lol

MrsDufresne's avatar

@Coloma Yes, there is one in San Diego. That’s cool that you used to volunteer there. When I took the baby bird in, they were so helpful and reassuring.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

We’d love to hear an update on Baby Squirrel…

earthduzt's avatar

Well I decided to take matters into my own hands….and baby squirrel is doing great! He is eating from a bottle as well as learning how to open up peanuts and sunflower seeds (I purchased him a bag of squirrel food) I also bought him a large cage with lots of toys and tubes that he can explore with. He has sticks of all various shapes and sizes for him to chew on and he is doing well. I take him out during the day, and let him climb things. I’ve been doing a ton of research online about them and many people have had success with the squirrels. I will keep him for the winter and then will try and release him when Spring arrives, I’ve read that it is best to release him here where he was raised and that he will stay somewhat loyal to this area. I plan on building him a hutch in the backyard that he can come and go freely. I know this is against what most people suggested about finding an animal rescue to take him in, but I am very good with animals and believe I can do a good job with raising him and releasing him. I do have 4 dogs though but am not sure if I want to introduce them to squirrel, I don’t think it would be wise to have him be fearless towards dogs or cats as yes my dogs may not do anything to him, but who knows if he decides to go on an adventure later on in life if somebody’s dog will think “hey free meal”.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, keep him away from all domestic pets that could condition him to not fear them.

Really important! Good Luck!

Coloma's avatar


Also…( and this is critical! )

You must find natural foods in the wild, from the area you plan on releasing him from and offer these items to him for acclimation.

Not too many sunflower seeds and peanuts in the wild.

These items are fine for treats but research the diet of his species in your area, observe what other wild squirrels are foraging for and make sure you provide a big array of choices from natural sources.

earthduzt's avatar

@coloma good call! I will definately prowl around and see what the other squirrels around here are eating and try and collect some!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@earthduzt This is so cool! I’m jealousy! You have to keep a picture diary. :)
@CyanoticWasp Can I make suggestions about the du-ell weapons? Let’s see…how about a squirrel face off. I get @earthduzt baby after she’s (She’s? He’s?) trained it to attack. You have to find your own squirrel.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Word of advice from my husband, Rick, who doesn’t fluther but loves animals and, in fact, raised a squirrel when he was a kid: “Don’t corner him, don’t scare him, don’t take him by surprise, don’t make him mad ‘cause he’ll bite the livin’ shit outta you!” Just passing on some words of wisdom. :) Although….knowing Rick he was probably pulling the squirrel’s tail when it bit him.

Coloma's avatar


Lol..yep, I was attacked by a ‘dead’ ground squirrel once, nice knuckle crunching bite, had to go for a tetanus and my finger was completely destroyed for about 2 weeks. Evil it was! lol

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