Can You Have a Pet Squirrel?

Updated


Pet Squirrel and Boy Nose to Nose

There has been much debate concerning the legalization of domesticating squirrels. It is illegal to own a pet squirrel throughout most of the United States; you will need to check your state’s specific laws before acquiring one. A general rule is that if the animal is considered wildlife, than it is illegal to keep one as a pet. Wildlife in this instance is defined as any undomesticated, native animal living in the wild, including those hunted for food, sport or profit. So, if you can look out your window and see one running around, it probably isn't legal, and since squirrels are native to such a huge part of the U.S. it would be difficult to find a place where they are not considered wildlife. As stated, this is a general rule, and certain states allow for exceptions, if your state does not allow for pet squirrels you may be able to apply for a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

That being said, there are some countries in Europe and Asia where it is legal to own a squirrel. While squirrels appear cute and snuggly, they may not make the ideal pet. Most wildlife activists and rehabilitators feel strongly that squirrels should remain wild and free in their natural habitat. However, there may be instances where a squirrel is injured or abandoned and may need human care. Some of these squirrels are unable to be returned to the wild, because they are unable to care for themselves, hunt for food, or protect themselves from predators.

Why Squirrels May Not be Suitable Pets

There have been plenty of instances where squirrels have become friendly with humans that they come in contact with on a regular basis, especially if that human continually provides them with snacks. However, squirrels typically do not solely depend on humans for their dietary and socialization needs like dogs and cats do. Even if they do learn to become comfortable around you and your family, those feelings will not transfer to visitors or house guests. Squirrels do not adapt well to new people and new environmental elements.

Squirrels can also be very destructive to your home. Squirrels have long, sharp nails that serve them well when climbing trees, grasping food or digging tunnels. In your home, these same sharp nails can wreak havoc on your furniture and can even cause personal harm or injury, whether intentional or not. They also have sharp teeth that continually grow. In order to wear their teeth down, they chew on tree bark and other items found in their natural environment. At your home, they will chew on anything and everything, including expensive furniture, baseboards, and harmful electrical wiring.

It is also unfair to remove a squirrel from the great outdoors. They require a large space and plenty of trees, which they can climb and jump on. No matter how much space you may have, it is not the same as the surroundings and freedom they are used to. Baby squirrels also need to be around other squirrels to learn the skills necessary to survive. If they become too friendly with humans, it could endanger them when they are released back into the wild.

Proper Care for Pet Squirrels

If you do find an injured or abandoned squirrel, it is important that they receive proper care and nourishment to survive . Your local wildlife rehabilitator can be a great resource. If one is not available in your area, find a reputable veterinarian that has expertise in treating squirrels, rabbits or rats. The type of care needed will vary greatly depending on the age of the squirrel. Baby squirrels obviously require more care than a juvenile or adult squirrel.

Providing a Proper Environment for a Squirrel

A baby squirrel younger than four weeks old needs to be placed in a small environment, where they cannot fall or be injured. A small box lined with a newspaper makes a great temporary home. Their most important initial needs include staying warm and fully hydrated. You can place a warm water bottle under the newspaper to help regulate their temperature. If the squirrel is older than four weeks, they will need a larger area where they can move around and climb. The best option is a small wire cage – a bird cage works perfectly. Include wooden perches for them to climb on and small pieces of natural wood to chew on. Try to keep their environment as natural as possible.

Fully grown squirrels will need a much larger space to roam. A large outdoor metal cage that is at least eight feet tall is necessary for your pet squirrel to remain active. It is important that the top of the cage is enclosed to protect the squirrel. Include items that give them the opportunity to climb and jump, like they would in the wild. Secure large wooden perches and branches to the side of the cage. Provide plenty of platforms at a variety of heights and raised walkways. Add natural bedding materials for them to build nests, such as grass, leaves and wooden mulch. Include plenty of sticks and pine cones to chew on. You want your squirrel’s cage to feel like home.


Featured Articles


  • Squirrel Stopper SQC05
    The Top 4 Bird Feeder Pole Designs

    Reviewing the best squirrel proof bird feeder pole designs with tips on how to care for and improve them.


  • Woodlink Squirrel Much Box
    A Review of Squirrel Feeders

    Want to know the best way for feeding squirrels? Check out these reviews of some of the best squirrel feeders on the market.


  • Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
    Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

    So you love the sound of a wood thrush as it sings its songs? Want to attract more of them, but are frustrated by the squirrels that seem to always find a way into the birdseed? Well, check out these squirrel proof bird feeders and enjoy the songbirds to your hearts content.



Recent Articles


All Articles


  • Ground Squirrel Standing on Rock
    What Do Ground Squirrels Eat?

    Ever see a squirrel and wonder What Do Ground Squirrels eat? Well, the answer may surprise you as they eat just about anything, check out this article for info


  • Squirrel Eating Cat Food
    Do Squirrels Carry Rabies?

    Can you answer the question: Do squirrels carry rabies? Squirrels are one of the most common creatures you are likely to run across, read this to find out


  • Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
    Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

    So you love the sound of a wood thrush as it sings its songs? Want to attract more of them, but are frustrated by the squirrels that seem to always find a way into the birdseed? Well, check out these squirrel proof bird feeders and enjoy the songbirds to your hearts content.


  • Sleeping Squirrel
    Do Squirrels Hibernate?

    Read about some of the studies that have been done to try to answer the question: Do Squirrels Hibernate? It isn't as simple as yes/no!


  • Flying Squirrel at Night
    Where Do Flying Squirrels Live?

    You have heard of them, and maybe even saw one at the zoo... But have you ever wondered - Where do flying squirrels live? Click here to find out!


  • Woodlink Squirrel Much Box
    A Review of Squirrel Feeders

    Want to know the best way for feeding squirrels? Check out these reviews of some of the best squirrel feeders on the market.


  • Happy Squirrel Kitten
    How to take care of a baby squirrel

    Read how to take care of a baby squirrel. Information you may need if you ever happen across a nest without a mother.


  • Squirrel Nest
    Where Do Squirrels Sleep?

    Have you ever wondered "Where Do Squirrels Sleep"? Check out this article to learn the differences between a den and dray as well as if squirrels make nests


  • Alpine Marmot Standing Up
    Where Do Squirrels Live?

    Ever see a squirrel and wonder "Where do squirrels live?" Read this article to find out where you can squirrels and their natural habitat.


  • Pet Squirrel and Boy Nose to Nose
    Can You Have a Pet Squirrel?

    Can squirrels be pets? Can they be domesticated? Does a squirrel make a good pet? This article explores the topic of pet squirrels!


  • Squirrel Teeth
    Do Squirrels Bite?

    With so many of these little guys all around, you may be wondering - Do Squirrels Bite? Click here to get the answer as well as some very interesting facts.


  • Baby Squirrel Sleeping in a Hand
    How to Care for a Baby Squirrel

    Learn how to take care of a baby squirrel from birth to 12 weeks old, including methods for reuniting it with its mother


  • Ground Squirrel Baby and Mother
    When do squirrels have babies?

    When is the squirrel breeding season? When do squirrels have babies? How long is the squirrel gestation period?


  • Squirrel Stopper SQC05
    The Top 4 Bird Feeder Pole Designs

    Reviewing the best squirrel proof bird feeder pole designs with tips on how to care for and improve them.


Featured Posts


  • Squirrel Stopper SQC05
    The Top 4 Bird Feeder Pole Designs

    Reviewing the best squirrel proof bird feeder pole designs with tips on how to care for and improve them.


  • Woodlink Squirrel Much Box
    A Review of Squirrel Feeders

    Want to know the best way for feeding squirrels? Check out these reviews of some of the best squirrel feeders on the market.


  • Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
    Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

    So you love the sound of a wood thrush as it sings its songs? Want to attract more of them, but are frustrated by the squirrels that seem to always find a way into the birdseed? Well, check out these squirrel proof bird feeders and enjoy the songbirds to your hearts content.


Recent Posts