Kansas is known for its vast prairies and natural beauty. As a result, the state is home to many different kinds of wildlife, including squirrels. While you may see these furry creatures scurrying around your yard, public parks, and forests, it’s normal to wonder if it is legal to have a pet squirrel in Kansas.
Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Kansas?
The short answer is no. Kansas does not allow private ownership of squirrels. In 2017, the Kansas Legislature passed a law making it illegal to possess, import, sell, or trade wild animals, including squirrels. The only exceptions to this law are zoos, educational institutions, circuses, research facilities, and licensed rehabilitation centers.
The reasoning behind this law is that properly caring for a wild animal in captivity is difficult. In addition, squirrels, birds, skunks, etc. can have diseases that are contagious to humans.
Even though the law doesn’t specifically mention squirrels, Kansas considers them small game animals and allows its residents to hunt them during hunting season, which is June 1 – February 28.
So at the time of this writing, it is illegal to have a pet squirrel in Kansas.
Let’s take a closer look at the wildlife laws, types of pets you can own, permits, rehabilitation requirements, and more.
List of Species That Require A Permit
Kansas, like other states, does not allow residents to keep dangerous or exotic animals as pets. Exotic animals are only allowed to be kept by wildlife sanctuaries, educational institutions, fairs, rodeos, zoos, and licensed medical or research institutions.
That said, according to Kansas administration regulation 115-20-4, the law states any person possessing a mountain lion, grizzly bear, black bear, and the wolf must possess a permit.
The permit consists of the following:
- Applicant’s address
- Telephone Number
- Type of wildlife species
- The purpose for the wildlife ownership
The permit is valid from the date of issue and can be voided or expired by any Kansas legal authority.
Types of Pets You Can Own In Kansas
While you cannot own a pet squirrel, there are still plenty of other animals you can keep as pets in Kansas. These include, but are not limited to:
- Guinea Pigs
Some of these animals may require a license or permit, so always check with your local city or county ordinances.
Is It Illegal To Have A Pet Squirrel In Kansas?
Yes, it is illegal to own a squirrel as a pet in Kansas. If caught, you could face expensive court costs and fines. In addition, the Kanas Pet Animal Act states that owning, or neglecting animals can result in a class A nonperson misdemeanor.
What Are The Consequences of Having A Pet Squirrel In Kansas?
The court will order a commissioner to seize and impound any animals in your custody if convicted. In turn, you are responsible for any fees related to the care and housing of the animals while in the custody of animal control.
So, it’s best to feed the squirrels and avoid keeping them as pets.
Can You Rescue A Squirrel In Kansas?
According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, if you see an abandoned squirrel or wildlife animal, do not bother them. They are likely not abandoned and should not be taken from the wild. Doing so can result in fines of up to $1,000.
If you find an orphaned squirrel, the best thing to do is place the baby in a box at the base of the nearest tree. If the mother has not claimed it after a day or two, you can contact a rehabilitator from this list.
Can You Obtain A Wildlife Rehabilitator License In Kansas?
Similar to other states, the wildlife rehabilitation in Kansas is K.A.R.115-18-1, accepts applications from its citizens interested in becoming wildlife rehabilitators.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Possess at least 100 hours of handling and caring for wildlife over the course of a calendar year.
In addition, you must attend and complete a training course offered by the National National Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Association. As well as pass the wildlife examination test with a score of no less than 80 percent.
After successful completion, you will be granted a permit to care for and rehabilitate squirrels and other wildlife. There is no fee for the permit.
Check out this website to start the process or learn more about becoming a wildlife rehabilitator in Kansas.
Can You Relocate To Kansas With A Pet Squirrel?
If you’ve purchased a squirrel in a state where it’s legal and are getting ready to move to Kansas, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to keep it. As you can see, the Sunflower State has confusing strict regulations regarding the types of pets and specifically prohibits the ownership of small game animals.
You will want to contact the Kansas Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to let them know you have a domesticated pet squirrel. Since the squirrel is tame and won’t survive in the wild, they may allow you to keep it as a pet. That said, don’t be surprised if they give you a hard time keeping it.
There have been many instances in the past where the state Game Commission didn’t allow residents moving to different states to keep a pet squirrel, and after some lengthy legal battles, the squirrel was allowed to remain a pet.
One such case that comes to mind is the case of Nutkin, the squirrel that was acquired in South Carolina (where it’s allowed to own squirrels) and relocated to Pennsylvania.
Can You Breed or Sell Squirrels In Kansas?
It is illegal to breed, sell, or trade squirrels in Kansas. This includes importing and exporting them as well.
Types of Squirrels Found In Kansas?
Kansas is home to the Eastern Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, and Flying Squirrel. All species of squirrels can be found throughout the state, but the gray and fox squirrels are the most nuisance rodents seen in urban areas.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel is the larger of the two, measuring up to 20 inches long and weighing up to 19 ounces. They are easily recognizable by their gray fur and white belly.
It has a long bushy tail that is used to help them balance when dashing between tree branches. Their diet consists primarily of flowers, nuts, seeds, acorns, and buds on various trees such as; dogwood, maple, elm, etc.
You can also find them eating the seeds from spruce, cedar, and hemlock trees. These opportunistic feeders won’t raid bird feeders and garbage cans if they can’t find food easily in the wild.
The Fox Squirrel is larger than its gray cousin, weighing an average of 28 ounces. They have bushier coats and tails with hair sticking up from their ears. Their color can vary from pale gray to reddish brown, with a lighter-colored underbelly.
They can be found thriving in areas that offer savannah-like habitats. These areas provide wide open spaces and abundant food sources. That said, like their cousin (the Gray Squirrel), they have learned how to acclimate to their environment, and they can be found in urban and suburban areas.
When looking for food, they will eat just about anything, including; insects, bird eggs, fruits and vegetables from gardens, and even small reptiles.
Like their cousin, they have many predators, such as hawks, and owls. In addition, young squirrels can be eaten by snakes.
They can commonly be found living in trees with holes and cavities, such as oak, elm, and other hardwood trees. This enables them to build dens or nests for their young. In addition, they use the dens to hibernate during the winter.
Southern Flying Squirrels
Southern Flying squirrels, also known as Pteromyini or Petauristini, are the smallest of the squirrel family, only measuring up to 8 ½ – 9 ½ inches long. They have a furry membrane that extends from their wrists to their ankles, which gives them the appearance of having “wings.”
They are nocturnal animals and are rarely seen during daylight hours. Their diet consists mainly of insects, but they will also eat bird eggs, small reptiles, and fruits.
They make their nests in deciduous and coniferous forests and woodlands and will have 1-6 babies at a time. These squirrels are social animals and often share their nest with other squirrels to keep them warm in the winter.
Predators of the Southern Flying Squirrel include; owls, snakes, weasels, raccoons, etc.
Catching, possessing, buying, or selling any live squirrel in Kansas is illegal. So if you are thinking about getting a pet squirrel, you could face legal consequences.
Squirrels are considered game animals in Kansas, and as such, there are regulations in place to control their population. Therefore, it is best to leave them in the wild where they belong.
If you have a squirrel problem on your property, contact a licensed wildlife control operator to help you resolve the issue.
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