Have you come across an orphaned baby chipmunk, and are unaware what to do with it, or how to care for it? This PetPonder article is directed towards aiding you, to care for baby chipmunks.
Caring for something smaller or rather insignificant is not demeaning; on the contrary, lending a helping hand and caring for babies and abandoned infants of animals is more rewarding and enriching than any other act of humanity. Baby chipmunks or any other newborn for that matter are as fragile as human babies. Appropriate care needs to be taken to foster growth in these little ones of the wild, especially when they are abandoned by their mother. Newborn chipmunks are fragile, and if proper care is not administered to them, they may die. Here is a guide, to help you care for abandoned/orphaned baby chipmunks.
Like all babies, chipmunks need their mother for survival. When you find a deserted chipmunk, ensure that you keep the baby safe from predators in the very place where you spotted it. In case the mother is still around, she will come in search of her offspring. However, administer it a few drops of liquid food at regular intervals to aid the baby in sustaining through the day. Also remember to keep the baby warm to curtail it from dying. If you find that the mother does not come back, take the chipmunk home, and provide it with the much-needed nourishment and warmth. Firstly, it is essential that you determine the age of the chipmunk in order to give it proper nourishment. The following chart will help you know the age of the baby. It describes how chipmunks characteristics change as they grow.
|Chipmunk Growth Chart|
|Age||Characteristics||Food Type||No. of Feeds||Amount|
|1 week||Naked; Closed eyes||Liquefied food; Electolyte solution; Esbilac||6 times/day||1cc|
|2-3 weeks||Eyes still closed; color pattern fully developed||Liquefied food||5 times/day||2cc|
|4 weeks||Eyes and ears open||Supplement solid food; Rodent chow||4 times/day||8cc|
|5 weeks||Move around; Eyes open and focused||Nuts, crackers, veggie bits; twigs and baby limbs to chew||Free feed||—|
|8 weeks||Active and fast; fully developed coat||Nuts and fruits||Free feed||—|
|9-10 weeks||Ready to be independent||Nuts, veggies, worms||Set free||—|
- Administer feed proportions according to the age of the baby chipmunk.
- Make sure to give it warm (body temperature) liquid only.
- Add high protein, dry cereal to milk. Ensure it is thin enough to pass through the nipple of the feeder.
- Esbilac is a good source of nourishment for the chipmunk baby.
- Provide needed salts through electrolyte solution, take care of the doses to be administered.
- Provide crackers and raw veggie bits to the chipmunks, once they are old enough to eat solids.
- All types of fruits are favorable to be given to infant chipmunks.
- You can even feed it some nuts and seeds.
- Avoid feeding whole goat milk, vitamin drops, iron drops, or Karo syrup, as it may cause death.
- Do not overfeed the baby, as it may result in diarrhea.
- Feed nuts and seeds in moderation to avoid fattening of the chipmunk.
- Provide water in a bottle to avoid accidental spills.
- Chipmunk babies, if left unattended, are prone to predators lurking around in the form of cats, dogs, snakes, and not to forget ants.
- When you find an abandoned infant chipmunk, carefully take it home, and provide it with the needed nourishment and warmth.
- Place the chipmunk in a basket/box lined with a bed of flannel cloth, if its skin is very thin and the internal organs are easily visible.
- Avoid wooden chips and shavings as these will get wet, and possibly harm the young chipmunk.
- Keep the basket/box well guarded from possible predators, by surrounding the basket with close knit wire mesh.
- Ensure there are no loose threads or holes in the flannel cloth to avoid accidental death.
- Keep a check on the baby chipmunk every once in a while.
- Just like a human baby needs his/her mother’s warmth, so do the baby chipmunks. They need to be kept warm for their survival.
- When you place them in a box, ensure that it will keep them warm.
- Place a warm water bottle in the box to provide warmth.
- Keep a check on the water temperature, and refill with warm water constantly.
- Besides, you can even place the box under 100 watt bulb to keep the chipmunks warm.
- Make a quick temperature check after 15 minutes to ensure the temperature is not above 90°F and not under 75°F.
- Throw in some soft toy, that will act as a foster mother for the young chipmunks to cuddle up to.
- Discontinue using a bulb, once they have fur on their bodies.
- Baby chipmunk care also involves keeping them well-hydrated.
- While feeding the babies, be in control of the feed, as infants try to lap up too much too soon.
- If the baby begins to sneeze due to excessive feed, gently turn it over and stroke its back.
- Stimulate the baby using a warm and moistened Q-tip, to rub its genitals, to encourage urination and defecation, every time you feed.
- If the baby shows symptoms of diarrhea, discontinue milk feed, or reduce the number of feeds.
- Remember to replace the sheets every day, to ensure hygienic conditions for the newborn.
- Disinfect the cage every week.
- Do not forget to dust the chipmunks with rotenone powder to ward off fleas and lice.
- Remember to clean/wipe the face of the chipmunk after every feed to avoid damage to whiskers and fur.
These tips will help you take care of the abandoned chipmunk, and provide it some much-needed shelter. However, do not forget to consult a local vet to help you go about with caring for the infant. Also, bear in mind, that it is considered an offense to cage wild animals. Seek permission from authorities before you venture to make it your pet.