Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Michigan? [Rules and Regulations]


If you have always wondered what it would be like to have a pet squirrel and if you live in Michigan, you are in luck! Michigan is one of the few states that permit squirrels raised in captivity to be kept as pets. As long as you hold a valid permit.

Can Have A Pet Squirrel In Michigan?

Yes. It is legal to own a pet squirrel in Michigan so long as that squirrel was raised in captivity and not captured in the wild. This captivity requirement is referred to as the “legal acquisition requirement.

Having a pet squirrel is a popular trend. That said, depending on where you reside, some states don’t allow squirrels as pets. Find out which states allow squirrels as pets.

Specifically, Michigan law states the following regarding keeping wildlife as pets.

“Permits to Hold Game in Captivity authorize the possession of animals reared in captivity only. They do not authorize the possession of animals taken from the wild in Michigan. All Game held in captivity shall have been secured in a lawful manner.”

Do You Need A Permit to Own a Pet Squirrel?

Yes. As mentioned above in the “Permits to Hold Game in Captivity” stipulation which the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is authorized to make under the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

Michigan law only permits captive-bred squirrels to be kept as pets when the pet owner has a “Game in Captivity” permit.

A “Game in Captivity” permit requires that all “game” kept as pets be securely contained legally. Additionally, squirrel owners must be able to provide evidence of the legal acquisition of their pet (for example, a receipt of purchase.) Any state Conservation or Law Enforcement Officer may ask to inspect this evidence at any time.

Licensed wildlife rehabilitators in the state may have wild squirrels that have been orphaned or injured. To become a wildlife rehabilitator, you must have a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit from the state.

Having a permit to hold Game in Captivity does not extend to possessing wild squirrels that are injured or orphaned. The separate Wildlife Rehabilitation permit mentioned above is required to have any wild squirrel.

Obtaining a Game in Captivity License

To obtain a Game in Captivity license, future squirrel owners must first read the state circular regarding the law as it applies to captive game animals.

The next step is to build or otherwise acquire a safe enclosure, pen, or cage that meets the state’s minimum requirements BEFORE applying for a permit.

State requirements for a squirrel enclosure include a minimum enclosure 4ft x 4ft x 8 ft high for a single animal. This enclosure should have a next box 1ft x 1ft x 2ft elevated 5 ft above ground for each animal. The enclosure should also feature a central climbing tree with at least three branches measuring 3in. or longer.

Once the enclosure is ready for inspection, complete the Game in Captivity license application – Form PR1350 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

This application will ask about the current game being kept in captivity. Since new owners must have a permit before owning a pet, as a new owner, you should enter zero.

The applicant must then mail the application along with the application fee ($45) and any additional attachments required by circumstance.

Approved applicants will receive a permit within approximately 45 days, depending on the species of game being kept. After receipt of a permit, applicants may purchase their pet. But are required to tofollow up with an inventory report to the Department of Natural Resources.

If any additional game pets are to be added to the licensed household, the existing permit application must be amended.

What Types of Squirrels are In the Area? (Grey, Fox, Flying?)

Michigan has two categories of native squirrels – tree squirrels and ground squirrels.

There are four species of ground squirrel found in Michigan. The Least Chipmunk, the Eastern Chipmunk, the Woodchuck, and the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

Five species of tree squirrels are found in Michigan – Eastern Fox Squirrel, the Eastern Gray Squirrel, the red squirrel, the Northern Flying Squirrel, and the Southern Flying Squirrel.

How to Get A Pet Squirrel In Michigan

To obtain a pet squirrel in Michigan, you must follow the steps outlined above under “Obtaining a Game in Captivity License.”

Following license approval, you must then identify a breeder of captive squirrels from whom you can purchase your pet.

Can You Buy A Pet Squirrel In Michigan?

Yes. Buying a pet squirrel in Michigan requires that you obtain your Game in Captivity License. As well as finding a licensed breeder of captive squirrels.

Many resources can be used to find a breeder of captive squirrels, but some are more reliable than others. For the sake of your future pet, be sure to do your due diligence and thoroughly. Research a breeder before purchasing your squirrel from them.

When researching a breeder in Michigan, you must ensure that they are offering fully captive-bred squirrels. Additionally, you should do some digging on the breeder themselves to ensure that they breed healthy animals. 

The last thing you want to do is to support an unethical breeder financially.

Avoid looking for a pet squirrel using the following methods –

  • Craigslist
  • Classified Ads
  • Nextdoor type websites
  • Facebook

Instead, try searching for local squirrel breeders online. Searching via a search engine will allow you to check that a breeder is USDA licensed. It will let you review their website and learn about their practices, and look up reviews and feedback left for each breeder you are considering.

Once you find a reputable breeder, be sure to meet up with them in person and ask plenty of questions! Ask about your squirrel’s health and personality. Be sure to ask any questions you have about caring for your squirrel.

When meeting with a squirrel breeder, pay attention to how they treat you, too. A good breeder will happily answer all questions that you have. And they will show genuine concern and interest in your new role as a squirrel owner. If a breeder is quick to hand off one of their animals and walks away, take that as a warning sign!

Final Word

Even though it is legal to have a pet squirrel in Michigan. It’s vital to understand what it’s like to own a pet squirrel. Most people get into the situation of getting a squirrel, only to realize that it’s harder than raising a dog or cat. 

If you’ve done your due diligence and know you want a pet squirrel. Ensure you follow Michigan’s rules and regulations to find your new pet. 

References

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/IC_1350-1_Permits_to_Hold_Wildlife_in_Captivity_234730_7.pdf

https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79135_79218_79619-466142–,00.html

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