Squirrels are no foreign animal that one for sure have recognise at some point of their lives. Squirrels mostly feed on nut and insects – and they belong to the Scuiridae family – along with chipmunks and many more.
The Squirrel in itself have different subspecies as well – each having different features and different needs. Despite so, there are heavily and big commitments breeders need to practice when raising their own Squirrels. In fact, most baby Squirrels do need a lot of attention to survive their infant hood – especially when they are abandoned from their parental.
So, if you’re looking to raise a Squirrel of your own, be sure that you understand that there are big shoes and responsibilities to fill. Without further ado, here are some helpful tips on how to raise your own Squirrels.
1. Buy or Adopt Those of Age
To save a lot of time and hassle, breeders should always considering buying or adopting their first Squirrels as soon as they reach a certain age. The ideal adoption age of Squirrels should be no less than 9 weeks. By this age, Squirrels would not cling as much to humans – therefore breeders should not worry about the Squirrels experiencing stress if they have to be away from them. Though their brains would’ve fully developed by this age, this does not necessarily guarantee the ease to domesticate. With that taken to consideration, be sure to consult professionals to understand if they are viable enough to raise by human beings. Otherwise, many Squirrels are left to grow in the wild due to their stress and overall health conditions.
2. Provide Hydration
When you find an abandoned baby Squirrel – or any other Squirrel of another age for that matter – be sure to provide them hydration immediately. Dehydration is a serious medical condition that could lead to kidney failure and other dangerous health drawbacks. To roughly check if your Squirrel is experiencing dehydration, gently pink and lift their skin. If it takes time to fall back, said Squirrel is experiencing dehydration.
Aside from that, a Squirrels eyes would look empty and dry when experiencing dehydration. In such case, do consult a medical professional immediately for help before depending on some home medication.
3. Help Urinate
Abandoned baby Squirrels that do not reach the viable age of proper adoption may need help in urinating. To help them, breeders should gently pet their genital areas with a cotton bud until they’re able to urinate. This sensation is to mimic their mother’s practice in helping them urinate in the first place. Breeders should always remember to routinely commit to this practice to prevent bladder failure and death.
4. Provide Rodent Blocks
Rodent blocks are packaged vitamin supplements that helps rodents and species alike maximise the nutritional value of their feed. Breeders could purchase these rodent blocks in their nearest pet shops – or from internet vendors. Rodent blocks are especially helpful in maintaining a Squirrel’s overall health.
However, breeders should consider that not all Squirrels would happily oblige and consume a rodent block in its raw form. To help get through this issue, breeders would coat a rodent block with peanut butter – or hide them within their feed – to push the Squirrels to consume this. Though the doses may vary for individual Squirrels, it is advised to feed them about 3-4 rodent blocks a day.
5. Sterilised Waters
Aside from a high quality feed, breeders should also pay attention to the waters being fed to their Squirrels. Clean and sterilised waters is important to maintain each Squirrel’s hydration levels. Always make sure that you only provide clean waters to prevent any potential harmful illnesses fostering in said bodies of water. Be sure to change the water daily – or as often as possible – as well.
6. Vitamin Supplements
Though some breeders are perfectly fine with feeding only rodent blocks to their Squirrels, some would go the extra mile and prescribe them to additional vitamin supplements to fully maximise their nutritional intakes.
Again, vitamin supplements could be purchased at your nearest pet shop – or have them prescribed by a professional that tailors to every Squirrel’s needs – but an organic alternative should be fine as well. Squirrels mainly feed on insects, nuts, and fruits: so breeders should maximise the opportunity by committing on an in depth research on what types of feed are best for their bodies. Many of these organic choices might include: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and apples.
7. Limit Nut Intake
Though Squirrels are well known for their nutritional dependency on nuts, it is advised that they are not fed too much on nuts. Too much of them may cause obesity and several health drawbacks – so it is wise to cut down on the portions.
The portions may vary for every Squirrel, but breeders would opt for nuts as a main feed at night time before bed. This nut intake should suffice a whole day’s nutritional value. If fed too much, Squirrels could be of a bigger risk of metabolic bone disease.
8. The Right Living Spaces
Another thing breeders should consider before raising your own Squirrels is to provide them the right living spaces. Though, again, each needs may vary for every Squirrel – there are several rules of thumbs breeders could depend on to visualise what they’d need. Ideally, a Squirrel’s cage should be about 60cm in length, 60cm in width, and about 1m in height. Squirrels are active animals that appreciate a wide space to climb and move around – hence the height. Squirrels also love hiding in secluded places, so breeders could construct corners or install toys within the cage.
Breeders should also note that Squirrels have sharp teeth that could bite through non-sturdy materials. Considering this, their cages should be built on heavy and sturdy materials such as copper or steel.
Last, Squirrels would appreciate if breeders decorate and construct the living spaces as similar to their natural habitat as possible. In saying this, breeders are given the creative freedom to place around branches and leaves on the surface of the cage to mimic the wild life. This would also make little fun obstacles for the Squirrels to move around in.
9. Provide Chewing Toys
As previously mentioned, Squirrels are biters – therefore, they would appreciate it if breeders provide them with chewing toys to play with.
Though chew bones and pet store toys are a popular option, some breeders would save a few bucks and make some of their own with their own household materials. There are many tutorials online that could help breeders get crafty with their ideas, and the possibilities are endless.
10. Place Cage Near Windows
Position the Squirrel’s cage near windows for direct sun exposure. Like most living creatures, Squirrels require a good dose of natural vitamin D from the sun to maintain their overall health. More so, to prevent stress and discomfort, being around the sun would imitate their natural habitat.
11. Construct a Nest
Another thing breeders could provide that would help even out their Squirrel’s stress levels is to construct them a nest to rest within. The size of said nest could vary for different Squirrels, and so is the materials used. Some breeders would keep it simple and use an empty small cardboard compartment, and it would work just fine. There are numerous options to choose from, and breeders should explore them to find out what is best for their animal companion.
12. Provide Sleeping Surface
To rest comfortably, Squirrels require a comfortable sleeping surface – which breeders could provide by placing a used towel or other soft materials. Some breeders also like to stack up old newspaper for them to rest on, but Squirrels would usually bite on them as well. In this case, be sure to change the old ripped stacks of newspaper daily to prevent them from sleeping uncomfortably.
13. Isolate From Predators
To prevent stress and discomfort, Squirrels should be places far away from potential predators living near the areas: such as cats and dogs. Squirrels are preys, but they could be fiesty and dangerous when triggered. For the safety of all parties involved, breeders should isolate them from said predators.
Squirrels are social animals that require love and attention to live healthily. Young Squirrels would need warm touches of a human hand, or simple interaction from their Squirrel peers to prevent depression and loneliness. However, as soon as they reach the ages 6 months, breeders are advised to keep the human contact to the minimum – as they would usually grow to be more aggressive and fiesty. Nevertheless, the Squirrel peer-to-peer interaction should remain for the sake of their mental health.
15. Routined Check Ups
Last, and certainly not least, breeders are advised to commit to a routined check up for their Squirrels. Early detection of any illnesses is the best case scenario in treating them, and vaccinations would help these Squirrels to prevent getting illnesses in the first place.
Breeders should also avoid underestimating any unfamiliar symptoms. Whenever you feel like there is something wrong – or if your Squirrel is showing foreign symptoms – be sure to consult a medical professional immediately for help.
This marks the end of the tips on how to raise your own Squirrel. Note that these are just basic tips and that further research and consultations are heavily advised for new breeders. Good luck!