Frustrated by the lack of help for orphaned wildlife? You can make a difference by clicking on www.helpbabywildlife.ca. and signing the petition.

 

CARE FOR ORPHANED WOODCHUCKS
http://www.orphanedwildlifecare.com/woodchuckcare.htm

 

 

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

IS THIS WOODCHUCK TRULY ORPHANED? If the baby woodchuck is out of its burrow for extended periods of time on its own, it is likely orphaned.

 

RAISING A SINGLE WOODCHUCK: If you determine that the woodchuck is orphaned, it will have littermates that also need help so continue to check the area frequently for up to a week. If no others are found it is vital to the woodchuck's proper socialization and release to be raised with other woodchucks, a single woodchuck has little chance of a successful release. Contact vets or local humane societies to try and find a buddy. If this is impossible, handling of the woodchuck 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 WOODCHUCK: 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 that is available in drug stores- it should be heated to body temperature and offered every couple hours for the first several feedings. Feed the baby woodchuck 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. Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death. Use a 1cc or 5cc oral syringe (try a vet or pharmacy), warm the formula, and hold the woodchuck in a towel, firmly, and covering its eyes. The woodchuck will suck very quickly and take too much formula if you are not in total control. If this happens the woodchuck 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 woodchuck 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 woodchucks are stimulated to urinate before and after every feed. The woodchuck 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 woodchuck 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 woodchuck to urinate and/or have a bowel movement. Once the woodchuck starts to pee don't stop as the woodchuck will then stop.

 

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

 

RELEASE: The woodchucks will not be ready to be released until they are 13-14 weeks old. It is ideal for the woodchucks to spend 4 weeks in their large outdoor cage (8ft x 4ft, made of 1 welded wire mesh including the bottom), with a nesting box (2ft x 2ft) on the floor of the cage. The cage must also provide a sandbox area so the woodchucks will learn to dig as well as a regular supply of branches they can chew on. Do not allow the family pets access to the woodchucks, otherwise you will be teaching them that they have nothing to fear from domestic cats and dogs, something that could cost them their life in the wild. For release, the site should be a clearing, field, or rocky slope with existing woodchuck burrows. The site should not be a site where dogs are present. Ideally, the site chosen should be one near where either you or someone you know lives in case the woodchucks get into difficulty. Before releasing it is important to investigate the area, if there are neighbours trapping or harming woodchucks, they should not be released there. Also, check the forecast to be sure there will be at least 2-3 days of dry weather after the woodchucks are released. Woodchucks should be released during the day and transported as far as possible from roads. Find an existing and unoccupied burrow or dig them a starter hole. Leave food in the immediate area, away from the burrow entrance by at least ten feet.

 

*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 other 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

WOODCHUCK DEVELOPMENT AND CARE GUIDE

 

 

AGE

FEEDING

SCHEDULE

STIMULATION

HOUSING

SPECIAL CARE

Birth

-weight 30g

-eyes closed

-no fur, skin wrinkled

-about 4 inches long

2-3 mls. Formula

 

5- 6 times per day.

-stimulate genital area

before and after

feeding to induce

elimination.

-use a q-tip or fingertip dipped in warm water.

-keep indoors, in a

cardboard box filled with

soft, ravel free blankets.

-hot water bottle well wrapped for warmth

-protect from drafts.

 

-wrap woodchuck in a soft blanket when removed from box, to protect from drafts.

-watch for signs of diarrhea. Stool may

turn soft and yellow from the formula.

 

 

1 week

-eyes closed

-skin becomes pigmented

4-5 mls. Formula

 

5- 6 times per day

-same as above

-same as above

-wrap in blanket while feeding.

 

 

 

2 weeks

-eyes closed

-quite inactive

-fur starting to come in all over body

6-8 mls. Formula

 

5 times per day

-same as above

-same as above

 

-wrap in blanket while feeding.

-any diarrhea from formula should have

cleared up by now.

 

 

3 weeks

-eyes closed

-fully furred

-beginning to crawl

8-10 mls. Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above

-May require larger box or

animal carrier filled

with soft, ravel free

blankets.

 

-wrap in blanket while feeding.

 

 

4 weeks

-weight 150g

-eyes first open

-more active

10-15 mls. Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above.

-same as above

 

-same as above. Introduce rabbit pellets and a separate dish of fruit comprised of banana and peeled apple. Also offer a water bottle hung on the carrier door.

 

5 weeks

 

15-20 mls.

Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above.

-heat source may be

removed

-introduce natural greens such as dandelions and clover and a separate dish of vegetables consisting of yam, broccoli, and spinach. Continue fruit and lab chow as well.

 

6 weeks

-steady on feet

25-30 mls.

Formula

 

3 times per day

 

-the woodchuck should now eliminate on its own.

-same as above

-same as above. Natural greens should be replenished and or changed four to five times a day.

 

7 weeks

 

35-50 mls.

Formula

 

2 times per day

 

 

-move into the outdoor

cage. Include sandbox area.

-woodchuck should be eating solids

consistently.

 

8 weeks

-weight 1000g

Weaned

 

 

-woodchucks should now

be housed in outdoor cage

-Continue to give rabbit pellets and a variety of natural greens and vegetables. As long as they are eating increased amounts of solids they will hibernate in the fall so they need a lot of stored fat.