Caring for a baby squirrel
In the last Pet Den page, we discussed caring for an orphaned baby
squirrel including how to hydrate it and how to start off feeding it.
Let’s look at the rest of the things that one will need to pay attention
to, when caring for a baby squirrel.
Once feeding starts, you must watch out for diarrhoea, constipation
and dehydration. If you see signs of diarrhoea, a remedy would be to
give it mashed bananas. The opposite can also happen and the squirrel
may get constipated(difficulty in emptying bowels).
In such an instance, you should closely monitor the squirrel’s
urination and defecation rounds(bowel movements), and if you see any
sign of constipation, a few drops of diluted apple juice would help most
of the time.
With all the milk and other foods you are introducing, having the
squirrel properly hydrated is something you must always keep an eye on.
The methods described in the previous edition can be used to check for
dehydration; take any remedial action if required.
Squirrels are normally said to wean on their own. Weaning means,
substituting other food in place of mother’s milk. This can be initiated
by stopping feeding it and giving the milk in a shallow lid. In
addition, during the weaning period, a shallow lid of water should be
kept closeby at all times to avoid dehydration. Then you can start
introducing unsalted nuts and raw fruit and vegetables like grapes,
apples, bananas and sweet potatoes.
High-protein baby cereal mixed with water can also be given from time
to time. It is also important to keep the baby squirrel warm at all
times, using a baby blanket or other suitable cloth to form a coil for
it to sleep in.
This can be set up inside a box and kept in a warm part of your home.
If the box is placed directly over the heat source, such as a heating
pad, never allow it to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat only one half
of the box’s floor area. Also, never allow direct light to shine on the
baby because its eyes are very sensitive at this early stage.
Cleanliness of the squirrel as well as yours is important. Always
wash your hands well with soap after nursing the squirrel, for your
safety, and in addition, keep an eye on the squirrel for any infections.
If you see any signs of infection, an antibiotic ointment may help the
squirrel to get rid of it.
At this stage, the squirrel will be teething and you should provide a
hardwood branch for it to chew on. And it would be advisable to keep it
contained in a large cage or you will risk damage to your home and
furnishings. You should also provide an 8x8x12 inch nesting box with a
three inch entry hole.
It can even be a cardboard box, although wood is best. Give your
squirrel small twigs, straw or bits of cloth so it can try to build a
nest for itself. This box is important since it needs to have a place
where it can hide as well as sleep.
All this time, we were discussing about taking care of an orphaned
squirrel. However, according to the law of nature, it belongs in the
wild. Unless you really want to, and would take care of it well till the
end of its life, it would be your duty to return wildlife to the wild,
ensuring that they have the necessary tools to survive.Animals do not
belong in cages!
Pets in my heart
Earlier my pet was a dog named Blackie. I still remember those
fun-filled times with it. But Blackie was gone forever on January 7,
2005. I felt such loneliness in my life from then onwards.
But, in the year 2007, a pet joined my life again. It was a cat!
Actually, it arrived at our house as a new guest. We named it Pussy
Buhl. Ever since then, I have shared all my things with Pussy Buhl. It
is also just as joyful as my earlier friend. But my dog wasn’t this
selective with food.
My cat has a completely different eating style. It prefers to eat
rice without curry, the yolk of the egg, papadam, small fish and some
selected varieties of biscuits. It doesn’t like milk, but loves to eat
yoghurt. It has round, bright blue eyes and a funny tail. Its coat is a
mixture of three colours-white, brown and black.
Sometimes, Pussy Buhl sleeps on my lap. When I do my studies, it
jumps on to my table and walks all over it. I love too play with
it.Although Blackie is not here now, it still lives in my heart. I love
both my cat and my old dog so much.
My pet is a dog. Its name is Binthi. It’s brown and very beautiful.
It drinks milk and likes fish and beef.
Sometimes, Binthi jumps right up to my head. One day, it had jumped
up over our fence. I like my dog very much.
Good dog, Rubi
My dog is Rubi. It is big and black. It likes milk and it also likes
to play. It is a good dog. I like my Rubi.
My pet dog
My pet is a dog. Its name is Jonee. It’s white and brown in colour.
Its favourite foods are meat, milk and rice. Jonee is very playful; I
play with it a lot. I love my pet.