Found a Baby Flyer and Need Help?

Information about releasing flyers to the wild, removing them from the home and attracting them to your yard.
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Found a Baby Flyer and Need Help?

Postby Joan » Fri Sep 03, 2004 9:57 pm

Rehabbing Vs Harvesting From the Wild

NFSA HOF Sara Dixon said it well:
"Taking in an orphan critter of ANY species who is no longer able to be with its mother, caring and nurturing it around the clock for as many weeks, months, even years as is needed, giving it all the love possible so that baby's emotional health matches or surpasses its physical growth, accepting the financial responsibility for food, supplies, and medical care, researching and networking to provide for the complete care and rehab of this baby orphan--this is a WORK OF THE HEART.
Taking a healthy baby flying squirrel from its mother by trapping just to sell this baby for a price is, IMHO, just a WORK OF THE HEARTLESS."

Very General Description of Raising an Orphan Flyer to Release Back Into the Wild:
It is quite complicated and can be difficult if you have never hand raised a baby animal before. Website help: ... ation.html

1. Check for wounds as cat bites are nearly always fatal if not treated with strong antibiotics.
2. Pup should be kept at 85-90 degrees. A heating pad on low works well for this. Put it under only 1/2 the container the squirrel is in.
3. Small aquariums work well to house them. Cover the inside bottom with an old T-shirt or similar material. And use the same to cover the squirrel. Don't use terry cloth as their nails will get caught in it.
4. Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer is the formula to use. Formula needs to be heated till it just feels warm on your wrist. A syringe or eyedropper is used to feed the formula. Be careful about the amount of milk allowed to flow from the syringe/dropper. There is a dropper that has a bent end (not straight) - it seemed to work best. Dilute the formula some-not much-it is too strong for a small baby. Not one thing needs to be added to the formula.
5. If the eyes are not open, feed it every 4 hours, if they are open, 4 times a day. Do not feed it if it feels cool to the touch, the pup needs to be warmed up first. Feeding formula too fast can literally drown them. Feeding too much or too often is not good either. The stomach needs to be empty before feeding again. If the eyes are not open it needs to be stimulated to defecate after each feeding.
6. After their eyes open they can start solid foods. The eyes open at four weeks. They wean at about eight to ten weeks.
7. To be released they should not be handled after weaning.
They can be released at about 12 weeks if they can open hard shelled nuts.

Flying squirrel feeding guide:
© Copyright North American Wildlife Health Care Center

The following feeding guide has been used by the rehabilitators working with the North American Wildlife Health Care Center for 10 years successfully.
Remember, flying squirrels are nocturnal.
*** Flying squirrels eyes do not open for approximately three weeks.
*** The mother weans them completely by the time they are eight weeks of age. They mature much quicker than the gray squirrel.
*** Their diets are very similar to those of the gray squirrel in nature.
*** Once weaned in captivity and acclimated to outside night temperatures, release.
*** Stimulate after each feeding only until the eyes are open. Use a soft moist towel or cotton ball. Males tend to be more slow in responding. Since baby squirrels eliminate quite a bit of urine usually in spurts, stimulate until you are sure they are finished each time.
*** Flying squirrels seem to be very prone to over eating when
nursing which can be fatal if you don't control how much they consume each feeding.
Remember all guides are approximate. Use them with common sense allowing for the variations with each animal.

Age Amount Frequency
1 week 5% of body weight every 2 hours with 2 night feedings
2 weeks 5% of body weight every 3 hours with 2 night feedings
3 weeks 5% of body weight every 3 - 4 hours. No night feedings
4 weeks 5% of body weight every 4 hours. No night feedings
5 weeks 5% of body weight every 4 hours. No night feedings
6 - 8 weeks 5% of body weight every 4 hours. No night feedings

*** Wean and release as soon as possible. When leaving food in the cage, do so late evening and at night. Flying squirrels sleep during the day and hunt at night.

Baby Squirrel Hygiene Tips:
*** Gently remove all spilled formula from the baby's fur after each feeding. If the formula is allowed to harden, the fur will fall out.
*** If you wipe the entire body of a baby squirrel with a damp cloth, make sure you dry the squirrel completely. Do not return to cage chilled.
*** If urine burns appear in the genital area, apply corn starch after washing and drying. Do not use any other type of powder.
*** Baby squirrels frequently attempt to nurse each other's genital area. This is a serious problem for males. Apply a few drops of Bitter Apple on the genital area of both sexes. It will quickly discourage the inappropriate nursing. If they continue the nursing, separate to prevent damage.
*** Keep all feeding equipment clean. A bleach solution of 1/2 teaspoon bleach to 2 cups water may be used to sterilize the feeding equipment occasionally. Rinse well in hot water.

Help for Bloated Baby Squirrel:
If you find a baby squirrel bloated, submerge its small body into warm water up to the front legs where you are supporting its body. Gently rub the tummy and genital area for five minutes at a time.
Carefully dry the baby between soaks. Do not allow it to become chilled.
After several five minute soaks, you should find the bloat leaving.
Stop the formula feeding and return the baby squirrel to an electrolyte-rehydrating formula.
You may also lay the baby squirrel on its side and gently stroke down and towards the outside of its body for five minutes at a time.
Then turn the baby on its other side and repeat the treatment.
If the bloat is severe, the baby may squeal when you massage its tummy. Continue, but very gently.
If the bloat is not completely gone within 24 hours, seek professional help. An infection or parasites could be the problem.

Homemade Rehydrating Formula

1 tsp. salt
1 quart warm water
3 tbs. sugar
Mix thoroughly, and keep refrigerated. Heat as needed.
Other home remedies for emergency combating of dehydration include using flat cola, Gator Aide, 10-K at room temperature.
Commercial rehydrates include Pedialyte, Lactated or Acetated Ringers.

Getting Ready for Release

Beverly Lawrence-Sutton's Method
If the pups' eyes are open, they are at least 3 to 3½ weeks. It's not uncommon for infants to be fairly sedate when first "rescued" -- especially during the day. Flyer pups don't really start exploring their surroundings until they're about 5 weeks, and then, except for the time you might take them out of their nest box, they usually will not move around much until nighttime.
It's not unusual for a 6 week old pup to do plenty of sleeping, often all night. Most pups don't start getting really active at night until they're about 3 months old.
If you have any sort of garage, shed or barn, you can make the transition easier by providing a nice safe and secure nest box high on the eaves or in a loft. Put some store bought hard shell nuts nearby. Bed the nest box in 100% cotton balls, and if possible, make a source of water available in a close by high spot: e.g. a hanging planter, with a good size rock in it, filled with water, and pulled close to a branch can work well. The rock is to make it possible for any critter that might fall in to get the traction to get back out.

Sandy Goddard's Release Method
After they are vet checked for health, I put each one in a huge cage at the base of an old oak tree and feed them for 2 weeks while they are getting used to the area and wildlife. I never talk to them or try to have any interaction with them so they won't get too used to humans taking care of them. After 2 weeks I open the cage and continue putting out food and water for another 2 weeks, gradually tapering off the food supply. They, and probably half the wild life in the area, each return to the cage for a while, until after a month or so I don't seeing any signs of them using it.
The only thing I did to ensure their safety was to use a 3 level nest box to keep the predators out of it. I've placed 10 of those scattered around the area along with squirrel and bird feeders. They are one of the reasons I decided to start selling pups. It helps offset the cost of feeding all the wild life around here.
I see probably 20 or so flyers in the woods on weekends when I'm home in the evenings, so I think we have a good sized colony of them out there. I did have my local wildlife officer come out and relocate a pair of owls that also made the woods their home. I figured I'd give them every chance I could to live as long as possible in the wild.

Lisa's Method
The most important thing about raising orphans for release is that there MUST be more than one.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, a single flyer will bond to the caregiver.  However, if there are more than one, they will tend to bond with each other. 
The next thing is to handle the pups as little as possible.  Hold them while feeding and wiping, that's it.  Don't talk to them.  This is VERY difficult, believe me, I know.  Instinct dictates that we love and handle and nurture.  If they are to be released, this will not be in their best interest.  Also, keep them in a room away from people so that they do not become accustomed to human voices and smells.
It is difficult to raise and release orphan flyers, but it is possible. 

Other Rehab sites: ... rdiet.html ... ... for_th.htm

Possession of Wild and/or "Illegal" Flyers
Most states do not allow native wildlife to be caught and kept captive. Many states require a permit to possess native wildlife. Those that require a permit usually require proof that the animals were purchased from a permitted dealer or breeder. There are states that do not allow flyers as pets no matter how you acquire them.
Since the monkey pox scare in the spring of '03, many states do not allow rodents to be brought in from other states and most airlines have an embargo on shipping any rodents including flyers.
Everyone needs to be aware of their state and local laws or their animals can be confiscated. Quite a few states euthanize confiscated animals that they feel can't be released back into the wild.
Here is a site that tells the woes of a squirrel owner who had their "Nutkin" confiscated even though they were sure everything was done legally.
In Pennsylvania they will track down animals owners and confiscate. Some of the animals have died while in the care of the game authority pending disposition of the cases there.

How To Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator

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Re: Found a Baby Flyer and Need Help?

Postby Kay » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:54 pm
Use this site to find a rehabber near you that can help. If I had clicking babies, I'd get them on baytril antibiotic. It works for pneumonia. Good wishes, and thanks for helping them.

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Re: Found a Baby Flyer and Need Help?

Postby ccsweets » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:00 pm

Im new to this site and to any group associated with flyer's. But I did want to reply and let any one know if they are located around or near the Gulf Cost (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi areas), and they need help with FOUND (not taken from nest) babies or adults I can help. I have yet to find any one in the area with any real experience with flyers. I have rescued many flyers and I am currently rehabbing an older adult. If any one needs help please let me know. I do not charge anything, I am offering my help because I know when I needed help years ago I couldnt find it and I was so worried I couldnt help. But now after MANY rehabbed babies I have more experience now and I am willing to help other. If any one in the area needs my help please email me at and I will gladly help.

2016 UPDATE: I no longer live near the gulf coast but I do have several people who are experienced that may be able to help you out if you need it. I am still available daily to help guide people through the process of caring for flyers when they need more personalized advice. And yes, even after all these years and moving away I am still a proud mother of my rescued flyers. Also just created a Facebook page for Flyers ... 004320118/
Squammy to three spoiled flyers
my Southern Flying Squirrel Care Tips FB page
Feel free to stop by and share your SFS love or photos of your flyer on the page

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