Have you stumbled upon an orphaned chipmunk? What with their size and those wide, black eyes, baby chipmunks can be hard to resist. Nevertheless, the first thing you need to do is figure out whether a chipmunk even needs your help or not. Chances are, it may just be out and about but may not necessarily be an orphan. Take a look around and see if you can spot its mother.
There are other signs that can help you discern whether a chipmunk is orphaned as well. For example, if the chipmunk doesn’t make too much effort to evade you and looks very thin, then it may need your help.
Now that you have managed to rescue a baby chipmunk, what’s next? Caring for a chipmunk isn’t easy and there’s a lot that you will have to learn. In this article, I’m going to talk about one of the most primary aspects of caring for a chipmunk— knowing what to feed it. Let’s get started.
How Old Is The Chipmunk?
Before you can decide on the diet of a baby chipmunk, it’s essential to identify their age. Here’s a quick guide that can help.
- 1 week old – The chipmunk will have no fur, and its eyes and ears will be closed
- 2 – 3 weeks old – The chipmunk will still have its eyes and ears closed. However, the color pattern of its fur will be fully developed.
- 4 weeks old – The chipmunk will finally open its eyes at this stage. Its ears will open as well.
- 5 weeks old – The chipmunk will become physically active and will begin to move around. Its eyes will become focused as well.
- 8 weeks old – The chipmunk will become increasingly active. Its coat will have fully developed as well.
- 9 – 10 – weeks – The chipmunk will near maturity and will be ready to be independent.
Feeding a Baby Chipmunk
Now that we have identified the developmental characteristics associated with their growth, we can learn a little a bit about what to feed them.
Rehydrate the Chipmunk
A recently orphaned chipmunk is likely to be severely dehydrated. Help them warm up a little and make them drink the moderately-warm rehydration solution. You can use Pedialyte for this. This rehydration solution is easily available in drug stores. The solution can be administered via an eyedropper or a syringe. Give the solution after every 2 hours for the first 12 hours. This will help ensure the chipmunk is sufficiently hydrated.
Sorting Food Types
Depending on their age, you can feed a baby chipmunk with the following:
Liquefied Food: This is suitable when the chipmunk is 1 to 3 weeks old. You can provide them with electrolyte solutions. You can mix Esbilac powder formula with water and feed it to the chipmunk. If the chipmunk is 1 week old, feed it 6 times a day but keep the amount limited to 1 cc. Once the chipmunk is 2 to 3 weeks old, you can reduce the number of feeds to 5 times a day. The amount will be increased to 2 ccs.
Supplement-based Solid Food: When the chipmunk is 4 weeks old, you can switch to supplement-based solid foods. This primarily consists of rodent chow. Feed the chipmunk 4 times a day. The amount of the feed must be increased to 8 ccs.
Nuts: The chipmunk will be ready to eat nuts at 5 weeks and onwards. You can feed them whenever required. There is no particular limit regarding the amount as well. Other foods suitable at 5 weeks include crackers, twigs, small branches, and small pieces of vegetables.
Fruits: You can include fruits in the diet of a baby chipmunk once it is 8 weeks old. Once again, there is no requirement regarding the number of minimum feeds or the amount.
Vegetable Plants and Worms: These are suitable once the chipmunk is 9 weeks old. You can feed them to the chipmunk whenever required. There is no minimum amount as well.
To Sum It Up
There’s a lot that goes into taking care of a baby chipmunk. Age is the most significant driving factor in the diet of a baby chipmunk. If you happen to find one, make sure you hydrate them with a rehydration solution such as Pedialyte.
Once the chipmunk is hydrated, then depending on their age, you can feed them with liquid food, solid food supplements, nuts, vegetables, fruits, or worms. Once the chipmunk is mature, you can consider setting them free in the wild. Consider getting in touch with the concerned wildlife preservation authorities before you do this. A pet chipmunk will not be able to adapt to survive in the wild. You must also check up on the state laws regarding keeping chipmunks as pets.