How to Make a Squirrel Incubator
Keeping a baby squirrel warm is very easy and can usually be accomplished with readily available household items.
Baby squirrels require supplemental heat until they are fully furred (usually one or two weeks after their eyes open.
The ‘Incubator’ should be the main housing area for the baby for several weeks until it is well furred.
Below are steps for building your own safe and easy makeshift incubator for baby squirrels.
10-gallon tub or aquarium container for a newborn (20-gallon or larger for older infants and litters)
2-3 soft cloths (soft cotton, flannel or fleece)
1 ventilated top or lid with multiple holes drilled
1 regular heating pad (Important: one that doesn’t have an auto-shut off feature) or a heat lamp
1. Select a quiet location where the baby will be undisturbed. A place free from direct sunlight, excessive heat, cold, drafts, foot traffic, noise (stereos, TV’s etc.), pets or small children.
2. Place a towel on a solid surface to protect if from the heat of pad.
3. Place a regular heating pad on the towel.
4. On top of the heating pad, place storage container, tub, or aquarium - leaving 1/2 of the container off of the heating pad. This allows the baby to move from warmer to cooler spots as needed.
5. Inside the container, place a soft lint/snag free cloth covering the entire bottom surface.
6. On top form a small ‘den’ or hollow with one or two soft cloths to provide a place for the baby to snuggle under.
7. Cover with a screen or other well ventilated top. Ensure proper airflow. Ensure no pets or small children can disturb the baby.
8. Set the heat pad to the Low setting. Make sure the heating pad doesn’t have an auto shut off feature that will leave the baby cold when the timer expires.
Heating pads can overheat or fail. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can kill if not quickly remedied - Always test, monitor and use only reliable equipment! Check to make sure the heating pad does not have an automatic shut-off feature and never set it above the 'Low' setting.
If you use a heat lamp, make sure that the baby can easily move away from the heat. DO NOT place it too close. Ensure that the baby has a place to snuggle in to block out the light. Consider a red lamp to reduce brightness.
To prevent loss of toes, watch to ensure that thread from cloth, human or pet hair, or other string does not get caught on the baby's nails or wrapped around a little toe. It’s a common problem so check daily!
Be sure to keep your baby in a place where it will be safe and completely separated from other domestic pets that are natural predators of squirrels - like cats, dogs, snakes & reptiles!