Baby squirrels and baby rats have striking resemblances. It can get hard to identify and differ between the two rodent species.
The internet has gone viral with shocking reactions of millions of viewers who seem unable to differentiate between squirrels and rats.
After extensive studies about baby squirrel vs baby rat, we wrote this accurate article after researching numerous rodent experts and pet owners.
Baby Squirrel vs Baby Rat: The Complete Guide!
Newborn Rat, also known as Rat pups, are so minute that they can even settle in teaspoons. The ears of a rat pup are sealed, closed, and unfolded till the twelfth day, and the tail is short for overall body size.
The skin is so thin that their eyeballs and even the milk inside the stomach are visible. The growth of fuzzy hairs starts on their body after the 1st week. Eyes start opening at the 3rd week, and most of the rats weaned at the 5th to 8th week of their lives.
Newborn baby squirrels are around the size of a human’s thumb. Baby squirrel’s ears and eyes are closed with combined fingers. Baby squirrels have pinkish thin, and hairless skin, which later grows into a furry body.
Eyes start opening at the 3rd week of life, and most of the body is covered with fur in a 5-week old squirrel. At the age of 8 to 10 weeks, baby squirrels weaned and started living on their own.
Difference Between A Newborn Squirrel And Newborn Rat
|Characteristics||Baby Squirrel||Baby Rat|
|Size||Approximately 1 inch||About 2 inches|
|Lifespan||10 to 12 years||2 to 4 years|
|Types||Grey squirrel, American red squirrel, Fox squirrel & Flying squirrel||Brown Rats, Bulldog Rats, Black Rats, Long-Haired Rats, Bush Rats, Palm Rats, Himalayan Field Rats|
|Average Weight||15 grams||6 to 8 grams|
|Height||Approximately 1 inch||2 inches|
|Colors||Pink, Red, Grey,||Brown, Black,|
Baby Squirrel vs. Baby Rat Weight and Lifespan
The weight and size of baby squirrels and rats vary according to developmental stages and gender. Newborn baby rats weigh around 5-6 gms, whereas baby squirrels weigh 15 grams on average.
Lifespan varies according to habitat as in captivity, squirrels have a lifespan of 20 years, whereas 13 years in the wild. Baby rats have an average life expectancy of 2 to 3 years, whereas the quality of care provided to rat pups also determines their lifespan.
Rat vs. Squirrel Skeleton
As the rats grow up to live independently, going through pipelines, sewerages, and poking through holes is all they do. Seeing rats go through congested channels and minor fixes, you must be thinking that rats have no skeleton.
Their skeleton is made up of very flexible bones and joints. With the help of their whiskers, Rat decides whether they would fit in or not, whereas, for obese rats, the scenario might be different.
Squirrels also have solid and dense bones, whereas their hind limb bones are jointed, allowing them to climb up or down the trees.
Rats usually nest under piles of leaves, woods, or bricks. Some rats burrow themselves to nest underground, whereas some roof rats nest above in trees. Due to their climbing and wood gnawing abilities, Squirrels can be found nesting in attics, trees, or any hollow wooden spaces.
Baby Squirrel vs. Baby Rat Care
- Keep the baby squirrels in warm dark areas and away from pets and children.
- Place baby squirrels in a box with a clean and soft cloth in the bottom for snuggling. Avoid using damaged or lose strings or loop clothes as there are more chances their fingers, nails, or tail could get caught up.
- Keep active care of their hygiene, proper nutrition, and hydration. There are more chances in babies of malnutrition and dehydration.
- Avoid overfeeding baby squirrels. The belly should be round and full but not be tight.
- Suppose you are not sure about baby squirrel food. In that case, you can go for puppy milk, available in food stores and veterinary offices. Search for powdery form solution and slowly introduce the solution to the baby squirrel system.
- Whereas baby rats also need these basic steps of care such as keeping them warm, proper hygiene, and avoiding malnutrition and dehydration.
Baby squirrels are adorable, playful, and active animals. Most entertaining animals to watch. If a high-pitched squeaking sound comes from the ground, you may have found a squirrel. However, they love to play with stuffed toys.
Although baby rats are active and like to play, rats like to play fighting all the time, it is fun for young ones and continues when turning into an adult.
Squirrel tracks are small, about 2 inches in length, and the front paw print has four narrowed toes with claws, whereas the back paw print reflects five toes and a paw pad.
Rat tracks are somewhat similar to squirrel paws; therefore, rat tracks often confuse squirrel tracks.
Baby Squirrel vs. Baby Rat Bite
Are you afraid that a baby squirrel will bite you? No baby squirrel will not bite you unless or until they are provoked.
Rats can bite if they feel pressured or concerned, more chances you will get a rat bite if you put your hand inside the rat cage.
Baby Rodents Identification: How To Identify A Baby Squirrel And A Baby Rat?
Following are the differences between the baby squirrel and baby rat, which will help you identify both.
- Rats have long, thick tails, and squirrels have bushy or fluffy tails.
- Squirrels are more extensive as compared to rats.
- Rats preferably live in pipeline trash, whereas squirrels are primarily found in green, fruity, or vegetable gardens.
Pros of Having a Pet Baby Squirrel
- Squirrels show off towards their owners. They will kiss you, climb your leg and sit on your shoulder and cuddle you.
- You will fall in love with their biological loving behavior.
- Less odor of their excretion and effortless in cleaning their mess.
- They will show all those fundamental behaviors they are being trained for, such as where to excrete, ask for food, etc.
Cons of Having a Pet Baby Squirrel
Raising a baby squirrel as a pet can be dangerous and damaging for you and as well as for the baby squirrel. Some disadvantages are mentioned below:
- If a squirrel is brought up alone, it will be unable to learn how to defend itself and, if left in the wild, will die.
- Squirrels have razor-sharp nails for climbing, jumping, and grasping, by which they can damage your furniture, home, and skin.
Pros of Having a Pet Baby Rat
Rats are social animals, so raising a baby rat will be joyful and delightful. Some advantages of having a baby rat as a pet are the following:
- They can learn tricks, their name and are easy to train, such as the litter train.
- Rats are affectionate and adorable and love to spend their time outside of their cages with you.
- Pretty intelligent and less likely to bite you as compared to other furry animals.
Cons of Having a Pet Baby Rat
Rats can be harmful to you in many ways; some of the disadvantages of having a baby rat as a pet are as follows:
- Having rats as a pet can be harmful and damaging to your health. They are responsible for spreading many diseases in humans, such as uterine and respiratory infections, mammary tumors, and cancer.
- Don’t buy rats if you think that they are cheap and inexpensive. You must be mentally ready to bear all the expenses of a veteran doctor as they need appropriate veterinary care to keep them healthy.
What Do You Do If You Find A Fallen Baby Animal?
If you find an abandoned animal, place them into a new nest and observe from far away for an hour for the parent bird to return to the new nest to feed their chick. Observe with complete concentration as parent birds are pretty covert. If no parent bird returns, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about baby squirrel vs baby rat.
How do you tell if you have baby rats or squirrels?
Squirrels are larger than rats in size and appearance. Both can live indoors, but squirrels preferably build their nests outdoors in trees, whereas rats also build their nest outside but bring up their young indoors. The thick and hairless tails belong to rats, whereas squirrels have bushy or fluffy tails.
Are rats worse than squirrels?
Squirrels are not considered dangerous as other rodents like rats and mice. Rats are primarily involved in chewing the furniture, electric wires, and making holes in your home or offices.
Do baby squirrels keep baby rats away?
Squirrels do not attack rodents. Their interaction with other rodents is also shallow. So, we can’t say that squirrels keep the baby rats away.
Can you raise a baby squirrel as a pet?
Yes, baby squirrels can be raised as pets; however, there are enough chances to return to their wild habitat once they have grown up. So, if you have found an abandoned baby squirrel, you can raise her as your pet until she can live independently.
Can rats and squirrels have babies?
Yes, squirrels and rats reproduce like other animals and have babies. Rats reproduce more frequently and produce up to 6 liters in a year, while squirrels usually breed twice a year.
Is it bad to touch a baby squirrel?
It’s not bad to touch a baby squirrel if she needs your help. However, mother squirrels are very possessive about their pups, so make sure she is not around them.
How can you tell how old a baby squirrel is?
When baby squirrels are born, they do not resemble their parents. They have black nails and long tails. Once they have grown fur, they look like younger squirrels.
Do you have to feed baby squirrels at night?
You have to feed them once during the night. Each squirrel differs in age and condition, so you should consider the body condition and age of the baby squirrel to meet her feeding needs.
At what age can a baby squirrel survive on its own?
A baby squirrel can survive on its own at the age of 8 to 12 weeks. Naturally, baby squirrels weaned and started taking solid feed at the age of 8 weeks. So, an 08-week old baby squirrel is ready to live independently in the wild.
Do baby squirrels sleep all night?
Sleep routine varies on their developmental stages. Once baby squirrels grow into adults, they sleep during the night and wake up in the daytime.
Do baby squirrels get attached to humans?
Squirrels are amongst animals that have not been domesticated to socialize with humans, so they do not make emotional bonding with humans like a cat and dog.
What do baby squirrels like to play with?
Baby squirrels like to play with toys such as stuffed toys(preferably naturally stuffed toys), but be careful they can swallow or chew the toys.
What attracts squirrels to your house?
Probably you find squirrels if you have a bird feeder, fruit, or vegetable garden in your house.
What does it mean when a squirrel stares at you?
If they stare at you, it’s likely they sense you or may stare if you get too close.
What are rats scared of?
Using the Smell of peppermint, peppermint oil, or placing cotton wool balls in the corners will keep the rats away from your home.
What scent do squirrels hate?
Squirrels hate the scent of white pepper and garlic powder. They show repulsive behavior towards these scents.
What does it mean when a squirrel shakes its tail at you?
If a squirrel is shaking tail at you, it indicates you have entered her territory. It’s a sign of warning for you not to get closed too much to squirrels. By wagging its tail, a squirrel also alarms other squirrels about danger.
Squirrels and rats can be great rodent pets and are quickly brought up even if newborns are adopted.
You need to understand their nutritional and habitat requirements to grow and nourish baby squirrels and baby rats.
However, there is limited pragmatic information about newborn baby squirrels and rats, how to take care of them, and how to provide constant attentive care. We have covered all the possible questions that you might be curious about.
SmallPetsX.Com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim to help small pet owners understand their pets a little better so that they can provide their pets with the life they deserve. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.