Idaho is a great place to live if you’re a fan of wildlife. The state is home to all sorts of animals, including deer, elk, and, of course, squirrels. If you’re thinking about getting a pet squirrel in Idaho, you’ve likely wondered if it’s legal to own a pet squirrel?
Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Idaho?
The short answer is yes, Idaho residents are allowed to keep a squirrel as pets, as long as they don’t reside in the city limits. According to the Fish and Game website, both the Eastern Gray Squirrel and Eastern Fox Squirrels are considered unprotected non-game animals under the Idaho code.
According to code 13.01.06 300.03 squirrels can be taken by any means, any amount, and it is not prohibited by federal law. It is even lawful to hunt for squirrels in Idaho, as long as you have the proper hunting license and abide by the laws set in place.
Is It Illegal to Have A Pet Squirrel In Idaho?
According to the Code 02.04.27 Rules Governing Deleterious Exotic Animals it is illegal to breed, own, transport or sell exotic animals. Some of the animals included on this list are:
- African tree squirrels
- Southern American rodents (excluding guinea pigs, and chinchillas)
- Rodents (it doesn’t mention squirrels)
According to Department of Fish and Game Wildlife site, the Columbia Plateau ground squirrel is a protected non-game species.
That said, according to the Idaho code 13.01.06 300.03, it clearly states that squirrels are non-protected animals and can be be taken from their environment. Unfortunately, the laws are confusing, so you’ll want to check in advance to see if it is illegal to own a squirrel where you live.
Those caught violating the laws surrounding exotic animals can face misdemeanor violations and fines.
What Kind of Pets Can You Keep In Idaho?
There are plenty of other pets that are allowed in the state that will make just as good of a companion. Idaho residents can keep a variety of pets, however, those living within the city limits will be limited to the type and number they can keep.
Here’s a list of mammals allowed as pets:
- Rodents (excluding guinea pigs, domesticated gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, and squirrels) which are not protected by federal law
- Domesticated dogs and cats
Mammals not allowed for residents residing in the city limits are:
- Aardvarks (considered a non-human primate)
- Marine animals (including dolphins, whales and seals)
- All non domesticated dogs and cats (including mountain lions and wolves)
The list is plentiful, so you’ll want to do your due diligence before getting a pet in Idaho. You can contact the Fish and Game office with any questions regarding owning a pet squirrel or any other type of animal.
Their office is divided into seven administrative regions, so you’ll want to find the one with the closest office to where you live.
Can You Obtain A Wildlife Rehabilitator License?
Like most states, Idaho offers its residents a chance to become a rehabilitator. To obtain a license, contact your local Regional Office to obtain the application. Once completed, it will be reviewed by another rehabilitator, who will make the final decision on whether to approve your application.
If approved you will be required to pay the required permit fee. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information on how to become a wildlife rehabilitator, so you’ll have to do some legwork.
However, it’s important to understand that rehabilitating animals is not as easy as it sounds. So you’ll want to find out everything it entails before making such a huge commitment.
Can You Relocate to Idaho With A Pet Squirrel?
Considering that Idaho allows its residents to own a Gray or Fox squirrel, it should be no problem. That said, you should contact the Fish and Game office to find out what is required.
They may require a permit, veterinary records, and documentation of some sort. The last thing you want to do is relocate a domesticated squirrel illegally, only to have it be confiscated or released into the wild.
Types of Squirrels In Idaho
Like most places throughout the United States, Idaho is home to several types of squirrels. If you’re a nature lover, it won’t be hard to spot one in your backyard, park, or even out in the wild.
Here’s a list of squirrels that can be found in Idaho:
The Gray squirrel is one of the most common squirrels found roaming around Idaho. They are easily recognizable by their large size and the fact that they have a gray coat.
They can be seen year round and love to eat acorns, nuts, and seeds. Gray squirrels are also known to raid bird feeders, so be sure to keep an eye on your outdoor pet food.
American Red Squirrel
Another common squirrel that resides in Idaho, is the American Red Squirrel. These squirrels are easy to identify as they have a reddish color with a white underbelly. They are also smaller in size than their gray cousin, but larger than a chipmunk.
They are usually found in coniferous forests as their diet consists of evergreen tree seeds. However, like their gray cousin, they’ve learned to adapt their diet to include bird seed, pet food, berries, hazelnuts, mice, bird eggs, and anything else they can get their paws on.
The fox squirrel can be seen in most urban and rural areas of Idaho, that contains appropriate habitat. It is native to Idaho, and prefers a natural environment with trees and plenty of places to hide.
They are the largest squirrel in Idaho and can grow to be about two feet long, with half of that being their tail. The fox squirrel’s coat is a mix of browns, grays, and blacks, which helps them camouflage in their natural surroundings.
The Fox squirrel is a daytime forager with a diet that consists of insects, bird eggs, moths, seeds, nuts, plants, and even dead fish.
Northern Flying Squirrels
The Northern Flying squirrel can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests and woodlands throughout Idaho. They range from 10-12 inches long and can glide more than 90 feet in a single glide.
It has a gray-brown body with a gray belly. They make their homes in abandoned bird and squirrel nests, woodpecker holes, and tree cavities.
They are omnivores with a diet that includes insects, seeds, fungi, fruit, and seeds. You likely won’t ever see one, as they are nocturnal, meaning they only come out at night.
The Northern Idaho ground squirrel can be seen burrowing in the ground in certain parts throughout Idaho. It has been seen living in the western parts of the state; such as the Adams and Valley counties.
At the time of this writing, it is considered endangered and is protected by State or Federal Laws.
It has a darkish-reddish coat with black bands or stripes around the body. Their diet consists of green leafy vegetation, grass seed, and stems. Unlike the tree squirrels, it hibernates eight months out of the year.
Idaho considers the Gray and Fox squirrels non-game animals, meaning residents can hunt, eat, and keep them as pets. That said, Idaho is divided into seven different regions, so you’ll want to check with the local laws where you live.
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