Providing the proper food or formula and ensuring warmth and hygiene are essential to caring for a young squirrel. However, allowing a baby squirrel to be reared by its mother or by a wildlife rehabilitator is best.
The best course of action upon finding an uninjured baby squirrel is to leave the animal alone and observe it, since the mother may return for the infant. If the baby is indeed an orphan, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can provide the best care. In some regions it is illegal for laypersons to possess or care for wildlife. In the event that a lay responder must provide care, the first concern is to warm and hydrate the baby. Placing a heating pad beneath a plastic tub and layering the tub bottom with soft towels provides a good makeshift incubator for warming a baby squirrel.
An electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte, is important for hydration before any formula or food. When the baby is ready for formula, companies such as Fox Valley Animal Nutrition produce formula specifically for squirrels, with appropriate mixing instructions. It is important to start with weaker concentrations and work up to full formula concentration. Feeding is best performed using a syringe and rubber nipple while the squirrel is in an upright position, and the syringe should be at a 45-degree angle. If milk bubbles out of the baby's nose, stop feeding, and tilt the squirrel forward to allow fluid drainage. The baby needs to eat 5 percent of its body weight every two to five hours, depending on age.
Stimulating infant squirrels to eliminate after feeding is important for hygiene. Wiping the genital area with a warm, damp cotton ball or soft cloth stimulates elimination while keeping the baby clean.