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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    City Island, Bronx, NY
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    This thread will assist you in dealing with the first few hours of finding an injured or orphaned baby squirrel. In most cases we would urge you to find a qualified wildlife rehabilitator ASAP, but please follow these guidelines to stabilize and keep the squirrel safe:

    Emergency Care for Baby Squirrels

    Don’t try to feed the squirrel.
    Don’t handle him more than you have to.
    No loud voices, TV, music, or bright lights.
    No children or pets in the same room!

    1. Warm the Baby (never feed a cold squirrel!)
    Quick Methods:
    -Cup the baby in your hands or under your shirt next to your skin.
    -Fill a plastic bottle with very warm water. Wrap in a cloth, place next to baby, and cover him. Reheat every 2 hours.
    -“Rice Buddy”: Fill a sock with 1 cup of rice or dried beans and microwave for 30 seconds. Place next to baby and cover him. Reheat every 2 hours.

    2. [b] Find a Box or Container[b]
    A shoebox will do for small babies. A baby that can walk will need a larger box with a lid (with holes). Put a clean baby blanket, flannel shirt, or piece of fleece in the bottom of the box. No towels or terrycloth. Squirrels can get tangled in the loops. Place baby on the material and cover him with one flap. If you have a heating pad, turn it on low and place it under half of the box (not IN the box!) so baby can move away if he gets too warm. You can use the plastic bottle or rice buddy described above, but these are only temporary methods until you get a heating pad, since they must be reheated every 2 hours and won't keep baby warm all night.
    NOTE: Monitor his temperature so he doesn’t chill or overheat. His feet should feel warm to the touch.

    Note: If the baby is injured, is having trouble breathing, has fly eggs on his fur, or is very skinny or dehydrated, he needs emergency care by an experienced rehabber or vet.

    3. Rehydrate the Baby

    Most babies are dehydrated when you find them and must be rehydrated before you can feed them. Never feed formula or food of any kind to a dehydrated baby!

    How to Check for Dehydration
    Pinch the skin on the back of his neck. If it doesn’t spring back immediately, the baby is dehydrated. If the pinched skin stays up like a tent for more than a second, the baby is badly dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration: pale grayish gums, dry mouth, sunken eyes, whites around eyes showing, rough spiky fur, dry scaly skin.
    NOTE: If baby is badly dehydrated, he will need subcutaneous fluids, which can only be given by a rehabber or vet.

    [b] Supplies You Will Need: [b]
    --Pedialyte (any flavor)*
    --Plastic syringes (1 cc size; no needles. Ask the pharmacist to get these for you) An eyedropper can also work.
    These are available at most drugstores.

    *If you can’t find Pedialyte at the store, here is a recipe for homemade Pedialyte:

    1 tsp salt (teaspoon)
    3 Tbsp sugar (tablespoon)
    1 quart warm water
    Mix all ingredients in warm water. Store in refrigerator.

    How to Prepare the Pedialyte
    Use a plastic syringe (with or without a nipple). Never use pet nursers or doll bottles. They will choke the baby. Fill a coffee mug with hot water. Fill the syringe with Pedialyte and place it in the mug for a couple of minutes. Squirt a drop on the inside of your wrist to make sure the liquid isn’t too hot. It should feel barely warm on your skin.

    Proper Position
    A tiny baby should be held upright in your hand. A baby with fur can lie on a flat surface on his stomach. A baby that can walk can be held upright or he can drink sitting up. Hold the syringe so the tip points UP to the baby’s mouth and the handle is down. Don’t let the baby get cold. Keep him wrapped up while he eats.

    How to Feed Fluids
    Place the syringe tip on the baby’s lips (from the side) and squeeze out one drop for him to taste. Don’t squirt a steady stream. Let him swallow one drop before squeezing more. GO SLOW! It sometimes takes a feeding or two for them to catch on. Hairless babies are fed drop by drop. With older babies (once they catch on) you can squeeze slowly for one second, wait for him to swallow, then squeeze more.

    If fluids dribble out his mouth or come out his nose, you are going too fast. Stop and tilt the baby’s head down so the fluid drains out (support his head and neck like you would a human baby). Then wipe his nose and mouth with toilet paper. Start over, slower. NOTE: There is now a chance your baby will develop aspiration pneumonia from inhaling fluid in his lungs. This is fatal. Please contact a rehabber or vet, or the people at The Squirrel Board, for assistance.

    Last edited by island rehabber; 08-29-2011 at 06:12 AM.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator

    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)

    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

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