Home Squirrels How Long Can A Baby Squirrel Go Without Eating? (Exact Duration!)

How Long Can A Baby Squirrel Go Without Eating? (Exact Duration!)

by Dean

How long can a baby squirrel go without eating? Adult squirrels are known for their stamina and can go without food for around 8 days. However, young squirrels will likely starve to death within 3 to 5 days. Newborn babies depend entirely on their mothers for all their nutrition and may not last more than 12 to 24 hours without their mother’s milk. So it is best to provide them with food as soon as possible to ensure their health and survival.

Whether you are dealing with an abandoned baby squirrel or just curious about how long a baby squirrel can go without eating, we are here to help. This article will cover the exact duration a baby squirrel can last without feeding. We will also cover how often you should feed a baby squirrel and what they should or shouldn’t eat. Read on to find out all about it.

How Long Can A Baby Squirrel Go Without Eating

How Long Can A Baby Squirrel Go Without Eating?

The period a baby squirrel can go without feeding depends on a lot of factors, including the animal’s age, squirrel species, and whether or not it’s still nursing. Newborns can go without eating for as long as 12 to 24 hours, whereas young squirrels can survive 3 to 5 days or less. After this duration, babies are likely to starve to death if they don’t receive nutrition from their mothers or caregivers.

How Often Should You Feed Baby Squirrels?

Baby squirrels rely on their mother or caregivers for all of their nutritional requirements. They are born blind, hairless, and helpless and require frequent feeding during the first two weeks of their life. After 6 weeks, they may start eating on their own.

The general rule of thumb for a newborn baby (eyes close to open) is that you should feed it every 3 to 4 hours, including overnight. The duration significantly increases, and after opening their eyes to weaning, they require food every 4 to 5 hours a day. Nevertheless, this feeding duration varies from squirrel to squirrel and from species to species. So if you have any concerns regarding the frequency of a squirrel’s feeding, contact your nearest exotic animal veterinarian as early as possible.

What Do Baby Squirrels Eat

What Do Baby Squirrels Eat?

Newborn baby squirrels require mothers’ milk to thrive. It has everything a baby needs to develop a healthy immune system and grow faster. Nevertheless, if you have an orphaned baby squirrel on your hand, you can substitute the mother’s milk with a puppy milk replacement formula.

Never use the formula made for human consumption. Plus, try to avoid soy milk, goat milk, cow milk, or any other DIY recipes, as they can increase the risk of diarrhea which can cause dehydration.

As soon as the squirrels get out of the bottle-feeding stage at 6 weeks old, they try a variety of things, including fruits, insects, and nuts, to meet their nutritional requirements. They are omnivores and have a rich diet. Their primary diet consists of nuts, vegetables, meat, and fruit.

Here are the following things baby squirrels would love to eat.

  • Fruits

Squirrels love to devour fruits like strawberries. They are also known to consume grapes, apples, berries, watermelons, and seeds.

If you wish to feed a baby squirrel, you can offer fruit slices to give them an enjoyable treat. These adorable critters also enjoy wild berries, peaches, and Osage oranges.

  • Seeds

Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sprouts, and pine seeds make a tasty low-calorie treat for baby squirrels.

  • Nuts

Hazelnut, walnut, and beech nuts are rich sources of fat and protein and are considered a delicacy by squirrels. Other nuts that these fluff balls love include pecans, pistachios, pine cones, pine notes, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, and hickory nuts.

  • Insects

Baby squirrels will gladly munch on small insects. This is especially true in scenarios where there are no nuts available to satisfy their protein requirements. The insects they like to consume include crickets, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, larvae, and a few more.

  • Vegetables

Vegetables are a vital part of a squirrel’s regular diet. They enjoy leafy greens like lettuce, arugula, chard, spinach, and kale. Other greens they love to consume include eggplant, squash, reddish, root vegetables, carrots, beans, cabbage, celery, peas, tomatoes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

  • Fungi

Acorn truffles, oyster mushrooms, and truffles are some of the squirrel’s favorite fungi.

List Of Things Baby Squirrels Should Not Eat

Although squirrels have a varied diet, certain food items can be a direct threat to their health. Some foods are downright poisonous, while others are just not appropriate.

  • Cereals

Many animal enthusiasts love to feed squirrels, including baby squirrels, with cereals. It is critical to note that although squirrels enjoy grains, some breakfast cereals contain a high level of processed sugar (interlink article after uploading here) which can be harmful to these garden visitors.

  • Junk food

Squirrels are notorious for eating everything they can get their little paws on. This includes junk food like fries, crackers, hamburgers, and cheese. All this junk food can damage their digestive system and should be avoided.

Processed foods that contain preservatives and chemicals aren’t recommended either. Plus, you should never feed the dog or cat food to a squirrel.

  • High carb treats

Stay clear of treats that are high in the carb. These food items don’t provide any nutritional value to the squirrel. Sunflower seeds and corn are among these treats.

  • Human and pet formulas

Over the past few years, the internet has been vital in spreading some pretty convincing myths about what to feed a squirrel. And if you are an avid reader, you must have come across blogs stating that you can give human or kitten formula to a baby squirrel. This is a big no-no as such formulas contain a high level of additives and preservatives which may lead to seizures, nervousness, rickets, and even sudden death in baby squirrels.

Human and pet formulas
  • Peanuts

 Although squirrels enjoy munching on some peanuts, it is not suggested for them. Peanuts are legumes, not nuts. You can offer these legumes to diversify a squirrel’s diet, but it provides very little nutritional value.

Other goodies that should be avoided include

  • Salty foods
  • Marshmallows
  • Avocado skins and pits
  • Fruit seeds
  • Treats with a high starch content
  • Sugar loaded treats
  • Dates
  • Dry fruits
  • Raisins
  • Plums
  • Figs

Squirrels, especially baby squirrels, trust their caregivers when it comes to feeding. They will eat anything that comes from your hand. It is, thereby, critical for you not to feed them with anything that can be harmful. This includes popcorn, potato chips, cookies, cakes, and other foods.

What To Do If You Find A Baby Squirrel?

If you find a baby squirrel, the first step is determining whether it needs your help. If the baby has just fallen from its nest or tree nearby, wait a while and give the mother squirrel some time to relocate its babies. Keep other people and pets away from the baby and monitor from a safe distance.

However, if a juvenile squirrel keeps approaching and following people around, the mom is probably gone forever. Contact an animal rehabilitator, as the baby may be hungry and requires immediate care.

Here are a few scenarios where you may need to intervene

  • A nest falls from the tree
  • Baby falls from a tree
baby squirrel in palm of hand

How long can a baby squirrel go without eating? Final thoughts.

So how long can a baby squirrel go without food? The answer is: not very long. A baby squirrel needs to eat every two hours in order to survive. If it doesn’t, its health will deteriorate rapidly, and it may die within 24 hours.

So if you find a baby squirrel that seems hungry, don’t wait around. Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator immediately. They are trained to care for injured wildlife and will know how to properly care for these animals.

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