Indiana is a great place to live if you’re a pet lover. There are plenty of animal-friendly laws that make it easy to keep your furry friends safe and happy. But can you have a pet squirrel? The answer depends on where you live in Indiana. we’ll take a look at the laws governing pet ownership in Indiana, including the legality of keeping pet squirrels!
Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Indiana?
For most parts of Indiana, you can own a pet squirrel. However, the pet laws will vary throughout the four corners of the state. Some may require you to have have a permit, but if you reside in a larger city such as; Indianapolis, the laws may differ.
So it’s best to do you due diligence before getting a pet squirrel. Here’s what we’ve learned from acquiring a pet squirrel in Indiana.
Is It Legal to Own A Pet Squirrel In Indiana?
The state of Indiana classifies squirrels as a Class I wild animal. Class I animals are considered wild, but are not considered a threat to personal or public safety, and it is therefore allowed to keep as a pet, as long as a permit is obtained and specific rules are followed.
Before we cover the specific rules and permits that must be obtained, let’s first look at the different animals that fall under the Class I category:
Class I Wild Animals Allowed As Pets With Permits:
- Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
- Gray Squirrel
- Fox Squirrel
- Southern Flying Squirrel
- Endangered Species of Mammals
According to the State of Indiana, a person who wishes to possess an animal in the Class I category must abide but the regulations put in place by the state.
Housing and Care
All wild animals must have confined enclosures that will prevent them from escaping. These enclosures must allow sufficient space to allow them to move around freely without restrictions.
Restricting their movements can lead to stress, abnormal behavior, malnutrition, and the inability to adjust to their surroundings.
According to Section 321IAC 9-11-13 squirrels living environment must consist of the following:
- Nest boxes with wood shavings or another approved material.
- Climbing perches
- A fully enclosed enclosure.
The floor of enclosure must consist of mesh of no more than:
- One inch for gray squirrels and fox squirrels
- ¾ of an inch 1 ½ inches maximum width for flying squirrels.
Do You Need A Permit?
Yes, if you have any type of animal excluding a domestic cat or dog, you will need to have a permit. If you are caught owning an animal from the Class I, II, or II categories, without a permit, it will be removed.
Depending on the situation, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor or Class C infraction, both of which have a fine of up to $500, plus court costs for the misdemeanor.
In addition, misdemeanor may result in jail time of up to 60 days.
Is It Hard to Get A Permit?
For the most part, anyone can get a permit. It is obtained from the Division of Fish and Wildlife, which is the department that allows people to keep endangered and exotic species as pets.
The Wild Animal Possession Permit application process for Class I and Class II animals costs of:
- Applying, signing, and submitting the application within 5 days of taking possession of the animal.
- A permit fee in the amount of $20 payable to Indiana DNR (Indiana Department of Natural Resources)
- Within 45 days of acquiring a new license, the animal must be examined by a veterinarian, who will then need to sign the form to make it legal.
- No vaccinations are required by the Indiana DNR for the animal to be raised as a pet.
The fee is then forwarded to a conservation officer, who will then do an inspection of your home to ensure the housing requirements are suitable to keep the animal.
That said, you must obtain your animal legally. Meaning, you must be able to provide documentation that you purchased the animal from a breeder.
If after all this, you’re still wanting to keep a pet squirrel, then here’s the link to the permit application process.
What Types of Squirrels Are In The Area?
Tree squirrels can be found in most parts of Indiana. The four types of squirrels found in the state are the red squirrel, gray squirrel, fox squirrel and flying squirrel.
The red squirrel is the smallest of the four, measuring around 11-13 inches in length and weighing approximately 12 ounces. It has reddish-brown fur on its back with a white or cream-colored belly.
The gray squirrel is slightly larger than the red squirrel, measuring around 12 to 20 inches in length and weighing approximately 1-2 pounds. It has gray fur on its back with a white or cream-colored belly.
The fox squirrel is the largest of the four, measuring around 18 to 27 inches in length and weighs between 1 ½ – 2 ½ pounds. It has reddish-brown or orange-red fur on its back with a white or cream-colored belly.
The Southern flying squirrel is the smallest of the four, measuring around 9-10 inches in length and weighing approximately 1.6 – 2.5 ounces. It has gray-brown fur on its back and sides with a white or cream-colored belly.
How to Get A Pet Squirrel In Indiana?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a lot of information on how to acquire a pet squirrel in Indiana. However, proof of documentation from a breeder is required to get a permit, it’s very likely you’ll need to find an exotic breeder in the area.
For instance Uncle Bills Pet Centers is an ethical humane breeder pet store located in the Indianapolis area. They offer a large inventory of animals and pet supplies for sale.
Another way to acquire a squirrel as a pet is to do your due diligence and join forums with other pet squirrel lovers. They may be able to help you find a breeder or squirrel rehabilitators in your area that can help you find a new furry friend.
How Much Will A Squirrel Cost Me In Indiana?
Acquiring a pet squirrel will vary depending on where you get it. However, these animals are quite popular therefore they can be a bit pricey.
For instance, baby red squirrels can range from $250-$400, while adult prices start at $350 and go up to $700.
Gray squirrels can cost anywhere from $300-$350 depending on the age, gender of the squirrel.
A female baby flying squirrel will cost you about $400. They are typically sold at 8 weeks of age.
Prices will vary from breeder, so it’s important to do your due diligence. Also make sure the breeder follows humane and ethical treatment of the animals.
Other Wildlife You Can Keep As A Pet
Indiana is one of the most lenient states that allows its residents to keep a variety of different wildlife animals, with the proper permits. The state has a Class II category that are considered wild and due to its nature and habits, it is considered a threat to human safety.
However, its residents are allowed to keep these animals as pets as long as they provide a secure enclosure, that utilizes metal clamps, braces, ties, welds, or something durable enough to prevent the animal from escaping.
These are the animals that fall under the Class II category:
- Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)
- Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
- Beaver (Castor canadensis)
- Black-footed Cat (Felis Nigripes)
- Serval (Leptailurus seval)
- Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
- Coyote (Castor latrans)
- Sand Cat
- Margay Cat
- Jungle Cat
- Pantanal Cat
- Virginia Opossum
- Red Fox
The list is quite extensive, and you can see the rest of it here. Hoosiers are allowed to own almost any pet, all you need is the proper permit. However it doesn’t mean you should.
If your exotic animal injures or kills someone you likely will be held liable. As an owner of an exotic or wild animal, it’s your responsibility to ensure the animal doesn’t escape and injure or kill any other person or animal.
Aside from having to pay monetary damages to injured parties, you could face criminal charges if you don’t have the right permits.
Can You Bring A Pet Squirrel If You Are Moving To Indiana?
If you’re moving to Indiana and you have a pet squirrel, then you’re in luck. It’s one of the easiest places to bring your pet. However, you’ll want to check with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to find out what will be required.
They’ll likely want a signature from your current veterinarian that shows your animal is good health. At that point you’ll be able to acquire a permit. However rules and regulations change, so be sure to check beforehand so you can ensure you’re following the rules and not have your pet squirrel taken from you.
Indiana has no restrictions against owning a pet squirrel, as long as you have the right permit and ensure the animal has proper medical care, housing, and its needs are met.
So if you’re looking for a new and exciting pet, then a squirrel might be the right fit for you. Just make sure you do your research first and be prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for a wild animal.