How Long Is Formula Good For After Being Warmed Up When You Find a Baby Squirrel – Remember WHAM

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When You Find a Baby Squirrel – Remember WHAM

When you find a baby squirrel, all you have to remember is the acronym WHAM to groom like a pro!

WHAM is a four-step process that ensures you cover all the bases in a systematic approach to ensure your baby squirrel has every chance of survival.

“W” stands for warm.

Baby squirrels lose body heat very quickly, especially around the time they are born, usually in early March. Ideally, you’d like mom to come pick it up, but it’s hard to leave a nearly naked body waiting for your mom in the early March cold. I have found that a small cardboard box with a cloth rice bag that has been microwaved and attached to a tree will keep the baby comfortable and away from predators while it waits for it to find its mother. If he doesn’t pick it up, the box and bag of rice make a great incubator to house your baby during early nursing, especially in the first five weeks when his eyes are closed. A baby squirrel should always be warmer than your hand when you pick it up!

“H” stands for hydrate.

A baby squirrel can become dehydrated very quickly. Their bodies are so small that it doesn’t take long for them to develop an electrolyte imbalance. If it gets bad enough, it can cause the heart to beat irregularly or even stop. If baby looks very dry and wrinkly and their skin doesn’t go back to its normal flat appearance when you pinch it, or if baby reacts very slowly, even after rewarming, you need to re-moisturize!

Many rehab doctors and vets will tell you to give unflavored Pedialyte electrolyte replacement fluid. It’s fine, warm it up and give small amounts with an eye dropper or a small syringe. My only question is; where does a mother squirrel get Pedialyte if she takes her baby and it’s dehydrated? I’ve never lost a dehydrated baby squirrel when I went straight to formula. So, you do whatever you want, just give the baby fluids.

“A” stands for accommodation.

Once you reach this point in the WHAM process, you must make a decision about the future care of the creature. Are you going to hold it and try to lift and release it? Or do you take it to a rehab facility?

Part of accepting it is taking another, closer look at it. You’ve warmed it up and moistened it, now inspect it and check for other issues. If it has hair, look carefully for pests. Fleas and lice may be present. I use Hartz kitten flea spray on a cotton ball to kill the bugs and remove them with tweezers.

Look for bruises or open wounds. Check its legs for possible fractures. I treat the wounds with raw coconut oil. You can wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment.

Look for any signs of difficulty breathing. A baby squirrel should not use more than its chest muscles to breathe. If he’s having trouble breathing and his skin doesn’t look pink, he may have internal injuries. Check its belly for bruising or discoloration. This could be a sign of internal injuries. If you have any questions, consult a veterinarian experienced in exotic pets or wildlife.

The baby squirrel fits very nicely in the box until its eyes open. Then you need a drill. A small cage is fine initially, but a larger cage is necessary as the child becomes physically mature. My last cage before release is a large walk-in cage in my backyard. This allows my squirrels to adjust to life outside while allowing them to observe how other squirrels behave. It also gives them space to get the exercise and climbing skills they need for release.

“M” stands for Maintain.

Conservation simply means doing the things that need to be done to ensure that the squirrel has everything it needs to grow into a healthy adult squirrel. Keeping it warm and feeding it when it’s a baby. Let it nurse until it weans itself from formula, then give it the right food and calcium to prevent metabolic bone disease.

Keeping a squirrel until it is ready for release is not difficult and does not have to be expensive, but it does require diligence and desire. My wife and I have a passion for raising healthy and disease resistant squirrels and are always willing to help others do the same! It’s a labor of love for us and it makes all the difference in the world!

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