We live and work on an ecological reserve. Animals wander about as they please. We work around bears, deer, ducks, geese, owls, eagles, songbirds, beaver, river otters, raccoons, and squirrels. Recently, we heard the distinct call of a young animal in distress. It was a baby squirrel. We left it with some vegetable pablum and water and waited for the parent to return. At the end of the second day with no momma squirrel in sight, we decided to capture it and give it some proper nutrition. That’s when a second baby squirrel appeared, then another, and another.
They were quite emaciated and weak. A diet of vegetable protien mix, mushed peas and sweet potatoes, and almond milk did the trick. They gained weight over the next week as we watched out for the mother. Unfortunately, she did not reappear. We constructed a 7′ x 4′ x 4′ enclosure complete with glass roof, branches, hoops, ropes, and baskets for a play area and set them up in a secure cage with warm hammocks to sleep in. We kept warm water bottles in their covers to keep up their temperature. They survived and grew.
They are like little food pirates and will try to steal each others food even though there is plenty. They are now on baby rat pellets, sunflower seeds, fresh cut peppers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, grated carrots, apple sauce, and sliced bananas. Food had to be cut fine or puréed to prevent choking – they will try to stuff themselves when learning about solid food. Also each squirrel had to be hydrated by hand to ensure their water intake was constant. Each had to learn how to drink from a hamster bottle.
The two small pictures above show how small the first found squirrel was in he folds of a jacket. Later, a squirrel enjoys sweet potato and carrot baby food. They are much cleaner eaters now, and cooperate sharing their food.
Three brothers and a sister. The sister is the smallest, but the bravest, and would approach if food was offered. The boys wait until she checks out any new feature in the enclosure. She is the tamest of the pack and will come when called.
They will soon be able to explore the trees onsite and take their role in the wild. This was a fun and challenging opportunity to learn about squirrel behavior and help some young ones get a start in life. We at Prairiebench.com are proud to have received a commendation from the City of Port Coquitlam for our efforts in animal rescue over the years.
For fun, watch “Brunch with Baby Squirrels” on YouTube to see these darlings have a polite snack for the camera…