During the first six weeks of life, the baby squirrel will transform from a pink hairless baby the size of a large peanut shell, into a furry “toddler” by five weeks of age, when the squirrel’s eyes open for the first time.
Here’s a look at the ways in which the baby squirrel develops from the age of six weeks to twelve weeks. Also provided is information on the squirrel’s changing care and feeding requirements during this vital time in the squirrel’s development.
At six weeks, the baby squirrel’s eyes have been open for a few days. His vision will improve dramatically during the sixth week of life, and as this occurs, the squirrel will begin to start exploring his environment. During the sixth week, teeth will emerge from the upper jaw, making him more apt to nibble on the solid foods that should have been introduced to the nest the previous week.
Food intake changes dramatically at week six. In his nest, provide a small bowl and offer fruits like avocado, banana, apple and melon, but avoid citrus fruits. Also offer high-quality puppy food like Science Diet or Royal Canine. Hand-feedings of formula must continue at a frequency of every four hours and the baby will eat up to 8 ccs or 9 ccs per meal, sometimes more depending on how much solid food he’s eating.
At seven weeks of age, the squirrel’s tail begins to become more prominent. The tail will start to grow longer fur and the position will change, with the squirrel’s tail starting to curl upward and toward the back. The baby squirrel’s fur continues to thicken and grow and his upper teeth become more prominent. He will continue to become more active during this week.
Continue to offer the solid foods mentioned in week six and continue syringe-feeding Esbilac puppy formula at a frequency of every five hours. There is now no limit to how much food the baby squirrel should eat – feed him until he’s full.
The tail becomes very curly, fluffy and squirrel-like at the eighth week. The baby squirrel should now be very active and he is likely exploring and climbing, so he should be placed in a cage by this time.
Feed the eight-week-old baby puppy food, fruits like avocado, banana and apple, and add vegetables like cucumber, peas, carrots, and broccoli. Avoid citrus fruits, potatoes, squash and corn. Continue feeding Esbilac puppy formula at a frequency of once every six hours, providing as much as the baby squirrel cares to eat.
The baby squirrel should now have a fluffy tail, a thick coat and top and bottom teeth. The squirrel has taken on his adult appearance, albeit a bit smaller. He is exploring his surroundings and is apt to get into mischief, so beware!
There are no changes in feeding during week nine, except for the frequency and amount – the baby squirrel will continue to eat more and more as time progresses. Feedings of Esbilac formula should be performed every eight hours.
Ten and Eleven Weeks
The baby squirrel will become a bit more bulky in appearance as his muscles develop. This is a vital time when it comes to learning how to climb and explore, so these activities should be encouraged (but closely supervised).
A few additional foods can be added to the diet at this time, including string beans and corn. Continue to offer Esbilac formula, but beware that he will begin to start refusing the formula between ten and eleven weeks.
The squirrel is now around 75 to 85 percent of his adult size and once he has stopped eating formula, he is ready to begin exploring the outdoors on supervised visits. The squirrel should be eating all solid food by the end of week twelve. Nuts like peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds can be added to the diet at week twelve, in addition to the other fruits and vegetables.
After twelve weeks of age, the baby squirrel will be ready to start his transition into the great outdoors and into the wild.