Tips On Keeping a Pet Squirrel


So you found an orphaned baby squirrel in your yard. The first priority is to keep the squirrel alive. There are many other web sites that give advice and instructions on caring for the immediate needs of a baby squirrel. You can find help here, or here, among others. As these sites point out, the ideal outcome will be to reunite the baby with its mother, but this is not always possible.

In most cases, the next best alternative is to locate a wildlife rehabilitator who can care for the baby and ideally reintroduce her to the wild. If you need help locating a wildlife rehabilitator, you can call your locale humane society or a nearby vet's office.

Before we met my wife Karen worked as a wildlife rehabilitator, and has experience caring for squirrels including a blind male squirrel that she kept as a pet. After our son Kaleb found Beebz in our backyard, orphaned, cold and dehydrated, we made the decision to keep her. While we are happy with this decision, and Beebz is a loved and treasured member of our family, nevertheless this is not something that I would recommend for everyone.

In the interest of fairness, I should point out that there are some people who will argue that a healthy squirrel should never be kept as a pet, and that the goal should always be to return a squirrel to the wild. Here is one web page that makes the case against keeping squirrels as pets. Whether you agree or not (and obviously I don't), the argument is well-intended and should be considered. On the other side of the coin, here is a page that argues that in at least some cases, squirrels can be kept as pets. And here is a page with some advice about caring for a pet squirrel.

If you do find yourself caring for an orphaned or injured baby squirrel, and think that you would like to keep it permanently, please, above all, consider--very carefully--this question:

Am I willing to commit to caring for this squirrel through its entire life?

A squirrel can live in captivity for up to twenty years. The longer a squirrel is kept in the house, the less likely it will be that it can be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Once a squirrel has become used to being around people and has lost its fear of us, to return it to the wild will likely be a death sentence. This is even more so if the squirrel has been around other pets like cats and dogs. If you find after a few months that caring for your new pet is more trouble than you had expected, don't think that you can just turn it loose in the backyard or local park. It will not have learned the behaviors and skills that it will need to survive.

That having been said, here are some things to consider before taking on the responsibility of keeping a squirrel:

  • You will have to provide a cage. This is non-negotiable--well, with one exception, if you have a spare room that you are willing to turn over to your squirrel. It would have to be squirrel-proofed, meaning no electrical cords, containers of anything toxic, or other objects that would be dangerous if chewed on. The main point is, you can not simply give a squirrel the run of the house, as you would a dog or cat, for several reasons: (1) Squirrels are intensely curious. Your squirrel will explore every place that she can get to, and they can get to just about any place. (2) They are incredible athletes. Anything that you see squirrels do outside--climbing, jumping, running--they will also want to do inside. This also includes (3) chewing on anything and everything, which is the biggest reason you will need a cage. Even if you don't mind teeth marks on your furniture and possessions, chewing on electrical cords or electronic gadgets such as cell phones will always be a danger. It is extremely important that you provide things for your squirrel to chew on, as a squirrel's front teeth grow continuously and must be worn down by chewing. This can include sticks and branches, and a piece of bone or antler, which has the added benefit of providing calcium in the diet.
  • The cage will  have to be large enough to provide a humane living space. Beebz lives in a cage that is four feet tall, four feet wide, and three feet deep. I would not recommend anything much smaller than that for an adult squirrel. This gives her space to climb and jump. There should also be a nesting place. For Beebz, we hung a canvas shopping bag by the straps from the top bars of the cage. We have also provided plenty of nesting material: old socks and t-shirts are good. We gave her a stuffed animal that she took the stuffing out of to give additional nesting material. Her cage is in the living room, where she gets plenty of attention, next to a window.
  • You absolutely must give your squirrel plenty of attention and regular, frequent, and supervised time outside of the cage. My goal is to take Beebz out of her cage for play time every day. This gives her a chance to run and climb and jump. She will climb around on my arms and shoulders, leap from the top of the dresser to my hand or shoulder, or just go tearing around the room in circles. And often she will climb up to my chest so that I can pet her. Even when she is in her cage, I make a point to pet her and talk to her frequently. Her cage is in the living room near the couch, so any time someone is sitting there reading or watching TV she has company.
  • Be ready to deal with some bites and scratches. Squirrels are not aggressive creatures, but they do carry some very sharp objects. They can not be declawed. And your squirrel will likely see you as the closest thing to a tree that she has access to. My hands and arms are pretty much permanently scratched up. And because a squirrel can not see things directly in front of her face very well, she may mistake a carelessly placed finger for a nut, resulting in some painful if accidental bites. Even during playtime, Beebz will now and then deliver a "play bite" which, while it is not hard enough to draw blood, can be a little bit painful.

Squirrels sometimes like to play rough


I'm not writing all of this to dissuade anyone who is ready to make a serious commitment to raising and keeping a squirrel. Beebz is friendly, happy, and healthy, and having her as part of our household has been and will continue to be a fun and deeply rewarding experience.

To be sure, there are some excellent benefits of having a pet squirrel:

  • I don't have facts to back this up, but a squirrel's belly has been scientifically proven to be the softest substance in the universe.
  • If you have oak trees in your yard, a pet squirrel will help you to dispose of all those acorns that litter your lawn in the fall. The same goes for any other kind of nut tree, of course.
  • Squirrels are not expensive to feed. A healthy adult squirrel will need to eat about one pound of food per week. A varied diet is important. Beebz eats a combination of compressed woodpecker blocks, which contain sunflower seeds, other seeds, and peanuts; fresh vegetables such as kale, sweet corn, the top parts of red bell peppers (she loves the pulpy part that has the seeds attached); and nuts. In the fall, as I said above, we collect acorns from the oak trees in our yard.
  • Squirrels are intelligent, attentive, playful and affectionate. Beebz loves to be petted and talked to. If I am sitting on the couch in the evening watching a basketball game, Beebz will often lie on her stomach on the upper level of her cage next to me and watch the TV. When she is playing outside of her cage, if I extend my hand and just nod or motion to her, she will almost always jump onto me and run up to my shoulder.
  • Squirrels' poops are tiny and hard like little pebbles. They do not smell and are not difficult to clean up. Squirrels are generally very clean animals, and create very little odor. However, they are messy eaters, and can scatter nut shells, fruit peels, etc. over a large area.

Beebz watches to make sure that I do a good job
cleaning her water dish

Diet:

I already sort of touched on this above. I think the most important thing is to provide a variety of healthy foods for your squirrel. Nuts are, of course, a favorite. Any hard-shelled nut such as walnut, hazelnut, or pecan, or of course acorns, will be appreciated. Peanuts are okay but are not nearly as healthy as other varieties and should not make up a large portion of a squirrel's diet.

In spite of the stereotype, squirrels like to eat much more than just nuts. You can also give sunflower seeds and corn, especially a fresh ear of corn on the cob. Beebz loves to tear the husk off the ear of corn. For a treat she also loves the millet sprays that are sold in pet stores for birds, and which cost very little.

Vegetables are very important. Among the fresh vegetables that we give Beebz are kale, cabbage, turnip, carrots, and sweet peppers. As I mentioned above, Beebz loves the top part of the bell pepper, especially a red bell, with the stem and the pulpy seedy part on the inside. Fruits are also an excellent food. Beebz loves apple slices, grapes and strawberries. I also give her a deer antler to chew on to help wear her teeth down (very important) and to provide additional calcium to supplement her diet (see update  below).

Reading this list of foods may sound expensive, but it really isn't. As I noted above, an adult squirrel needs about a pound of food a week. Most of the vegetables can simply be leftovers of whatever you and your family might be eating. Or if you aren't big on veggies in your own diet, you can easily get enough fresh vegetables and fruit from the produce section of a supermarket to feed a squirrel for very little money.

Update May 2013:

It has been quite a while since I have read over this page. A lot has happened since I wrote this. Last year we moved from North Carolina to west Texas. Beebz made the trip with me in the car and has handled the journey and the transition beautifully. It is hard to believe that this August she will be three years old.

I have noticed that this page has been getting quite a lot of views recently, and I think I should at least briefly address the recent comments regarding calcium. I have been aware of the need for calcium in a squirrel's diet, and have researched the means available to meet this requirement in Beebz's diet. In addition to regularly giving her calcium-rich food such as kale, I also provide her with a deer antler that she loves to  chew on. This is one of the ways that squirrels in the wild get calcium. Pieces of antler are available in most pet stores, including PetSmart. Another option is cattle bones that have had the meat removed, also sold in pet stores. I have offered this to Beebz, but she clearly prefers the antler pieces.

I do not believe that expensive calcium supplements that must be ordered online are necessary. After all, wild squirrels do not have these supplements.

Someone also asked about whether Beebz has any toys. We do give her a stuffed animal that she likes to  roll around with. Usually this is something from the Dollar Tree store, since the toy usually won't last very long. 

92 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. They also "HAve To" have magnisium; Which like the calcium, They get naturally from the outdoors. We provide ours in the form of Nutballs; A recepie that can be found on Clarissa summers webbsite (a rehabber we were fortunate to have found) TKP

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  2. Great article although it's not mentioned the high propensity for your squirrel to get MBD from lack of calcium, especially with the diet you described. The diet you described will certainly lead to a painful death of your squirrel and probably loss of use of tail and hind legs. They must have calcium. Please see recommended diet on www.thesquirrelBoard.Com. The rest is about right, although a proper diet is expensive.

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    1. While half the time TheSquirrelBoard can be very helpful, most of its senior members are rotten, rude, and unhelpful. I would recommend going there for most things, however, I find that a vet is way more helpful. And yes you can find vets for squirrels, in most cases it's illegal, but a lot of vets will stick their necks out for squirrels because they just love all animals. I have a vet for my baby, he just doesn't report that a squirrel came in to be treated.

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    2. I've found www.thepetsquirrelboard.com to be a lot better. Everyone is very nice there.

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  3. I'm sure he knows what he's doing. The squirrelboaard about killed my squirrel suggesting Esbilac .....

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    1. Esbilac is working GREAT for my 3.

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    2. I used Walmart brand and it made my baby very weak and unactive . Then I tried esbilac and it works better it has a higher fat content.

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    3. I am a good friends with a rehabbed, Who had it not been for her, Petey Pie would not have made it. You see, Squirrels are not carnivorous, They are NOT meateaters, Which by the way, Esbilac type products contain meat by-products. This product will normally kill the squirrel early on. What you do is simply this; Take regular cows milk, Vitamin D cows milk, Oh, lets say 2 cups, Don't boil it, But bring it to the point that is getting ready to boil. (This kills the enzymes in the milk, Which in turn, Are hazardous to squirrels. Next, Add 2 drops of Vitamin E to the milk (you can get the vitamin E in capsule form, The liquid in the capsule. After this, Watch your squirrels energy, Ours actually had muscles on top of her muscles, LOL.... We couldn't believe it, And had we continued with the puppy formula, Petey pie Jenkins wouldn't be with us today.

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    4. I have raised and released dozens of squirrels and have been trained to do so. Feed baby squirrels KMR (kitten milk replacement). NEVER feed them puppy milk replacement, cows milk or human baby formula. They all have ingredients that will eventually kill a squirrel. When they are able to lap formula from a bowl, start mixing in walnut or pecan butter, (which you can find in health food stores) and pureed fruits and veggies. When they get used to that, start offering soft fruits, like grapes or berries. Don't give them baby food fruits or vegetables because they have too much iron in them. I have a baby squirrel now that will probably become a pet. It has an injured foot. If that foot doesn't heal well, it probably wouldn't survive outdoors.
      I'm looking for advice on acclimating my cat and dog to living with a squirrel. They are natural predators so I think it will challenging.

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  4. you can put a calcium block (pumice) in the cage for them to nibble on. plus some of the squirrel (rodent/ferret) foods have vitamins as well. I've read not to overdo it with the nuts or they'll get fat. Mine gets downright possessive with a pecan-I gave her one and reached in the cage a while later & she growled at me and kinda ran at my hand as if to say "back off!" she is a lot of fun though and I love seeing her grow up and play. She's a real sweetie but the claws & teeth can be a pain (literally) sometimes. but I wouldn't trade her:)

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  5. Thanks for writing this article, I have a squirrel myself and your information was very helpful. Does you squirrel have any toys or things to play with? what do you recommend? is there anymore advice that you can give for having a squirrel?

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  6. my brother just got a squirrel because the mother was killed and the brother died due to improper raising without the mother... and I've been reading so much stuff about raising a squirrel and everyone is different... some say its impossible to litter train a squirrel... others say it's not. I just hope we can keep this squirrel alive... he means so much, his name is Chester... and your information means everything because we need the knowledge. Thank you and please... if you have anymore information or advice I would LOVE it!

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    1. To the above comment on May 26,2013.

      Keep the squirrel warm.

      Give the squirrel "plenty" of warm sugar water to keep it hydrated. They like the sweetness of the sugar so they will take it in.

      Make a account at www.thesquirrelboard.com. They helped me with ours that was super skinny from our lack of knowledge.

      They also saved his life by my reading a previous post about "Why my squirrel is not moving and gasping for air." We thought we lost our little guy, but thanks to that site he is back to normal and gaining 2-3Grams a day.

      Oh and get a scale that weighs in Grams. Ours is 5 1/2 weeks old and weighs half of what he should before we got the "GREAT" advice from the senior users on the squirrel board.

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  7. Hi,I am from India, and my husband has found 2 baby squirrel, about 18-20 days ago, out of which 1 died may be because of wrong eating method, and he was injured also. But his sister could manage to live, we are feeding her from past 20 days, I am not sure about her age, but she has got some small hairs now and has got two lower teeth, so after reading many articles about squirrel, I am assuming her is about 2-3 weeks not sure probably.

    I am giving her lactogen (human infant food) (whey protein predominant formula), and she was doing good so far, she was active and the stool was also yellow in color which I think is normal, but from last 2 days she has got loose motions, watery green fluid comes out of anus, please help me, if I am feeding her correct food or anything else went wrong, may be due to I changed her cage, the earlier cage was darker that have a lid, and 2-3 holes in it, but now I have shifted her to open cage with a cotton peices in it. I am not sure what went wrong please let me know where I have mistaken and yes the squirrel is healthy and active, she play well over my hands, the only thing which worries me is her stool.

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    1. THAT's the WRONG food! They need Esbilac (puppy formula) they can't handle the enzymes and fat in human baby formula (or any cow's milk)

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  8. Funny Dog PicturesMay 31, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Be careful about bytes! But cute pet! :) I have collection of dog pics, just check it!

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  9. Funny Dog PicturesMay 31, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    oh i mean bites!

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  10. oh..i don't know about all this..Squirrel diet is a good idea..

    from
    Squirrel Food

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  11. we have a sight impaired squirrel that comes every day to eat. He has one eye that looks as if it has a gray haze covering it. The other eye looks like it was maybe pecked by a bird. He also has some holes in his one ear. He barely sees. He uses the scanning movements from side to side. I have gotten within inches of him and he responds mainly to sound. We are getting ready for vacation and I hate to leave him without his food. I read that just peanuts aren't good, but initially were just giving them to "our" squirrels as a treat. It has been nearly 100 for a few days and he comes up to our stone porch and spreads out I think to try and cool off some. Any general suggestions?

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  12. For the sight-impaired squirrel in the previous comment... You are right, that peanuts are not the best for a steady diet. While you are out of town you might want to leave a large woodpecker block that you can get any place that sells wild bird food. Also, when you are in town, you might offer fresh veggies like kale, tomatoes, sweet peppers, etc.

    Also, since the temperature is so hot, please leave a source of water. If possible a pan of water with a hose slowly dripping into it, to keep it fresh.

    Thank you for caring for your squirrel friends!

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    1. I am so glad I found your website,very informative. I found 4 babies back in Feb. only Earl survived, I bottle fed for bout a month and then he decided he was done. He has a indoor cage and I also got him a chicken coop for outdoor play, and of course he runs free in the house alot too. My arms and shoulders look alot like yours, although he has never once bit me, just others. He knows I'm his momma. Thanks again..

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  13. Recently, I have bought a flying squirrel. >What are the different type of food flying Squirrels eat?

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  14. My baby squirrel is almost 5 months i can tell his winter coat is starting to grow but he has a bald spot in the middle of his back any ideas of what could be wrong?

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  15. I have a question seeing as you have raised them from babies.. No matter how I try I can not get the 3 1/2 - 4 week baby we found orphaned (thanks to my cat catching his mommy)to go to the bathroom. I have tried the warm q tip thing and it's just not working.. What do I do?

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  16. I have a pet squirrel too..they are wonderful..

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  17. nice article. good advice and useful tips. thanks

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  18. Really great information ...thanks. oh please keep posting helpful information.

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  19. Thanks for writing this, its been so helpful, I have a rescued squirrel that is only 7 weeks old and I got in touch with local wildlife rescue. Somehow they convinced me to take care of her myself and told me what to get at the petstore ,formula for her.
    Now,I'm getting extremely attached!
    The wildlife rescue here,amazing to talk someone into doing it themselves when I don't do this year round like them and emotionally used to letting them go eventually. But apparantly they are overwhelmed with orphaned litters.

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    1. My husband found a 4-5 wk old squirrel in the yard in Sept while he was mowing...I also called squirrel rescue. They said they have too many and gave me great tips on feeding/rehabbing. I used the Ebsilac formula per bottle then used a dish until he refused it. He loves all nuts, apples, cheerios at times, sweet potatoes, tree bark and seeds. Trying to get him to eat more veggies.
      However, I too have become attached to our baby Rocky, an Eastern Gray. He is like a cat-dog-monkey in one! He plays tag, runs after nuts and wrestles with a small stuffed animal.
      I don't like to see animals caged and began taking him outside for 2-3 hrs daily, staying out with him. On Nov 8th, 2013 he went up a tree and wouldn't come back. I cried, bribed and begged him. We put up 5 wooden tree houses. We made them and put about 20 ft up in trees. I filled them with pillow stuffing and food. He stayed out for about 24 days.
      The Ohio weather began to get really cold, then snow. I then brought him back in. He is the sweetest. He does require lots of attention: feeding, cleaning cage, water bottle, fresh foods, play times out of 'cage'/pen. He gets out in a 26' x 5' mudroom to play for hrs per day. I keep the shade open on a floor length window on the back mudroom door. He looks out often but doesn't seem sad. He seems happy to be in a warm place with food, although he gets bored at times. His cage is 4ft x 4 ft-we had purchased a larger one every few months as he grew. I'm looking for some wooden balls bigger than marbles so he can play and roll them around.
      My goal is to release him in late Spring. He will have the 5 apartments by the pond to chose from...haha...and we will provide food and monitor him daily.
      He has been a great joy and gift for us empty nesters! We never realized the personality or affection that squirrels have/give.
      BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU REHABING/RAISING THESE AWESOME LOVING RODENTS :)

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  20. My little one is about 8 weeks now, I think she was about 5 weeks when my hasband saved her. Kiki is doing wonderful and seems just as happy as can be. We have started introducing new real food to her and she is taking them well and also still being a little piggy when its milk time. I have read just about every article I have found so I know what she needs. However, I am not sure when I should take her off formula? Even though she is eating food she still acts like she is starving at milk time. What age should she be weaned off milk?

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  21. It's been over a month since we saved our
    Rocko. I've been reading alot about grey squirrels and learning alot as I go. So far I haven't seen anything about which states where its leagal to have one. I love my lttle guy and I know he loves me. I live in California is it leagal to have a grey squirrel or what ? I couldn't bear of loosing him !

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    1. I Have One And I Also Live In California. I DidSome research And Actually It Is Illegal To Have TheM But My Family And I Are Way Too Attached To Our Dearest SkittlE. We Rescued Him When He Was About 2 Weeks Old..Last Month He Turned 3 And I Don't Regret Saving Him.

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  22. It's been over a month since we saved our
    Rocko. I've been reading alot about grey squirrels and learning alot as I go. So far I haven't seen anything about which states where its leagal to have one. I love my lttle guy and I know he loves me. I live in California is it leagal to have a grey squirrel or what ? I couldn't bear of loosing him !

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  23. It's been over a month since we saved our
    Rocko. I've been reading alot about grey squirrels and learning alot as I go. So far I haven't seen anything about which states where its leagal to have one. I love my lttle guy and I know he loves me. I live in California is it leagal to have a grey squirrel or what ? I couldn't bear of loosing him !

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    1. I to am trying to figure out what states it is illegal to raise a squirrel and have not found anything. i live in the united states and can not find anything on it.

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    2. I live in Ohio and it's illegal to raise wild animals here since that idiot in Bainbridge killed himself after releasing a variety of wild animals, including lions, bears...they all were shot. Very sad.
      I guess you could check google with your specific state. GOOD LUCK...I love my Rocky~he is our secret family member-until Spring, if he wants to be released.
      They will fine us and euthenize him if found out! Terrible!

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  24. Wali was brought in by the cat, just a few days old I raised him by bottle feeding him and nursing his wounds. I tried to release him when he was about 5 months old. The other squirrels beat him up and he came running back. Well this past Easter he escaped for 4 days, when he came home he was terrified.. drank a lot of water, ate and slept for a day and a half. A few days later he had a sore under his arm. I treated it but it wouldn't heal...turns out its a Bot Fly....I watched a you tube video and removed it.. He has always been so lovable..My problem is he bit me a couple of days ago and now yesterday he attacked me. He always came to me when I called him but he doesn't come now.. What do you think I should do I'm heartbroken

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    1. The aggressiveness you are seeing is common in male squirrels, because they like to take their place in the herarchy. He is trying to challange you for dominence.Squirrels reach maturity at 5 1/2 months old.You might consider neutering him, as soon as his testicles drop (I would have him done.) This will help with aggression as well as help prevent testicular Cancer we often see in rodents. Good luck !!

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  25. i would like to know if it is illegal to raise a squirrel in the united states. i have a baby squirrel that is about 6 wekks old and has attached itself to me. and would like to keep him, but not sure if i can here.

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    1. I think the animal control website is where I learned which states would be illegal to raise a squirrel. I know it is ok here in Alabama.

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  26. Loved the article!! As I write this my 5 month old male eastern grey squirrel is sitting on my shoulder watching me read and occasionally type. Just wanted to say for those who have never raised a baby squirrel before you hit the nail on the head as for how to do it. Pibble(my daughter named the squirrel lol) is a VERY ACTIVE animal that loves to get into absolutely any and everything he can. When I first got him he slept in a 100 gallon fish tank complete with branches large rocks etc etc. As of now he has a metal cage similar to what you described, although he spends very little time in it. he actually sleeps in the bed on my pillow with my wife and I. He's like a second son. As for his diet I haven't found much that he wont eat. Almonds and white grapes are his favorites though. When he was still a wee little baby I used an eye dropper and fed him Esbilac, that mothers milk replacement worked wonders. When Pibble was found he was dehydrated and in my honest opinion not far from dying. I immediately started him on the Esbilac and in two days he did not look like the same animal I had found. I also found as he started getting to the age where he could eat solid food that toddlers teething biters biscuits was a nice treat, he still eats 1 daily. Well I'll quit rambling now, again I want to say what an awesome informative article you wrote. Great work

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    1. Hi Mark,
      Where are you located? I am looking for a squirrel to use in a TV show. Can you contact me?

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    2. Did you find one to use? Where do you need one? I have one herein Alabama that would love a job!

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    3. Belinda i live in alabama myself..my husband noticed something flopping around in the yard by the shed....baby squirrel....im not sure how old he is...he has all four chompers and he has all his fur...his tail is longer than he is...i think there is something wrong with his eyes though...they both have this gray haze over them...looks like cataracts...do you know what could be wrong???

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  27. rsteffens60@gmail.comOctober 14, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    your article is very helpful.I have 2 babies about two and a half months old.1 male 1 female.I have taken one to the vet because he was blowing out his nose almost like he was sneezing.they put him on antibiotics.he is doing great now. I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep both of them.at what age should I split them up or would it be better to keep them together if possible?

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    1. Keep them together female only bonds to one male in a lifetime.

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  28. Need a pet or unreleasable squirrel, perhaps one used for education for a TV episode.
    Sorry to be anonymous, just don't have an account on this blog.
    gleanna@rhodescollar.com

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    1. Why are you needing one? To raise as your own?

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  29. i have the same situation as anonymous in Aug 22,2013 with my male grey squirrel. He is about 7 months old and have spots of baldness (real short hair) on his back too. He can be walking and all of a sudden chews. No fleas, no red skin either.

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    1. Could it be ringworm?

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  30. My squirrel is about 10 weeks..still on esbilac..but he won't drink water! What can I do??

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    1. Eye dropper and leave bowl of water in cage and give him apple slices.

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  31. Keep feeding until he is ready for water leave in cage...

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  32. We have raised our squirrel for 5 months now. I found him after he fell from a tree after a bad wind storm and by the grace of God I decided to cut my grass that morning for some reason and he was laying on the ground with ants on him. We have learned a great deal from him and it breaks my heart to leave him in a cage all day while we are at work. He gets some time out in the morning from a family member who comes over and lets him out of his cage, and in the afternoon until late in the evening he gets to play in the house until we go to bed. He has grown on us and I realize at this point he wants to go outside but I know he would not make it because he will approach humans and pets. He has his own personality and is very special and caring although he is a wild animal and it shows at times. I know the right thing to do is let a rehabilitator take him and train him to live outside, but it will break our heart to let him go. Any good advice???

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    1. Your concern about your squirrel being too used to humans and pets is legitimate. I think the most important thing to consider is how much space you can give your squirrel. His cage should be at least 4 feet high and 4 feet wide, with levels so that he can jump and move about freely. It is good that you are giving him time out of the cage every day. As long as the cage is big enough, your squirrel should be fine!

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  33. Your article is very helpful. I have a brother and a sister squirrel. The male is very aggressive. He been attacking my man's face, my face, and the dog's. The female has a hurt front leg that makes it hard for her to do certain things. She is sweet. The male don't attack me as much as everyone else and he has been humping him sister a lot. His testicles has not dropped yet. Thinking about start taking him outside everyday so he can get use to it. Will letting the male go make my female depressed? Love him lots had him since he was six weeks old. I just can't have him biting and scratching our face. Have a vet that will neuter him but I don't know if that will stop him from being that aggressive. What do you think. Plus I'm worried about him surviving winter.

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    1. Squirrels almost always nest alone, so I would not worry about separating your squirrels. I would definitely be concerned about the aggressiveness that your male is displaying. Rather than taking him outside and trying to get him used to the outdoors, you might try to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. This website can help you find a rehabber in your area: http://www.southeasternoutdoors.com/wildlife/rehabilitators/directory-us.html

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  34. If I keep my squirrel indoors for winter, will I be able to release him in the spring and expect him to do well?

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  35. Would like to know the same as Belinda Hopkins.. located in Ontario. My Rocky is around 3 months now.

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  36. I have a rescued squirrel, his momma left him. We left him in the spot we found him for two days and momma never returned to get him. We are not sure if his mom got killed or not but i could not leave him there any longer cause he needed to be fed, He had just opened his eyes when i got him so he was roughly 5 weeks old, I gave him puppy formula for a few weeks then he didnt want it anymore and went to water and solid foods. A friend of mine is a wildlife rehabilitator and told me how to care for him to be healthy. He is almost 5 months old now and doing very good. His diet consists of rodent block which has the calcium and nutrition he needs, acorns and yes i spent 3 hrs picking enough acorns to last the winter,black sunflower seeds, he eats carrots, kale, and grapes once or twice a week. once in awhile he will steal a cracker lol but he is doing amazing. I am planning on keeping my peanut because we would love to see him live a long life without being harmed and killed. He is in a cage 5 ft high 4 ft long and 3 ft deep. has a tree branch from top to bottom that we cut down for him.We bought him a small pet bed that sits to the top of the cage on a shelf plus gave him old t shirts and he loves paper towel that he shreds up to add to his bedding.We also bought him animal cotton bedding, and he tears up newspaper. he loves playing with paper towel rolls and he has many wooden chew toys and stuffed animals to play with. We take him out of his cage to play every night for a couple hrs and he is such a good boy. He reminds me of a ferret, very playful and will wrestle with your sleeve or fingers lol. They are alot of work and yes his nails do hurt and he does have a habit peeing on the floor out of his cage sometimes, but I would NOT trade him in for the world. He has become a part of the family...=)

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  37. How nice ! that really nice topic how to care our pet squirrels. I like this very much.


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  38. My neighbors brought me a newborn baby squirrel in Aug of 2011. I had him 27 days before he opened his eyes. I fed him every 2-3 hours for months, and worked up to 4 hour feedings and finally got him eating "big food" but he still would find his syringe and lay down and try to nurse from it until he was like 6 months old. I have offered him freedom many times and he always runs back in the house to his cage, So Payne will be 3 years old this August. He has a large cage on the screened in porch, complete with a/c and heat. He comes in every night and sleeps with me. He doesn't like or accept anyone else. He has never bitten me but the toenails are another story. He has learned over the years to be really gentle and rarely scratches me anymore. He gives me licks and nibbles on my face for a couple of hours while I rub his belly until he goes to sleep. and he holds my finger while he sleeps. He eats a variety of nuts, vegetables, and fruits. His favorites are raw corn on the cob, avocado, scrambled eggs, plums, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and cherries. He eats most vegetables pretty good. I clean his cage every couple of days to get out any food that is old and could spoil and make him sick. I pick up acorns and green pinecones for him when they are in season. I also give him leaves and insects, he loves crickets and grub worms. People always ask me what do I want with a pet squirrel and I tell them to love him. They are smart, loving and very loyal to their person. I can't imagine my life without my guy. I hope to have him for many many years. So if any of you ever find one, think thru it because it is a lot of work raising them but they are so worth it in the long run. Payne is housebroken and uses a pee pad for dogs. When he was little , I kept him in a small bathroom and put pee pads down and he would crawl out of his wicker basket and pee and poop on them, so as he got older, I would take one away every couple of weeks and we ended up with one and now as long as his paper is down, he uses it. I wipe him every nite with a wet washcloth and he loves it. I rub baby lotion on his feet and he really loves that. So if you happen to find one, raise it and it will love you forever......

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    1. Wee Wee (my grey) does the same kinda things and when i let him and his 2 sisters out to live in the yard he came right back in. He is by far the best 4 leg companion i've ever been lucky enough to know. He spends time with me all the time. Goes outside and runs beside me while i walk to the garden. He is pretty much my child and i would trade him for nothing in this world.

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  39. Very cute pet! Great story and quite informative. You sure take good care of Beebz. She sure is lucky to have a loving owner.

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  40. 3 years ago we found 2 orphaned squirrels and named them Rocky and Isabella. They must have been 8 weeks old. We read up on raising them and 4 weeks into it Rocky passed away. More attention went into raising Isabella. We couldn't lose her. I was the first person she saw when she finally opened her eyes. She thinks of my girlfriend and I as her parents. We read somewhere that squirrels don't show love, loyalty our can be trained. BULLSHIT !! Finding her was a blessing. I couldn't imagine coming home and her not here. It is a lot of work keeping a squirrel as a pet but well worth it. I hope she lives 20 years with us.

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  41. Replies
    1. I agree. My buddy Nibbler is an Eastern Gray that mostly lives indoors and is a very loving guy. I think giving him a balanced diet has allowed him to grow up healthy and content. They do require quite a lot of hands on personal time to allow them to grow up happy with humans but they are definitely capable of being good friends. The only issue I have seen with Nibbler is that he doesn't seem to be able to accept new people. Check out some his videos here. https://www.youtube.com/user/HemiLightz

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  42. I have a Gray squirrel. I rescued him 8 years ago! Hes is so loveable,smart and really is part of our family!! All of a sudden lately hes having loose stoole's and can barely bite a nut open... We are terrified to lose him! He coo"s a lot more. He's been such a lil baby and weak. WHAT DO I DO???? I need him better : ( Im not sure what is happening with him. He has been healthy his whole life. Ive had him since his eyes were closed. Poor lil guy! Please help!!!

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  43. I love squirrels and would love it if I found one to care for

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  44. This is my first time i visit here. I found so much entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work.

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  45. I wish that I should have squirrels because I love them !

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  46. Hello. I found your blog and I'm trying to get informations everywhere. A friend recently started to pet a Korean squirrel (it's younger than 6 months). It got out accidentaly of its cage and hid in a tiny hole in the wall. As we tried to take it out, a bit of its tail fur fell and we could see a bit of blood. It doens't let anyone get near (it doenst trust us yet) and spends much of its time inside its box nest. It eats and leaves the nest but not with people around. We don't have any vet near by that can treat this animals and we don't know if we should get really worried. Can you advice me?

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  47. I hope you get this message since I am looking for answers. My husband and I found a baby squirrel on someone's yard under a tree.It definitely did not land on grass. The owner of the house said that the baby had been their for hours before we found it. We tried to take it to a vet, but no offices were opened. We ended up taking it home assuming that he probably wouldn't survive since he was breathing heavily and his eyes were closed. We put him in a shoe box with warm cloth, and turned on a space heater for him. To our surprise,he survived and seemed to be improving. He started eating fruits and drinking formula more and more.He seemed to grow a little bit as well. He could not walk well when we found him. He kept falling over and walking backward, but he seemed to be improving every day when he was with us. It seemed like he was able to find his food after sniffing around and his mouth finally touched the food. We believed that he was blind. As mentioned, he seemed to improve a lot, but he just did not seem strong physically compare to squirrel his age, which is about 5-6 weeks old. He was not that fast.The night before he passed, he was able to cling on to our arms, and walked up and down. We were really afraid that he was going to fall off due to his leg. He ate a lot. He also slept a lot that night after we fed him. He pooped and peed normally on days that we was with us. Overall, I must say that he slept quite a lot. He usually woke up to eat and stayed up for no more than 20-30 mins, and he would be sleeping again. He was not as active comparing to other squirrels his age from my research. Today was his 6th day that he was with us. He was still sleeping when I woke up, so I didn't think that anything was wrong. He didn't want to eat today. He was no as active. Closer to noon time, he was breathing heavily through his mouth and laying down in an unusual position(he did not lay down in this position before from what we had seem) . Before we knew it, he passed away. To me...it seemed like he had a seizure 20 mins before he took his last breath. Did we do something wrong? I mean...how come he just died all of a sudden with no signs or symptoms besides his weak legs and blind eyes????? I'm very sad and I felt like I did something wrong that cause his death. :( Please help me!

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  48. My sister in law found a baby squirrel yesterday I did a placement at a wildlife center and studied Veterinary medicine however this little guy is approximately 5.5-6weeks, I originally was worried he would pass away so I put a heating pad under a towel for him and placed a towel around him as sort of a nest. He survived the night is eating, drinking and playing around. However his one back leg aplears to be broken or something I palpated to feel for a fracture and test to see if he would react however was unable to find anything that appeared out of the normal. We do not know how long he was lying outside but he has really improved however he does notuse his leg he simply drags it behind him. We calked wildlife centers and vets the rehab centers are all full and the vets said euthanize, but he really does not seem to be suffering as heis eating, drinking, playing and alert. What do people reccommend? I dont feel euthanization isan option as in my experience he does jot appear tobe suffering, his other back leg is fine and so is his tail. Should we keep him? We have accessto a big enough cage. Please help with any suggestions. Cheers

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  49. 8 months ago we rescued our best friends Baby Boy and Spider-Man. Never in a million years did I think 2 squirrels would bring such happiness to our lives. They come everywhere with us. We have a carrying cage that they come to work in the morning, have their own work cage and back. At our office (we have our own business) the ladies have adopted them as family as well. They are the babies! It is no longer a shock to customers, UPS delivery and mailmen to encounter our boys when they come in, if they are lucky they may even get jumped on by one of them, which they almost entertain now.

    We struggle with our travel though... Even though I have the health certificates, even a prescription from my doc saying they need to travel with me (yes that's how much we love them) and the Vet's ok to fly... We (and our vet) are somewhat hesitant to bring them in the air. Squirrels can develop ear problems and our boys don't have them and we are afraid they will develop problems. Why risk something when they are so healthy, right? But try and find someone to take care of your squirrels THE WAY YOU DO, so you can go away... Any ideas????
    I'd love to post some videos and pics, let me know how.
    ~Karen

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    1. Karen, are your squirrels friendly with eachother ? We are trying to figure out if squirrels have friends. If so, we're they friends when you got them ? Would really appreciate an email. KeeKeeTheDog@gmail.com

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  50. It is one of the most outstanding blog. I have ever seen in my life. feeling great to have such kind of outstanding stuff.
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  51. Thank you for your site. And Nutz are newly rehabbed brown squirrel pet thanks you 2.

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  52. Halo am from india, I have two pet squirrels.one male and other female.the male scratched and bit his own body creating wounds which he would never allow to heal.wat should I do.and can I leave them at home for 4 days to go on a vacation

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  53. Just wondering....do squirrels make friends with other squirrels ? OR...bunnies ? Or hamsters ? ( should we try to find our paraplegic pet squirrel a friend ? )

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  54. How to Stop BarkingThis is really pretty cool place I like it because it has everything I want more on this blog soon.

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  55. Hello I'm a mommy of a baby squirrel......I'm guessing Lolly (that's her name) is about 13-14 days old? Her eyes are not open yet but she is eating good and doing very well........Well I'm a little worried.....I have grown to really love this little girl and I want was is best for her....so I have a few questions. Can I love on her and still turn out in the wild when that time comes? I would like to get her big and find a place where she would be with other squirrels......(can I even do that?) would love to keep her as a pet but I worry about that to.......is it pretty easy to take care of a pet squirrel? Please help me! I would love to here for you...thank you and God bless:)
    Angi

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  56. Nice blog, keep it up, ;)

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  57. Hi. Thank you for your website. Early this month in 8/8/2014, we found 3 baby squirrels in our yard that fell from a very very high nest. One was dead but 2 were alive. 1 if the 2 live ones appeared to have a head injury (half of skull was purple). We brought the 2 inside and tried to warm them up (we live in Fort Bragg, NC, so it is very hot and humid outside anyway). We immediately looked up squirrel info on the internet. The squirrels appeared to he a week old, very pink, ears looked to be about to separate from their heads, very fine almost undetectable fuzz on the mouth. Gave both squirrels 1 ml each plain pedialyte with a tiny syringe, and then again 2 hrs later. Then put them in a warm shoebox with no top, and went to Petsmart to get formula. It was the weekend and so no vets or wildlife rehabilitators were open. We had no option for squirrel formula. Had to get the best puppy formula possible. We got 1 can of GNC goat milk formula - it was Petsmart' s top brand. Also bought a first aid rubbery hot water pouch. When we got home, the squirrel with the head injury had died. :( We put it aside and fed the last surviving squirrel 1 ml puppy formula mixed with filtered water (warmed). He seemed starving. After feeding, we buried the other deceased squirrel in the backyard. Fed the heakthy squirrel like this every 2.5 hrs till the next day. Then on day 2 we fed straight puppy formula 1.5 mls without diluting with water, same schedule. We took him outside fir a couple hours to see if his mama would return, but she didn't. :( That day, I got online and ordered Fox Valley Squirrel formula. It took 4 days to arrive. Once it came, we diluted the Fox Valley with the GNC puppy formula so as not to shock his intestines. Then the next day fed just the Fox Valley formula and have been ever since. He eats 2 mls every 3 hrs now and he is 3.5 wks old with fine fur on his head and tail, and a grey back. Sometimes we give some purified water just incase he's not getting enough. He poops and pees regularly throughout the day - we help him do this by putting his lower half under warm water and wiping his man parts with a q-tip till he goes. We refill the hot water pouch and put a pillow case in it every time he eats. He loves the warmth and spreads out like he's doing jumping jacks, we make sure its perfect, not overly hot. We tried to contact every wildlife rehabiltator in our area and every one turned us down. :( NOT ONE of them were accepting new animals. We don't want to throw him out in the woods, so we're just gonna raise him until we figure out what to do. If we never find a willing rehabilitator, I guess we'll be having a permanent pet squirrel. My question is... once he gets old enough to eat solid foods, how often and in what manner do we feed him? Should it be scheduled feedings, like a human with 3 or 4 meals a day, or is it like a free for all, where we just put food in the cage all day long and he eats whenever he feels like it? Seems like he would get fat with the latter. Because he was a lone survivor, like Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, we named him Mark. We are nervous about raising a squirrel because it is the "unknown", but also warming up to the idea. Obviously we'd prefer if a rehabilitator was willing to help him so he coukd have the life he was meant to have. Thanks for reading my long comment. :)

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    1. My squirrel is 14 months old and have raised him since he was 5 weeks old. I fed mine human baby formula from Walgreens with a bottle for small animals. This was the powder I mixed with water. He ate this twice daily because I work. I also gave him cantaloupe which he can get liquids. Now he eats peanuts that are non salted and roasted. Walnuts that fall from the tree. He loves almonds. He still eats cantaloupe and honey dew. Another melon he likes is watermelon. I also have a water bottle that is attached to the side of the cage. He is a great pet. Loves to lick your hand and sometimes neck and face. I hope you have fun with the little guy.

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  58. I tried giving my 3 month rescue squirrel Esbilac puppy formula, but she became very dehydrated with runny stools. We gave her pedialite in between feedings and switched her gradually to a Fox Valley formula. She got much healthier right away with perfect stools and grew hair and her ears popped out in 24 hours after starting the Fox Valley one. We also keep her on a heating pad (for humans) set on low covered in a jersey knit pillow case with a rumpled jersey knit pillow case that she snuggled under. She's in a glass aquarium with a metal screen lid. We also wipe her abdomen and privates with a warm wet cloth with every feeding to help her go. It seems to be working! We feed her in a upright position with a rodent nipple over a syringe about 1 teaspoon of formula every 3 hours. We let her go for 6 hours at night without feeding. We keep her nose wiped frequently during feeding and hold the nipple at a 45 degree angle pointing up to her mouth. It takes two of us to do it. One to hold her and the other to hold the nipple on the syringe and push the formula slowly. I used a tack to puncture several holes in the nipple. I got the syringe (without the needle) in the baby section at a drug store. For water I just use filtered water. )I learned in nursing school that it's really bad to drink distilled water) I'll keep you posted! - Sara F.

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  59. My son is an arborist, and has been forced to relocate squirrels from hazardous, dead trees. We have had a number of nests with very young babies which I have raised successfully. I use the formula directions prescribed in the Squirrel Wildlife Rehabilitation website with great success.
    There are also directions about the gradual introduction of solid foods. Use Pedialyte for rehydration, and heavy whipping cream mixed into the Esbilac following the direction on the Squirrel Rehab website, and your babies will be fine. I feed half, help them void, then feed the remainder. Currently have 2 thriving litters.

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  60. In my previous post I said 3 month when I meant to say 3 WEEK. oops
    - Sara F My squirrel is doing very well. Her eyes are open now and she's up to almost 2 teaspoons every 4 hours. I am concerned about her going crazy as a pet, and about getting killed immediately if we let her go next summer. I would like to hear from people who have kept squirrels for a long time like Beebz. - Sara F

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