Spotting squirrels roaming the public parks and neighborhood trees are not unique to any single region. No matter what state you live in, it is easy to find these joyful little ones climbing a tree or scampering across the yard to get to that bird feeder. Fully grown squirrels are exciting to watch, especially if you left out some delicious surprises for them. However, contrary to popular belief, adult squirrels tend to have a slightly different diet than baby squirrels.
All squirrels need strong bones and a robust metabolism to keep them healthy. Without certain vitamins and minerals, they can develop severe illnesses that could impact their longevity. Some of the diseases that squirrels are prone to stem from extreme changes in their diet. So, what do you do if you come across a baby squirrel that needs assistance? Would you feed it the same menu as you would a fully-grown squirrel? The answer of course is no.
Avoid feeding baby squirrels, or any squirrels for that matter, foods that are detrimental to their health. In other words, do not give them artificial, fattening, or sugar-loaded treats. For a more critical understanding of what a baby squirrel’s diet should consist of, take a look at these choices.
How to Care for a Baby Squirrel
Formula: 6 Weeks Old or Younger Squirrels
The nutritional diet needed for baby squirrels depends on their size and age. If they are less than six weeks old, they are not prepared to digest solid foods. It might be challenging to gauge, however, if the baby is less than six weeks old, they are still highly dependant on their mother’s milk. One’s first step should always be to try and reunite the baby squirrel with their mother. Unfortunately, if you are temporarily in charge of nursing this little one, make sure you use the recommended formula. Baby squirrels usually need to consume formula for the first 10 weeks of their life.
What foods to Feed a Baby Squirrel
Once the baby squirrel is around 6 to 7 weeks old, it’s safe to introduce solid foods. Do not neglect the formula, which is still needed every 4 hours. When it comes to adding solid foods, it's always best to pick the most natural options. There are three main categories to choose from, vegetables, fruits, and nuts like pecans. The healthiest route would be to provide a variety of these options.
Broccoli, kale, and sweet potatoes offer an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They are also an easy solid food for baby squirrels to chew and digest. Broccoli is low in fat and calories but provides natural carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. It also contains a high amount of water which can help keep the baby squirrel sufficiently hydrated.
Kale contains an astounding amount of nutrients, such as Vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It is also a great source of calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. A baby squirrel needs to develop and maintain bone and muscle density and a strong immune system. The vitamins and minerals in kale help support bone, muscle, and immune health.
Antioxidants promote a strong immune system by protecting the body’s cells while fighting off free radicals. Free radicals can cause DNA damage, including stress on the body’s cells, inflammation, or chronic diseases. Sweet potatoes not only provide a healthy amount of complex carbohydrates and fiber, but they are also chock-full of antioxidants. They are high in Vitamins A, C, and B6 and contain niacin, copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
Adding some fruit to the list of snacks for growing squirrels is a great way to keep them hydrated. Apples, for instance, contain over eighty percent water on top of being a great source of fiber, natural sugars, and carbohydrates. They also contain Vitamin A and C as well as high amounts of potassium. Potassium is essential to the body’s ability to synthesize proteins to help muscles recover and grow.
Baby squirrels, as with all squirrels, need a diet high in vitamins and minerals that support strong bones. They are prone to bone diseases if they lack sufficient nutrition. Grapes contain thiamine, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber. They also provide Vitamin B6, C, and K. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body needs for blood clotting, which is an integral step in helping wounds heal. It also supports healthy bones.
Hard-shelled nuts like pecans out of the shell are one of the top choices for integrating into the baby squirrel’s diet. Nuts are one of the best foods to incorporate because it is one of the most common foods available to them once they can live in the wild.
Do not be surprised if a baby squirrel gets a little hyperactive when presented with an out-of-shell nut, especially if it’s a pecan, acorn, walnut, or almond. Why are they so enthusiastic about nuts? Well, not only are nuts an excellent source of natural fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber, but they are also simply delicious and a huge staple in a squirrel’s diet.
A squirrel’s zeal when consuming nuts and seeds is hard to miss. It’s also thrilling to watch them enjoy these little crunchy morsels. Pecans are a great source of fiber and contain over nineteen vitamins and minerals. Fiber promotes smooth digestion and is related to supporting cardiovascular health. Pecans also contain calcium and potassium, which support bone and muscle performance. If you are looking for pecan nuts to keep your baby squirrel healthy and happy, consider ordering some bulk pecans.
Baby Squirrels Need Variety for Food
Remember, if the little one is just a few weeks old, you may have to provide the recommended formula as a substitute for their mother’s milk. After six weeks, when it’s ready to begin nibbling on some solid foods, the formula is still required. When introducing solid foods, start small and create a tiny platter. For example, a piece of kale, an apple slice, and some fresh pecan halves is a perfect start.
As the baby squirrel grows and begins gravitating more towards the solid foods, it’s safe to wean them off of the formula. Just make sure you provide a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables to ensure proper nutrition and promote wholesome growth.