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sleepless
09-17-2007, 12:55 AM
I know you guys must get so many emails like this, but I feel I've made so many mistakes (and he's still alive and seems well) that I just want to reassure myself he'll be OK.

I became the proud mother of a baby squirrel I found last Wednesday (9/12) morning, and despite having experience caring for young abandoned animals (several times I’ve had to care for baby kittens and became proficient with bottle feeding and pooping) I feel he is lucky to be alive because of all the mistakes I’ve made. (I’m assuming he is around 5 weeks because his eyes opened for the first time yesterday.)

Although he seems fine now, I was hoping you guys can tell me if you feel there will be any long term (or short term) damage from:
• Not eating until about 12 hours after I found him (I wasn’t able to get the formula until that night)
• Crawling out of the blankets on the first night and spending the night cold and curled up in a ball.
• Getting air while sucking from the bottle (this only happened the first few days – now I only put the very tip in his mouth). Sometimes he twitches and jerks – is this normal or is it because of the air thing?)
• Drinking kitten formula (I see that you recommend Puppy formula. Pet Smart recommended kitten formula and I’m still feeding it to him – is it OK or am I doing irreparable harm?)
• Putting a drop or two of heavy whipping cream in with his formula (this was recommended on one of the websites)
• I’m not really able to keep track of how much he eats – I feed him 4 to 5 times a day (I don’t feed him while I sleep for the night) and when he stops sucking and pushes the bottle away I stop. Will there be visible and/or behavioral signs if he is not getting enough?
• I bought a bunch of fleece material and have cut it in to pieces to wrap him up in so he can stay warm. Since I work out of my home I am able to carry him all day wrapped up in the pseudo blankets I made (I change the blanket every time after I poop him) – is fleece OK for him and is being held all the time going to hurt him?
• I don't use a heating pad or anything like that -- I just keep him wrapped up in the fleece close to my body.
• He seems to want to chew – I’ve offered him a stick and carrot piece. Is that OK or is he too young?

Oh, and I should mention he's been able to urinate on his own since the beginning (and its clear with little smell) -- I just have to stimulate him to go poop.

Like others had mentioned, I wish I’d found you first thing instead of days later – I’m just glad he is still alive and seems to be doing well. Thank you much for your help in my attempt to keep him that way!

thundersquirrel
09-17-2007, 01:13 AM
Although he seems fine now, I was hoping you guys can tell me if you feel there will be any long term (or short term) damage from:

• Not eating until about 12 hours after I found him (I wasn’t able to get the formula until that night)
that's ok, as long as his poops are solid right now and regular.

• Crawling out of the blankets on the first night and spending the night cold and curled up in a ball.
not the best thing, but if he stays warm now, he'll probably be ok. its important that he has a heat source at all times- preferrably a heating pad set on low with NO automatic shut-off.

• Getting air while sucking from the bottle (this only happened the first few days – now I only put the very tip in his mouth). Sometimes he twitches and jerks – is this normal or is it because of the air thing?)
if he's rushing enough to aspirate, it's likely he'll jerk around (which is normal). however, aspiration is bad. keep an ear on his lungs- if he develops any clicking or congestion he'll need antibiotics asap.

• Drinking kitten formula (I see that you recommend Puppy formula. Pet Smart recommended kitten formula and I’m still feeding it to him – is it OK or am I doing irreparable harm?)
kitten formula does not have enough nutrients. switch to esbilac if you can find it, and until then give him pedialyte. if you can't find esbilac by tomorrow, we'll talk.

• Putting a drop or two of heavy whipping cream in with his formula (this was recommended on one of the websites)
no, that's not bad.

• I’m not really able to keep track of how much he eats – I feed him 4 to 5 times a day (I don’t feed him while I sleep for the night) and when he stops sucking and pushes the bottle away I stop. Will there be visible and/or behavioral signs if he is not getting enough?
actually, it's likely he's getting too much. you should buy 1) a gram scale (found in kitchen supplies sections) 2) syringes and 3) nipples (optional but handy). weigh him, take 5% of his weight in grams, and feed him that many ccs of formula per feeding.

• I bought a bunch of fleece material and have cut it in to pieces to wrap him up in so he can stay warm. Since I work out of my home I am able to carry him all day wrapped up in the pseudo blankets I made (I change the blanket every time after I poop him) – is fleece OK for him and is being held all the time going to hurt him?
fleece is fine- just DON'T use towels or any fabric with loose strings

• I don't use a heating pad or anything like that -- I just keep him wrapped up in the fleece close to my body.
as said before, he needs heat. your body heat is not enough to warm him anyway. if you don't have a heating pad, there are other options- let us know.

• He seems to want to chew – I’ve offered him a stick and carrot piece. Is that OK or is he too young?
for now, i think you should try walnuts (pieces NO SMALLER than half a walnut) and cheerios. these are fun nibblers for babies, but he should mostly be on formula right now, esp. if his eyes JUST opened.

more tomorrow- i'm too sleepy right now. :)

oh and :Welcome :Welcome :Welcome

hazel
09-17-2007, 01:33 AM
:Welcome

Hey Sleepless....go to bed!!!

He's ALIVE, right? You're not doing too bad, LOL!

I need to go to bed too so I'm going to give you the readers digest version here.

1. Get a heating pad and place it under half his enclosure - he'll LOVE it!
2. Get a syringe and lose the bottle, asap. Dosing syringes can be bought
at a drug store. A 3 cc or ml size would be right. Also go to
squirrelsandmore.com and have a look around.
3. You'll have MUCH better control with a syringe (safer!) and you'll know
exactly how much he's eating. You'll need instructions on how to hold
the syringe properly - it's important to handle it correctly.
4. Do buy powdered Esbilac and then switch over gradually.
5. Carrot and Stick? Is that some sort of metaphor? Seriously, they're fine
for him to cut his teeth on.
6. Pinch the skin on his upper back and pull it up and away from his body,
then let it go so that it drops back into place and watch carefully. It
should snap back quickly into place. If it takes more than a second or if
it continues to stay pinched, even a little, he's dehydrated. If that's
the case you'll need to buy some Pedialyte. (grocery or drug store-baby
section)

Promise, there will be a LOT more advice here for you tomorrow - be sure to check back! I'll check back in about an hour, so ask if you have any other
?'s that are keeping you up.

Thanks for taking care of this little squirrely:Love_Icon

sleepless
09-17-2007, 01:42 AM
Thank you guys so much for your quick responses!!! (I see I'm not the only up late ;) I'm going to buy the heating pad and hopefully the esbilac tomorrow.

One other thing is our house is the chaos house -- I have 10 & 11 year old boys, all the other kids in the neighborhood come over all the time, and on top of that we have 3 dogs, 2 cats (yes, cats) and a pig. Although I've kept him away from the other animals I have sometimes allowed the kids to pet him and occassionally hold him in the fleece (all carefully supervised).

He seems to be fine with all the noise and attention (and in the back of my mind I'm thinking "if he gets used to all this then maybe if he stays he will be somewhat acclimated." And please know I will release him if that is what he needs to stay happy) Is all this activity actually harmful to him?

hazel
09-17-2007, 02:07 AM
AND, you're going to get a syringe:thumbsup

In my experience (I've raised hundreds) some squirrels have real pet potential and more don't. There's the catch. It's too early to assess his personality. All this togetherness is good for a pet and bad for a wild child. We need a crystal ball... I would urge you to consider that babies need a LOT of good quality sleep.

If you are considering keeping him I urge you to read ALL of the ''pet squirrel'' forum. It will give you a better idea of what that would be like - and do it soon - the knowledge you gain will help you decide how much or little togetherness there should be now.

Did you check him for dehydration? What was your finding?

Don't forget that syringe!

OOOoooooohhh! I wanna hear about the PIG :multi !

thundersquirrel
09-17-2007, 10:03 AM
hey there!

WHOO! sounds like you're starting a zoo there or somethin. :D

ok, until you can assess your guy's personality (i'd say it'll be around eight or nine weeks) do this with your kids; never let them hold him. you should always hold him. when they pet him, tell them to be silent OR to make little squirrel noises. also, give him quiet day hours- a couple or a few hours when he's awake but can be without noise and humans.

i would call this "on the fence" behavior- i think he could choose, either way, if you treat him this way. it's also possible that he'll LOVE you but fear everyone else. also see the pet's forum about this.

how is the little one today? :)

Mrs. Jack
09-17-2007, 11:05 AM
See you weren't doing so bad after all, thank YOU for all the questions and quick response. :) :Welcome

sleepless
09-17-2007, 01:19 PM
You guys are so awesome! I just found out there is 2nd step esbilac for puppies -- should I get this or the baby, baby esbilac?

pamela lee
09-17-2007, 01:26 PM
Sleepless, Get the stuff for babies, not the 2nd step.

sleepless
09-17-2007, 01:32 PM
OOOoooooohhh! I wanna hear about the PIG :multi !

Well, you know how everyone says how friendly pigs are -- she is the exception to the rule. She seems to dwell in her own alternate universe and she only acknowledges my husband and I -- everyone else she shies away from. (You can imagine how odd this can be with so many other animals and kids in the house. She just acts like no one else exists).

Even more humorus, she is quite the little witch (you would think that someone who could be the main course of a bar-b-que would be a bit more appreciative!) Untiil recently she slept on our bed at night and once she was asleep God forbid you make her uncomfortable in any way -- she'd not onlygrunt at you but would also try to give you a warning bite! This wouldn't have been so bad if she didn't steal the covers most nights and you'd have to fight her to get them back!

thundersquirrel
09-17-2007, 03:00 PM
:rotfl sounds like my kind of pig! gotta love the fiesty ones. :D