Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Utah?


If you live in Utah and you have ever wanted to own a squirrel, you might be looking to check whether you can have a Pet squirrel in Utah and if it’s legal? Different states have very different laws regarding squirrel ownership and in what circumstances you can keep squirrels – so let’s explore the situation in Utah.

So Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Utah?

According to the Wildlife Game Laws under authority sections 23-13-3, 23-14-18, and 23-14-19, no person can capture live nongame mammals for commercial, educational, or scientific use. Nongame mammals include squirrels, prairie dogs, and marmots of the Sciuridae family.

That said, the law is vague as to whether Ohio residents are allowed to rescue and keep squirrels as pets. 

Is It Legal to Own a Pet Squirrel?

It is tricky to find out many specifics about whether squirrels can be kept as pets in Utah, but there do not seem to be specific rulings against it for some kinds of squirrels.

Suppose you are thinking of getting a squirrel as a pet. In that case, you should contact a local government official to ask about the specifics, with information about the circumstances in which you are thinking of acquiring one (or have acquired one, if you have picked up an injured squirrel).

You may then be able to get some better advice on whether you can keep the squirrel in the short or long term and what you may need to do to ensure you comply with any local or state laws.

Utah does not seem to have specific laws against keeping squirrels. 

According to RegisterUtahPets, ground squirrels can be kept as pets without any certification and without breaking the law. They also say that the Albert’s squirrel is a prohibited pet but don’t offer specifics on other types of squirrel, which is why you should always check with a government official.

Do You Need A Permit To Own a Pet Squirrel?

You may need a permit for certain types of squirrels and in some situations. It is best to consult legal authorities on the specifics of your situation and the type of squirrel that you wish to keep, as there are several squirrel species in Utah, and the laws may differ according to the circumstances and species.

You do not need a permit for keeping ground squirrels, according to RegisterUtahPets, but it is always best to check just in case, as local areas may have different laws, and rules may change.

What Types of Squirrels Are In the Area?

There are three different squirrel species in Utah. According to BirdWatchingHQ, these are the flying squirrels, Albert’s squirrel, and the American red squirrel. In recent years, the fox squirrel has also made its home in Utah.

Flying Squirrel

The flying squirrel is a nocturnal, small squirrel that is commonly found in forests. They can use flaps of skin between their forelimbs and hind limbs to glide between trees (not quite fly, but still impressive). They can glide distances up to 25 meters in the right conditions!

Flying squirrels grow to about 14 inches long. Only northern flying squirrels are found in Utah. Flying squirrels are thought to have relatively short life spans of only around four years.

Albert’s Squirrel

The Albert’s squirrel is particularly distinctive for its ears, which are unlike any other squirrel’s. They have long tufts of dark hair that stick up past the ends of the ears, but only in the winter (these disappear in the summer).

Albert’s squirrels can grow to about 26 inches at most and generally inhabit coniferous forests. They are one of the only squirrels that don’t store food for winter, as their favorite food, the Ponderosa pine, grows year-round, and they can eat the twigs and bark.

American Red Squirrel

There is also the American red squirrel, which is another small squirrel, at only 14 inches in length. These cute little things can live up to 8 years but have many natural predators. They are mainly found in coniferous forests but can live in deciduous forests and mostly eat seeds.

They are not particularly shy of humans and enjoy eating from their bird feeders regularly.

Fox Squirrel

The fox squirrel, which was first spotted in Utah around 2011, are larger than the native squirrels. But interestingly, do not compete with them for food, as each type fills a different niche.

They are adorable squirrels with fluffy orange tails that look somewhat like a fox’s brush – hence the squirrel’s name.

How To Get A Pet Squirrel In Utah

You cannot own Albert’s squirrel in Utah; this is banned.

Although there do not seem to be specific laws saying that you cannot take other kinds of squirrels from the wild, that doesn’t mean you can – in fact, you may find it’s just the opposite.

Because no laws protect you if you do so, you may find that you are forced to give up a pet squirrel if government officials decide you shouldn’t have taken it.

If you want to obtain a pet squirrel legally, you will need to get in touch with your local government and find out the legalities in your specific area. If you are given the go-ahead, make sure you have written permission before getting a squirrel.

Even if you find an injured squirrel, you should look into the laws regarding its treatment and whether you can keep it; in some states, it is illegal to have a squirrel even temporarily while providing care.

Can You Buy A Pet Squirrel In Utah?

No, there do not seem to be breeders that specialize in providing pet squirrels in the state. This may be because of the vagueness of the regulation, which might make it hard for breeders to handle and sell squirrels legally.

You should not buy squirrels from online adverts and social media pages or friends or associates, as you have no way of knowing how these squirrels were obtained and what the legalities are.

Final Word

It’s hard to know whether you are allowed to keep squirrels in Utah, although some sources suggest that certain types of squirrels may be kept without a license or certification.

If you are very keen to keep a squirrel, spend some time researching the requirements, the drawbacks, and the challenges you’ll face, and then get some legal advice on it. 

Remember that squirrels aren’t easy pets, and you may not be able to pass them on if you find you can’t cope.

As an alternative to getting a squirrel, consider volunteering at rescues, helping with rehabilitation, or befriending the wild squirrels in your local park.

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