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CARE FOR ORPHANED CHIPMUNKS
http://www.orphanedwildlifecare.com/chipmunkcare.htm

Orphaned Squirrel
Orphaned Chipmunk
Orphaned Raccoon
Orphaned Skunk
Orphaned Rabbit/Hare
Orphaned Woodchuck

IS THIS CHIPMUNK TRULY ORPHANED? If the baby chipmunk is consistently out of the burrow, is easy to catch, if there is no sign of mom, and/or if it is extremely thin, likely it needs help. If you think mom is still around, it is worth trying to reunite, even if you have touched the animal, mom will take it back if she can help, she may come and then leave, but come back for it in a few hours. To reunite, leave the baby in the exact spot where found (mom won't know to go look anywhere else), you can place a hot water bottle (wrapped in a towel) under it for warmth. (Do not cover the animal with any materials; leave in plain view, otherwise mom won't be able to find it). Monitor from inside. Try only during daylight. If after several hours mom does not at least come to see the chipmunk then it needs help.

 

RAISING A SINGLE CHIPMUNK: If you determine that the chipmunk is orphaned, it will have littermates that also need help so continue to check the area frequently for up to a week. Handling of the chipmunk should be minimal, give toys to stimulate, keep confined (i.e. in a cage), and do not treat as a pet. It is illegal to keep as a pet plus it wouldn't make a good pet, as it's a wild animal.

 

AGING THE CHIPMUNK: In order to properly care for the baby you have found, it is important to know its age. Consult the chart on the back to assess age.

 

FEEDING: Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. Pedialyte is a rehydration solution available in drug stores-it should be heated to body temperature and offered every 2 hours for the first several feedings using a 1cc oral syringe. Feed the baby chipmunk esbilac powder, mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Esbilac is a puppy milk replacer, which you should be able to purchase at a vet or pet store. Human baby pablums, cows milk, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death. Use a 1cc oral syringe (try a vet or pharmacy), warm the formula, and hold the chipmunk in a towel, firmly, and covering its eyes. The chipmunk will suck very quickly and take too much formula if you are not in total control. If this happens the chipmunk will sneeze formula out of its nose Stop feeding, turn upside down, gently rub its back, and gently wipe the excess formula from its nose. Repeat this for about 5 minutes or until the sneezing stops and breathing returns to normal. If severe this can cause immediate death or pneumonia on a long-term basis. This is why bottles are not suitable to use. To avoid this from occurring feed in a quiet room, go slowly and watch both the chipmunk and the syringe, if air bubbles appear in the syringe, stop feeding and expel the air, (see chart on back for feeding schedule). Once feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth as formula dries quickly and causes fur loss. It is very critical that baby chipmunks are stimulated to urinate before and after every feed. The chipmunk may be doing it a bit on its own but this may be overflow and if not stimulated the bladder will rupture. To stimulate a baby chipmunk hold it over a face cloth. Dip either your finger or a Q-tip in warm water and then light feathery strokes over its genital area will cause the chipmunk to urinate and/or have a bowel movement. Once the chipmunk starts to pee don't stop as the chipmunk will then stop.

 

HOUSING: Housing requirements will change as the chipmunk grows and develops, see chart for details.

 

RELEASE: The chipmunks will not be ready to be released until they are around 9-10 weeks old. It is ideal for the chipmunks to spend a couple of weeks in their large cage (2ft x 4ft and 4ft high, made of 1/2 welded wire mesh), with a nesting box (1ft x 1ft) on the floor of the cage, in a secure garage or shed. Avoid wood chips, they are not good insulation and release aromatic oils that are hard on chipmunk respiration. Doors and windows in the shed can be left open as long as there is someone to monitor to keep animals out (even if other animals such as raccoons cannot get into the cage, their attempt to get in will cause the chipmunks to die of stress), before dark the doors should be closed. They should be in the shed on the property where they will be released. Before releasing it is important to investigate the area, if there are neighbours trapping or harming chipmunks, they should not be released there. Check the forecast to be sure there will be at least 2-3 days of dry weather after the chipmunks are released. When the chipmunks have become acclimatized, the nesting box can now be used as a release box. Provide natural nesting materials in the box such as dry leaves and grass. Return to the site daily to provide food so that the chipmunks can adapt more easily. The release site should be a wooded area with plenty of natural vegetation, rock outcroppings, large trees with well-developed root systems for burrowing, an accessible water source, and an area where chipmunks are known to live. Since transitional care is required, the chipmunks must be released on private property, where caregivers are present.

 

*In some jurisdictions it is illegal to care for wildlife and you should consult your government wildlife agency.

 

INTERNET SITES: There is some good information on the Internet, but some Internet sites give advice that will kill the animals you are trying to help please be very careful. www.squirreltales.org
www.squirrelrehab.org/rehabinfo/orphaned.html
www.rescuedrabbits.org
www.squirrelsanctuary.org/
www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/orphan.html

STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT AND BASIC CARE GUIDE FOR CHIPMUNKS

AGE (weeks)

 

DESCRIPTION

FEEDING SCHEDULE

HOUSING

SPECIAL CARE

Birth - 1 week

 

1.      1.5 2 inches long

2.      no fur, eyes closed

Formula: Very young chips take tiny amounts at each feed and it is extremely important to maintain the intake of nourishment. Feed drop wise every 3 hrs or 6 times per day (ie. 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30)

 

A cardboard box animal carrier lined

with several layers of soft cloth/

flannel that doesn't have any holes or

hanging threads.

Should be in a warm room away from

drafts & noise.

Change bedding twice daily.

Do not use newspaper or wood chips for bedding, ink is toxic, and the chips will get wet with urine, use towels.

Supplemental heat source - hot

water bottle wrapped in toweling

for warmth. MAKE SURE

THAT THE BOTTLE DOESN'T

LEAK!

 

Be sure babies are fully awake

before feeding. Stimulate babies

after each feeding - rub genital area

with a wet finger or Q-tip until

there is a bowel movement

&/or urination.

 

1 - 2 weeks

Stripes appear, eyes still closed, becoming active

Formula: 1-2 mls every 3 hours or 6 times per day

 

Same as above

Same as above

2 - 3 weeks

Color pattern fully developed, eyes closed, looks like a miniature adult

Formula: 2-3 mls, every 31/2 hours, 5 times per day (ie. 7:30, 11:00, 2:30, 6:00, 9:30)

Same as above

Same as above

3 - 4 weeks

Eyes and ears open

Formula: 3-4 mls, every

four hours or 4 times per day. (ie. 9, 1, 5, 9). Give a few pieces of rodent chow or nutriblock cut very small and a separate dish of fruit: apple, banana, and grape

A medium pet carrier should be

used as chipmunks become more

mobile. Ensure front grate holes if too large are covered with welded wire mesh. Don't use a cardboard box as they will chew their way out.

Change bedding twice daily

 

 

Remove heat source gradually

(e.g., several hrs a day, remove night heat last. Monitor chipmunks; if not maintaining body heat reintroduce external heat source.

 

4 - 5 weeks

Becoming increasingly active

Formula: 4-5 mls, every 5 hours, three times per day (ie. 9, 2, 7). Give small dish of rodent chow and unsalted sriped sunflower seeds and separate dish of fruit

 

Teething materials should be provided

(e.g., twigs varying length & diameter)

Rodent lab chow is crucial to the animals' good health & development. If chow introduced as teething material chipmunks will

acquire taste for it & accept as staple of their diet once weaned.

5-6 weeks

 

Formula: 4-5 mls twice a day. (ie. 9, 5). Give rodent chow, sunflower seeds, and peanuts and separate dish of fruit as well as veggies: yam, broccoli, spinach

Same as above

 

Same as above

6-7 weeks

 

Formula: 4-5 mls, one time a day. Give rodent chow, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cracked walnut as well as fruit and veggies

 

Same as above

 

Same as above

7-8 weeks

Thick coat and VERY active and swift

Free choice of 15% lab chow, 50% nuts including sunflower seeds, peanuts, hard shell nuts and 35% fruit and veggies. Also provide fresh branches, leaves, and pine cones

. move to a new cage (2ft x 4ft x 4ft);large enough to provide plenty of exercise with a nesting box (1ft x 1ft)

Supply a variety of natural

materials in cage, ie leaves

still attached to boughs and twigs.

Release when 9-10 weeks old.