Wild squirrels live in open environments with a lot of sunlight. However, they build nests, but their bodies are more exposed to natural light than pets in the house.
Do Squirrels Need Sunlight? Squirrels need sunlight because it provides vitamin D3, maintains body temperature, allows better calcium absorption, and makes their bones strong. Adult squirrels need 50-60 minutes of sunlight exposure. The baby squirrel older than 8-9 weeks needs 15-20 minutes of daylight daily.
Rodents need adequate daylight to live a healthy life, and professionals recommend allowing your pets to play in the backyard or garden in daylight, as it has various advantages.
Why do squirrels need sunlight?
There are many reasons for letting the pet squirrel enjoy the sunlight for an adequate time.
Provide vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for humans and animals, and the deficiency of this vitamin leads to many heat problems.
Vitamin D3 helps maintain the nervous, muscles, and immune systems and protects from infections and various diseases.
Pet and wild squirrels need adequate vitamin D3 to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which they can get from sunlight and the different food they eat.
It is an excellent source of vitamin D3 for rodents.
It is essential to let the pet rodent sit outside to get sufficient vitamin D3 if they do not have this vitamin enough in their daily diet.
Maintain the body temperature
They prefer to live in warm and cozy environments, as many squirrels hibernate in winter because their body temperature gets low, and they like to live indoors. They can maintain the body temperature in hot and cold weather.
But they need daylight in freezing weather to maintain their body temperatures like all other animals and humans.
You can put their cage outside in snowy seasons if you live in cold weather because it can set the body temperature and provides other health benefits.
However, they do not like too hot environments and try to hide in shady places because they generate their own body heat.
Increases calcium absorption
Light from the sun causes vitamin D3 in the body, increasing calcium absorption in the blood through the diet. Calcium is essential for bones, hair, muscles, and different organs to work accurately.
Rodents need more calcium because it helps the rodent in cellular communications and maintains a healthy body. They soak up more calcium when they are outside because vitamin D3 that produces naturally with this light.
It is not essential to keep these rodents in direct light, as you can open the windows and let the light come where the squirrel play or the cage is placed.
Sufficient calcium absorption causes better nerve connections and muscle movements through light if the rodent has less calcium intake in the diet.
It can help these rodents to have strong bones because of the adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D3 in their body.
They are active and wild rodents and do not like to confine in one place for a long time. They love to play around in the garden and climb the trees.
However, the pet squirrel is not much likely to climb trees, as they are trained to live indoors, but they also need light from the sun for stronger bones and a healthy lifestyle.
What happens if squirrels do not get adequate sunlight?
Adequate light from the sun is essential for rodents, as it can cause joint problems if they remain inside in one place without natural light.
Although you can feed the rodent with high nutrients food, sunlight is also essential for strong muscles and bones. It can cause a deficiency of vitamin D3 if the rodent is not taking much in diet and does not go outside.
The body will not function properly, as the body does not produce essential vitamins, which leads to different health problems.
The bones become weak and will not survive a fall from a high place, as the bones can get fractured, and you have to take the rodent to an emergency.
They can get sick and bored staying inside a cage because they have a nature to roam around different places. Therefore, allowing the pet squirrel to play in the sunlight is better to avoid stress and anxiety.
Moreover, the deficiency of vitamin D3 and calcium can cause different diseases, such as metabolic bone disease. This disease occurs due to insufficient calcium in the body if it does not have proper calcium and vitamin D3 supply.
Metabolic bone disease in squirrels can occur within a week if they are not eating vitamin D3 and calcium-rich food or lose appetite. Natural light can make essential vitamin D3 in the body and minimize the risk of MBD.
You can prevent such diseases if rodent enjoys some natural light daily, which balance the vitamin D3 and calcium level in the body, and prevent different diseases.
How long do squirrels need sunlight?
They need approximately 50-60 minutes in sunlight to produce sufficient vitamin D3 quantity and keep the nervous and immune systems healthy.
You can let the baby squirrel outside for approximately 15-20 minutes daily. It is better to use an outdoor cage or put it on a screened porch in hot weather.
Direct exposure to intense light in hot weather can cause heat stroke, and rodents can get dehydrated, which is not safe. Hydration leads to many health problems, and you must care more about hydrating the animal.
Heat stroke or dehydration can cause an increase in heartbeat and breathing, while severe conditions cause seizures, diarrhea, or death.
Therefore, make sure to avoid exposing rodents to intense direct light. However, it does not cause heat stroke or dehydration if you place the cage in direct sunlight in freezing weather for a few minutes because the light intensity is not harmful in cold climates.
Make sure that it is in a secure cage so that predators do not attack it when you are not around. It is better to keep an eye on it when placing the cage outdoors for natural light because predators can chew it and eat rodents.
Is sunlight good for a baby squirrel?
Direct sunlight is not good for a baby squirrel younger than seven weeks.
It is better to keep the baby rodent indoors after its birth because the immune system is sensitive, and viruses or bacteria can attack the little rodent, which is not safe.
Keeping them outside for 15-20 minutes helps them to have a powerful nervous system because the adequate calcium content in their body can maintain a healthy nervous system.
It needs special care and attention if you have a baby squirrel in the house because they are small and cannot bear negligence.