Metroplus

Caring for squirrels

Can I have a pet squirrel?

Squirrels are meant to live in their natural habitat and are not suitable as pets unless they are dependent on human care due to permanent disabling injuries. So, never pick up a baby squirrel that has a mother. We can never care for the baby as well as the mother does.

What can I do to prevent injuries?

Summer has just begun. Before you switch on the air-conditioner for the first time (especially if it's the old model with big ducts) ensure that you peep inside and check for squirrel nests. Many mothers unknowingly nest there, and are wounded or killed when the AC is switched on.

What can I feed a newborn orphaned squirrel?

If orphaned baby squirrels come as siblings, never separate them — they need each other for emotional support and warmth. Keep the baby in your closed palm till it feels warm. Feeding a cold baby leads to death. When the baby is warm, give slightly diluted milk, with a pinch of glucose and a drop of curd. Second feeding onwards (every four hours), you can give thick, undiluted milk and also a little curd. Newborn squirrels will also have to be stimulated to make them pass urine and motion.

Adult squirrels visit me. What can I feed them?

Fried food is very bad (often fatal) for squirrels. Try unsalted aval, pottu kadalai, small pieces of coconut, seeds of pumpkin, cucumber, melon or watermelon, or pieces of fruits / vegetables. Small balls of ragi powder with water and a little jaggery are a treat.

Are there any resources online that can help rehabilitate and release orphaned or injured squirrels?

Visit >http:/www.hal-pc.org/˜jbsum/squirrel.html .Or, Google Clarissa Summers. For the complete list, email >metropetpassion@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 9:29:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Caring-for-squirrels/article12901015.ece

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