If you’ve ever wondered “can I keep a squirrel as a pet,” you’re in the right place. The debate on keeping squirrels as pets is huge. Some people say that you shouldn’t even feed them, much less trying to domesticate them. That’s why I found everything you need to know about whether or not you can keep a squirrel as a pet.
Pet Squirrel Laws
In most states in the United States, it is illegal to own a pet squirrel. But some states will allow you to adopt one or rehab it back to health.
You will have to check your state’s specific laws before you decide to raise one as a domesticated pet. These laws do NOT prevent people from feeding them and getting close enough to pet.
If you do decide to keep a wild squirrel as a pet, you may need to get a permit to keep a squirrel legally from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
States That Allow Exotic Pets
Exotic pets are usually defined as any pet that is NOT a dog, cat, or farm animal. They usually include several different species of wildlife such as fish, reptiles, birds and yes sometimes even squirrels.
It’s usually illegal to try to domesticate exotic pets and keep them as pets. You’ll find a list all the states and whether or not they allow you to keep grey squirrels, red squirrels or any other type of squirrel as a pet.
Below you can see a list of all the states in the United states. Click on the state you’re interested in, so you can read about pet squirrel laws.
All states have different laws, so I’ll be updating this frequently to bring you the most updated information for every state.
|State||Pet Squirrels Allowed||License Required|
|Alabama||No||Squirrels are not allowed as captive animals.|
|Alaska||No||You can not possess, sell or import any type of exotic wildlife.|
|Arizona||No||No type of wildlife can be kept as pets.|
|Arkansas||Yes, with a limit of 6 per owner.||Not sure, you need to check with your state laws.|
|California||No||California does not allow any type of wild animals to be kept as pets.|
|Connecticut||Not allowed to be kept as pets.|
|Delaware||Allows you to have squirrels.||A permit may be required.|
|Florida||They allow some exotic animals, but doesn’t say anything about squirrels.|
|Georgia||Pet squirrels are not allowed|
|Hawaii||No wildlife of any type can be raised as pets.|
|Idaho||Yes, but there is a lot to know.|
|Illinois||Not allowed, unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.|
|Indiana||Yes||Must obtain a permit for every animals.|
|Iowa||You can NOT keep any wildlife animals as pets.|
|Kansas||Squirrels can only be kept as pets at zoo, sanctuaries or other approved facilities.|
|Lousiana||You can own them as pets.||Not sure, check with your state.|
|Maine||Some wild animals allowed.||Must obtain a permit|
|Maryland||You can not keep a squirrel as a pet legally.|
|Massachusetts||You can own a flying squirrel as a pet.||Couldn’t find the answer, so be sure to check your states laws.|
|Michigan||Yes||You will need a game permit.|
|Minnesota||No you cannot|
|Mississippi||They have several restrictions, you will need to check.|
|Missouri||It is illegal to care or raise an injured squirrel.|
|Montana||It is legal to keep a Southern Flying Squirrel.||Not sure, you’ll have to check with your state laws.|
|Nebraska||Yes, as long as it wasn’t obtained from the wild.||You will require a wildlife permit.|
|New Hampshire||No exotic animals or mammals can be kept as pets.|
|New Jersey||Allows red squirrels and flying squirrels to be kept as pets.||No permit required|
|New Mexico||Allowed, but confusing laws.|
|New York||Not allowed, no matter how well-behaved they are.|
|North Carolina||Illegal and could be considered a criminal offense. Some counties allow it.|
|North Dakota||Not sure, you’ll have to check with your state laws.|
|Ohio||Not allowed as pets or to be sold as pets.|
|Oklahoma||Squirrels may be sold, bartered, traded or purchased.|
|Oregon||Not allowed to keep any type of wildlife.|
|Rhode Island||Not Sure|
|South Carolina||It is allowed||Must have a permit|
|South Dakota||Not sure|
|Tennessee||Falls under the Class 111 category and they are allowed.||No permit required.|
|Texas||It is illegal to own a pet squirrel.|
|Vermont||Not allowed||May require a permit|
|Virginia||You are allowed to keep them as pets|
|Washington||Not allowed to keep any type of wildlife.|
|West Virginia||I couldn’t find a law stating whether or not they are allowed.|
|Wisconsin||Squirrel monkeys are the only exotic species that can be kept as pets.||Not sure, you’ll need to check.|
|Wyoming||Not sure, you’ll have to check.|
I’ve done my best to provide as accurate information as possible, however, make sure that you check your state laws before raising squirrels as pets. This website is a great place to start your research.
Can Squirrels Be Pets?
Most people who end up with a pet squirrel, they don’t usually get one with the intent of having one as a pet. Usually, they find a baby squirrel that fell out of a tree or is injured and was left alone by the mother.
They then decide to take the baby in and raise it until it is old enough to be on their own. However, at that point, some squirrels have bonded with their owners and instead of releasing them back into the wild, they will keep them as pets.
During the weaning process, Mossy’s tail developed with a spiral and she wasn’t able to move it that wild squirrels can move their tails. This would prevent her from being able to communicate, as they use their tails to communicate.
So she kept her and is raising her as their family pet.
Check out the behavior of a squirrel that was rescued by a woman back to health. Now she rescues squirrels and loves them. She bonds with them as we do with cats and dogs.
Now she calls herself the squirrel mom and you’ll see how Mossy loves her.
Do Squirrels Make Good Pets?
The debate is huge on whether or not you should even try to train a squirrel to be a pet. Regardless of where you stand, more and more people are raising squirrels as pets.
While they may not be the typical pets we’re used to like cats or dogs. Some people swear that domesticated squirrels make great pets.
If you’ve been thinking about owning a pet squirrel, here are some things that you need to consider.
Worst Things About Owning A Squirrel As A Pet
Owning a pet squirrel is not like having a cat or dog. They are born to be wild animals and deserve to be free to run around in nature. As I mentioned above most states in the United States, do not allow them to be domesticated.
Won’t Be Able to Find A Pet Sitter
If you’ve ever had a dog or cat, you know one of the hardest things is finding someone to care for them while you’re on vacation. When you’re raising a wild squirrel as a pet, they own you.
You might be able to find a pet sitter, but most people won’t have the patience and high pain tolerance to raise one. While squirrels don’t bit or are NOT aggressive, they do have sharp nails and teeth that are designed to pierce bark, climb trees, and can slice through human skin very easily.
Pet Squirrel Care
Depending on the age of the squirrel, they will require different levels of care. A baby squirrel will require a special diet. You won’t be able to feed them dog or cat food, which means that you’ll need to buy them food for squirrels.
And these little critters can eat a lot.
If you’re raising one in a state that it’s illegal, you won’t be able to take them to the vet without getting into trouble.
You can consider any of the above as pet squirrel names.
I personally wouldn’t try keeping one as a pet, I am one of those people that believe wild animals deserve to live in the wild.
But, I know there are a lot of people who are raising them as a domesticated pet.