As a squirrel lover, you may have contemplated the possibility of owning a pet squirrel one day. Unfortunately, it is not legal to have pet squirrels in all U.S. states. In Nebraska, however, residents may own a pet squirrel, but owners must follow specific guidelines established by the state.
Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Nebraska?
Yes. It is legal to own a pet squirrel in Nebraska- but only if the squirrel was raised in captivity.
Nebraska strictly regulates what captive wildlife residents can keep as pets. It is only legal to keep fox squirrels, gray squirrels, and flying squirrels under a captive wildlife permit.
Under Nebraska law, it is illegal to capture any native wildlife and keep it as a pet – this includes squirrels. Additionally, you may not purchase a pet squirrel from anyone who does not have a state license.
Before getting a squirrel or other exotic pet, it’s essential to know which states it’s legal to own pet squirrels.
Do You Need A Permit to Own a Pet Squirrel?
Yes. In Nebraska, you must have a captive wildlife permit to keep permitted captive wildlife.
It is not possible (or legal) to obtain a permit to own a wild squirrel as a pet. Someone can only hold a wild squirrel in captivity if that person has a wildlife rehabilitation license.
Obtaining a Captive Wildlife License
To obtain a captive wildlife permit in Nebraska, you must contact the Commission District or Service Center Office, who will furnish you with information and an application packet.
Once you have completed the application, you must return it to the Nebraska Game; Parks Commission Office along with the required $33 fee.
You must obtain your game in captivity license before purchasing your squirrel. You must also have an appropriate enclosure for your squirrel to pass inspection by a Game and Parks Commission conservation officer.
Nebraska does not openly provide information on what constitutes a suitable enclosure for a squirrel, so it is good to call the Game and Parks Commission Center to find out their requirements.
For a basic idea of what you can expect, the requirements for a pet squirrel enclosure in the state of Michigan include an enclosure measuring a minimum of 4ft x 4ft x 8 ft high for one squirrel. This enclosure should have a nest box 1ft x 1ft x 2ft elevated 5 ft above ground for each animal. The enclosure should also have a central climbing tree with at least three branches that measure 3in. or longer.
When your enclosure is complete, a conservation officer from the Game and Parks Commission will come and inspect it. If your enclosure meets the necessary standards, you will be issued a captive wildlife permit.
If your enclosure does not meet the state requirements, the conservation officer will tell you what you need to adjust or change. Once you make the requested changes, the conservation officer will re-inspect your enclosure.
With an approved enclosure and captive wildlife permit, you can purchase your squirrel.
It is also worth noting that Nebraska requires captive wildlife permit holders to submit an annual accounting of animal inventory and a renewal form for their permit to the Commission District or Service Center Office by the last day of the year, every year.
An annual accounting of animal inventory is a form that states how many captive wildlife animals you currently have and their species. This form also requires that you report any changes to your previously approved enclosure.
The annual accounting of animal inventory form will also ask that you list newly acquired captive wildlife in a separate section. This section will require you to enter the name and address of the seller, as well as their permit number.
Your annual accounting should also make a note of any wildlife that was born in your possession. You will also want to make note of any animals that got lost to depredation or sickness and any animals that were released or escaped your custody.
What Types of Squirrels are In Nebraska?
Nebraska has four types of tree squirrel native to the area – these include the Eastern Gray Squirrel, the American Red Squirrel, the fox squirrel, and the southern flying squirrel. However, there is some disagreement over whether the red squirrel is seen in Nebraska.
Nebraska also has four types of ground squirrel in the area – these include Franklin’s ground squirrel, the Spotted ground squirrel, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and the Wyoming ground squirrel.
How to Get A Pet Squirrel In Nebraska
To obtain a pet squirrel in Nebraska, you must follow the steps outlined above under “Obtaining a Captive Wildlife License.”
Once you have a captive wildlife license, you must then find a breeder who is licensed by the state to breed captive squirrels. DO NOT buy your squirrel from anyone other than a licensed breeder.
You may also purchase a squirrel from another state, but we will cover the requirements for this in the next section.
Can You Buy A Pet Squirrel In Nebraska?
Yes. To buy a pet squirrel in Nebraska, you must find a licensed captive squirrel breeder in the state.
When you purchase your pet squirrel, make sure to ask for and keep a record of the sale if you ever get asked to provide it by the Game and Parks Commission. A record of sale from a licensed breeder is the only way to prove that your squirrel was obtained legally.
As you begin searching for a pet squirrel, you may have difficulty finding a licensed squirrel breeder close to you. Be prepared to travel around the state to find a reputable breeder and be prepared to be added to a waiting list for upcoming pups (good breeders often sell out litters in advance.)
You may purchase a squirrel outside of the state and transport or have them transported to the state if they have sufficient legal documentation that shows that the animal was legal in its state of origin – for example, license numbers of permits.
It is legal to own a pet squirrel in Nebraska, although not everyone should get one. Unlike domesticated pets such as cats and dogs, squirrels don’t make the best pets.