Are you looking for an introduction to foods for baby squirrels? Read on for the ultimate food intro guide recommended by an expert squirrel rehabber! Our Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart is an excellent resource for rehabbers, squirrel owners, and wildlife rehabilitators to introduce new foods to baby squirrels. We also provide in-depth information about what age is suitable for different foods.
Disclaimer: If you find a sick, injured, or orphaned animal, please don’t take on the responsibility of caring for it yourself. Please locate a licensed rehabber in your area, and remember, this is about the animal’s one chance at life.
Looking for a Rehabber? Here are 3 Resources
- Squirrel Rehab Locator Map – input your zip code or city into the search bar of Google Maps.
- Animal Help Now – licensed rehabber directory
- Squirrel Connections – licensed rehabber directory by state
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart: Feeding Tips
The baby squirrel feeding tips are the best practices of Karen C., an expert rehabber in New Orleans, LA. If you want to connect with Karen, message her on her Instagram @omakoda.
Squirrels need a quality formula from birth through self-wean, usually at 12 to 14 weeks of age.
Fresh drinking water is available as soon as the squirrels open their eyes, usually around 5 weeks old. My preference is to expose the squirrel to water, even though squirrels may not begin to drink water for one to two weeks after opening their eyes.
Starting daily at 4 weeks of age, Karen places a fresh piece of rodent block in their feeding dish. The squirrel gets accustomed to the smell by having a new piece daily. They may not eat the block immediately but begin to gnaw on it.
Rodent blocks are offered daily while the squirrel is in Rehabber Karen’s care. At the age of 8 weeks, the serving increases to two (2) blocks per day.
When squirrel babies open their eyes, Karen offers solid food. When she first began rehabilitating squirrels, she witnessed babies having diarrhea and bloat. These unfortunate circumstances led her to develop a system to introduce new foods. This series of introductions work for Karen, and individual results may vary.
How Old are Squirrels When They Open Their Eyes?
Squirrel species can vary in their development, but most baby squirrels open their eyes around 4 to 5 weeks of age. At birth, squirrels are hairless, blind, and helpless, relying on their mother’s care for nourishment and protection. As they grow, they develop fur, gain mobility, and eventually open their eyes. Once their eyes are open, they become more aware of their surroundings and start to venture out of the nest and explore, typically around 6 to 8 weeks of age.
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart 5 to 8 Weeks Old: Introduction to Vegetables & Fruits
At 5 weeks old, or when eyes are open, the squirrel is introduced to vegetables. Karen offers one kind of vegetable at a time. If there are no issues after 24 hours, another veggie is introduced. If any vegetable causes problems like diarrhea or bloat, the veggie is discontinued and introduced later.
Cut vegetables into big chunks to avoid choking. Continuallymonitor when introducing new foods.
5 to 8 weeks old
The only fruit offered during this time (5 to 8 weeks old) is avocado. Most squirrels LOVE avocados. Avocados can cause choking because the squirrels become overzealous and put too much in their mouth.
Cut avocado into thin slices and hand-feed due to possible choking hazards. Please remember to Continually monitor when introducing new foods.
|5 to 8 weeks old: Vegetables & Fruit Introduction|
|Garbanzo beans (fresh)|
|Sugar snap peas|
| 5 to 8 weeks old: Fruit|
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart 6 to 7 Weeks Old: Introduction to Nuts
Karen introduces shelled almonds and pecans at 6 to 7 weeks old. One piece is given as a bedtime treat.
Introducing unshelled nuts to squirrels is tricky due to nut aggression. Karen saves unshelled nuts when the squirrels get transferred to the release enclosure. When in the release enclosure, Karen stops handling the squirrels.
Nuts in the shell can turn squirrels into little devils. If you’re not worried about nut aggression, then 6 to 7-week-old squirrels can have 1 to 2 nuts, NO more than that if the squirrel is captive.
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart 8 to 9 Weeks Old: New Fruit Introductions
Karen offers apples to squirrels at 8 to 9 weeks of age. If there are no issues after 24 hours, feed blueberries, followed by grapes. Please remember to give only one type of fruit at a time. If there are no problems, continue with other varieties like blackberries, cantaloupe, cherries, coconut, cranberries, citrus, kiwi, persimmon, pomegranate, raspberries, etc., watermelon.
During a volunteer rehab shift, Karen witnessed an 8-week-old squirrel struggling. A piece of apple skin was stuck to the squirrel’s palate, and removing the skin took two people. They considered themselves lucky to be there during that emergency and used it as a lesson learned.
Remove apple and grape skins until the Squirrel is 10 weeks old or until you are sure it can handle itWithout choking.
| 8 to 9 weeks old:|
|Apples (introduce first & remove skin)|
|Grapes (remove skin)|
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart 9 to 10 Weeks Old: Animal Protein Introductions
At 9-10 weeks old, the squirrels are fed animal protein. This includes dried grasshoppers, crickets, live or dried mealworms, and live moths. Please note that not all squirrels are into these, but giving them a try is a good idea.
| 9 to 10 weeks old:|
Animal Protein Introductions
|Live or dried mealworms|
Baby Squirrel Feeding Chart 9 to 10 Weeks Old: Wild Food Introductions
Squirrels love wild foods offered at 9 to 10 weeks of age. As a rehabber, Karen’s job is to familiarize the squirrels with some of the local area’s natural foods. If you are a rehabber, have a captive or non-release squirrel, consider educating yourself on wild edibles.
The following list I offer includes: branches with lichen, camellia buds, oxalis (all parts), pine cones, rosebuds, rose hips, white clover (all parts), wild hibiscus, etc.
| 9 to 10 weeks old:|
Wild Food Introductions
|Oxalis (all parts)|
|White clover (all parts)|
One of the most important things to know when caring for baby squirrels is what they need to eat. The diet a baby squirrel requires is complex. Learning to feed a baby squirrel can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have tips or tricks that have worked for you when feeding baby squirrels, send Kitty City Squirrels a message or leave a comment below.