Average Weight For A 4 1 2 Month Old Girl Three Reasons Why Baby Squirrels Die in Captivity

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Three Reasons Why Baby Squirrels Die in Captivity

Have you ever taken in a baby squirrel and started feeding and caring for it, only to have it physically fall over and die? You’re not alone! Here are three common reasons why baby squirrels die in captivity:

1. Wrong diet.

Improper nutrition is the main reason why squirrels die. There is a lot of controversy about what is the right formula to feed baby squirrels who are still nursing. Many wildlife rehabilitators will tell you to buy expensive puppy formula and never feed your squirrel cow’s milk. I’ve been using expensive puppy formula with little success, but they recently changed the formula and the squirrels weren’t getting enough milk fat. Now all of a sudden they tell people to add heavy cream to increase the fat content! Hello! What is heavy cream? It’s cream made from cow’s milk! The reason cow’s milk will kill a baby squirrel is because the milk contains substances that will give the squirrel severe diarrhea. Diarrhea will cause an electrolyte imbalance that will lead to heart failure and eventually death from sudden cardiac arrest.

I’ve found that after getting rid of the diarrhea-causing stuff in cow’s milk and cream, a baby squirrel will do just fine on a cream-rich cow’s milk formula. But you need to do one simple but important thing to make this formula safe for squirrels! I can teach you how to make this formula and save you spending twenty bucks on a can of puppy formula!

2. Hypocalcemia.

The other big squirrel killer is hypocalcemia. It’s a fancy name for low blood calcium. Squirrels, especially in captivity, have extremely high calcium requirements. Death from low blood calcium occurs after they stop breastfeeding. As long as they receive milk, their calcium needs are met. When they stop breastfeeding, they need calcium supplements or they will develop what is called metabolic bone disease. This disease is characterized by the loss of calcium from the bones, especially in the spine and hind legs. As they walk, they start shuffling their hind legs and gradually lose nerve and muscle control. Their bones become brittle and break easily.

Low blood calcium can also cause heart problems and sudden cardiac death. A squirrel with metabolic bone disease is a pitiful sight! Prevention is simple! I teach a very simple way to make a supplement called Nut Squares or Nut Balls that will provide optimal calcium intake and good health for squirrels.

3. Internal injuries.

The last major killer of baby squirrels is internal injury. Many times the squirrel found has fallen far from the nest of leaves. One of the first things you should do to your baby squirrel after you bring it to a warm environment is to carefully check it for injuries. Babies usually have rapid breathing and a heartbeat, but if a baby squirrel has trouble breathing or uses more than its chest muscles to breathe, it may have internal injuries. It could have had broken ribs or a collapsed lung or heart! Blunt abdominal trauma can injure internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, or spleen. The abdominal wall of a baby squirrel is very thin. If you see a dark purple discoloration of the abdomen, this is an ominous sign that indicates internal bleeding.

A squirrel in this state can’t do much for a baby. A vet might assess the animal, but probably won’t do much other than watch and support its breathing struggle with oxygen and a warm environment until it passes. In my years as a squirrel rehabilitator, I have found that squirrels love to have their heads and necks gently rubbed, it is very soothing and calming to them. Death is part of life. For me, holding and comforting a dying squirrel helps me realize how precious and short life is. It gives me immense joy and satisfaction to care for these magnificent creatures and thank God that even in death I can make a difference!

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