The Sooner State lies in the South Central Region of the United States. It has about 12 million acres of forest, which is about 25% of the state. The forests are home to many wildlife species, including squirrels. So what are the laws and regulations of the state regarding keeping squirrels as pets?
Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In South Dakota?
The short answer is yes. Residents can own flying squirrels, gray squirrels, or other types of wildlife. Two licenses allow Oklahoma residents to raise and keep wildlife animals legally, the Commercial Breeders and Non-Commercial Breeder licenses. That said, those applying for a license must have the proper facilities that must pass an inspection by the game warden before the license approval.
Oklahoma is one of the most lenient states regarding pet ownership. The state offers licenses that allow its residents to own almost any type of wild or exotic animal as a pet.
Before acquiring a squirrel or another type of wild animal, you must understand the types of licenses you must possess.
Depending on when you read this, the laws may change. So you’ll want to contact the Oklahoma Wildlife Department to ensure the regulations have not changed. That said, here’s what we found regarding owning a squirrel as a pet in Oklahoma.
Breeder’s Licenses for Raising Animals In Oklahoma
As mentioned above, the state offers two types of licenses for breeding birds or animals. The two types of licenses are as follows:
Commercial Breeders License
The commercial license allows breeders to sell the birds, stock, and animals raised legally. As the breeder, you are responsible for keeping records of all the sales, deaths, and purchases of the animals for the year.
All wildlife must be sold for food only and at a reasonable price. At the time of this writing, the license for commercial breeding costs $48.00 and expires on June 30 of each year.
The following wildlife species are exempt from import and export permits, breeder licenses, and any commercial hunting license requirements.
- Sugar Gliders
The list is quite long, and you can see it here.
Non-Commercial Breeders License
Non-commercial breeders licenses allow residents to raise animals for personal consumption, as a pet, hobby, or for education and scientific purposes. This animal is for personal use only and cannot be sold.
The fee for a non-commercial wildlife breeder license costs $10 every year on July 1. According to section 5-601, breeders can retain their wildlife for up to 120 days after their license expires.
Is it Illegal to Have A Pet Squirrel in Oklahoma?
No, as long as you have the non-commercial breeder’s license. Anyone caught with wild and exotic animals without the proper license is subject to a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $500.
In addition, you will not be able to obtain a new license for at least a year.
What if I Found An Orphaned or Injured Squirrel?
According to the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, leave the wildlife alone. Young animals that appear abandoned orphaned, or injured usually aren’t. Instead, the mother is searching for food nearby and will return soon. Mother squirrels leave their kittens for 4-5 hours between feedings.
If you take in the animal, you’re preventing it from rejoining its natural family and learning essential survival skills.
If you’ve already picked up the animal, contact one of the wildlife rehabilitators in your county so they can care for the injured animal. The rehabilitators on this list are experienced and licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation:
If no wildlife rehabilitators are listed for your county, or you cannot contact one, call the ODWC Wildlife Division at (405) 521-3851, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How to Become A Wildlife Rehabilitator In Oklahoma?
If you’re interested in caring for squirrels and other wildlife, consider becoming a wildlife rehabilitator. These individuals are licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and permitted to possess certain wildlife species for rehabilitation purposes.
To become a wildlife rehabilitator in Oklahoma, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Must have the proper facilities to raise and care for the animal.
- An inspection of the animal facilities by the Game Warden.
- Have the proper licenses and permits
- They are responsible for keeping permanent records of all species and the number of animals cared for up to five years.
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast and want to become a wildlife rehabilitator in Oklahoma, contact the ODWC Law Enforcement Division at (405) 521-3719. They will be able to tell you what you need to do to get started.
What Types of Squirrels Exist in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma has five species of squirrels that make their homes in the forests and woodlands. They include the fox squirrel, gray squirrel, red squirrel, southern flying squirrel, and eastern chipmunk.
Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)
The Eastern Gray squirrel inhabits a large portion of the eastern half of Oklahoma because the eastern part of the state consists of more forest land and has many deciduous trees, such as oaks, maples, and beeches. These trees are popular among wildlife, predominantly gray and flying squirrels.
These opportunistic feeders will eat just about anything they can find. Including seeds, fruits, nuts, insects, and even bird eggs!
The Eastern Gray squirrel will also strip the bark from trees in search of food during the winter months.
The coat of an Eastern Gray squirrel is salt and pepper colored. With a gray fur coat and a large bushy tail. The color camouflages it within the woods, hiding it from predators.
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
The Red Squirrel (Sciurus) was first discovered on the Hudson Bay. It is the smallest tree squirrel and lives throughout the state.
This squirrel has reddish-brown fur on its upper body, while the belly and undertail are white. In addition, there is often a grayish or whitish band along the sides. The Red squirrel’s tail is also red with white edges.
The Red squirrel feeds primarily on tree seeds, buds, fruits, nuts, and fungi. However, when their food is in short supply, they can be seen feeding on bird feeders, gardens, and the generosity of humans.
The Red squirrel is the most vocal of all the squirrel species and will often chatter at perceived threats. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys Volans)
Oklahoma is home to the flying squirrel (Glaucomys Sabrinus). The largest of the population can be found living in the deciduous trees in the eastern part of the state.
The Quachita Mountains consist of 8 million acres of forested hills and mountains and borders central Arkansas and Southeastern Oklahoma.
The diet of both flying squirrels includes insects, nuts, berries, acorns, sap, and mushrooms.
Southern Flying Squirrels produce two litters each year with 2-4 young each. The gestation period is 40 days, and the mother weans her babies at 6 – 8 weeks.
Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus Niger)
This squirrel is bigger than most species at a weight of 1 – 3 pounds and 19 – 29 inches long. The fur on its back ranges in color between black and gray, while its underside has an orange tone that stretches to its ears, feet, cheeks, and tail edges. In addition, its long, bushy tail varies in color.
The Eastern Fox squirrel is the most common type of tree squirrel found in Oklahoma. This species can be seen foraging in bird feeders and people’s backyards.
The Eastern Fox squirrel is most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
Their diet consists of acorns, beechnuts, fruits, fungi, corn, and insects. During the winter, they have been known to eat tree bark when food is scarce.
The Eastern Fox squirrel is a loner except during mating season or when raising young. Mating season begins.
They breed twice a year and produce 1 -2 litters of young each year. After 45 days of gestation, the female fox squirrel will produce 1 – 7 blind, hairless young and wean them at eight weeks.
Does Oklahoma Have Ground Squirrels?
Oklahoma is home to many ground squirrels, but the spotted ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus spilosoma) can be seen throughout the state.
It has a brown, black, or gray coat with white spots and is about 5 inches long. It is the smallest member of the Sciuridae family that inhibats the Northern Hemisphere.
Spotted ground squirrels are herbivores that feed on flowers, plants, seeds, and grasshopper larvae.
Can I Relocate to Oklahoma With A Pet Squirrel?
Yes, anyone relocating to Oklahoma will be required to acquire an import permit and breeders license from the Law Enforcement Division before relocation. The state will determine whether the animal is allowed or must be released into the wild before relocation.
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 Buy A Pet Squirrel In Oklahoma?
Finding a breeder in Oklahoma that sells tame squirrels may be possible, but it will take some effort. However, several websites, such as this one, sell all kinds of exotic animals throughout the United States.
That said, be prepared to pay for a domesticated squirrel. Prices range from $300 – $800 or more. In addition, if caught using one, you could face legal issues.
Oklahoma is one of the few states that allows residents to keep wild and exotic animals as pets. The Department of Wildlife Conservation offers two licenses that allow residents to own certain animals legally.
Owning a pet squirrel or other wild animal without first procuring a license is illegal. If you’re considering acquiring a squirrel as a pet, you must apply for a non-commercial breeder’s license.