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Squirrels Talk about squirrels.


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Old 04-21-2010, 09:29 PM
Olafsmom Olafsmom is offline
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Location: Midwestern US
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Default Scared Squirrel Nurse, here

Howdy!

I have currently in my care a baby squirrel (pretty sure he's a grey squirrel) who survived a long fall from his nest during a windstorm at the place I work. When his mother did not return to take him back home by dusk, I took him home with me.

He has not seen a veterinarian, but I did check him for injuries and he had no visible wounds, parasites or broken bones. He did have some bruising on his right shoulder but his shoulder blades were symmetrical, it's gone now, and he moves both front limbs equally and without any discernable discomfort. His left eye was swollen slightly, but the swelling did not involve the skull or eyesocket and seems to be going down now. He was--and is--quite active, which I've always taken to be a positive sign.

Not sure how old he is--I've had him a week today and when he first fell to earth, he was very pink with grey shadowing on his head and upper body. This quickly grew a lot darker, and is now coming through as very fine black hair on his head and back (looks like a military haircut ). His eyes are closed, but have evolved very distinct eyelids; his ears are still close to his head, but seem to be peeling away slightly the last couple of days. His head shape has become a lot less "fetal alien" (for lack of a better description ) and a lot more like that of a ferret. Or a baby squirrel, I'm guessing.

Am housing him inside a cat carrier (I have several cats who must never make his acquaintance) warmed by a heating pad under the carrier and hot water bottles (inside socks) inside the carrier (kept from rolling on the little guy by using a dishtowel to hold them in place) and lots of microfiber and t-shirts. The heating pad has an auto shut-off, however, once a certain temp is reached, which is really frustrating. Went to find another without that feature, but the local Walgreens does not have one. The water bottles get changed every time he gets fed. He does have to go back and forth to work with me 4 days a week--there is no one else to feed him otherwise.

He is being fed Esbilac with an eyedropper. I know an eyedropper is less than optimal, but it's what I have. Am extremely conscious of not getting formula in his nose/lungs. Did buy a kitten nurser with an attentuated nipple he can probably use, but the small amount he is currently being fed doesn't even fill the nipple enough to create any response when he sucks at it--which, honestly, is pretty halfhearted at this point. Hopefully it can be useful when he's eating more. With the eyedropper, we have a system down, though--he opens his mouth and laps, and I drip formula into his mouth on his tongue.

We do have Pedialyte ice cubes on standby in the freezer, just in case.

He's grown in length and dexterity in the last week, and also seems to be eliminating well. Stools are loose, but not liquid.

Sadly, he had a round of bloat today which was obviously uncomfortable for him, poor little guy. I feel like a jerk; I think it was caused by feeding him too much--since I am unsure of his age, I'm sort of guessing at the correct amount to feed him. I estimate he was getting about 1.75 ccs per meal. For the bloat I warmed his belly with cotton dipped in warm water, and rubbed his stomach gently. He did eventually pass some stool and gas, and was pretty enthusiastic about eating a reduced .50-.75 ccs of formula a little while after. Planning to replace about 15 ccs of that with a vanilla probiotic yogurt beginning tonight--I hear that might help.

So that's our story. He's cute, and I am far more fond of him that I want to admit. My plan for him is to keep him alive long enough to get him to a rehab, or until he can attempt reacclimation to the outdoors.

Mostly I'm terrified I'm going to do something wrong before either option pans out--so if you notice anything in the above litany that I'm doing wrong, please let me know!!!

Any suggestions you fine folks would be willing to share with me would be humongously appreciated! So much of what I found elsewhere on the internet is contradictory, and the people I know who actually have had personal experience raising a squirrel are wonderful but few and far away. I've enjoyed reading the posts on this forum, and am certain I can learn a LOT here!!

My most immediate questions are:

How old is he, anyway??

How much should a squirrel that age be fed?

How can I make sure he never gets bloated again?

He has been passing less stool in the last 2 days--is this normal, or was this a prelude to bloating? (The poo itself was a little darker last night and this morning but otherwise hasn't changed in anyway except amount, if that matters.)

Thanks very much in advance for your time, patience and wisdom--from very grateful me and baby squirrel!!

PS--he does the cutest little hind foot kicky thing--like a little dog--when I lightly rub his back. Do they all do that?? Should I stop doing that??
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:39 PM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: Scared Squirrel Nurse, here

Welcome on board! You are doing an awesome job there! Seriously!

I don't have much time right now plus my arms are falling off, but let me give you some quick answers:

He sounds like 3 weeks old.

The amount to feed goes by weight. If he weighs for example 100 grams, you feed him 5% of that in ml/cc, so 5 ml per feeding. I feed them at this age every 5 hours.

The bloating came most likely from feeding full strength formula right away. We usually add more water than it says on the label in the beginning and then gradually decrease it to the recommended amount.

There's a lot of info on my website on www.squirrel-rescue.com (under Found a Squirrel is also a movie on how to feed a squirrel, but I think I have that also in the sticky links in this forum).

Everything else sounds normal to me! Keep up the good work!
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