Many people like the idea of owning a pet squirrel. After all, these furry little creatures are a treat to have around you. However, getting a squirrel as a pet is not legal everywhere as it is considered an exotic animal.
Can You Own A Squirrel In West Virginia?
According to the Division of Natural Resources, it is legal to own a pet squirrel in West Virginia. This state is one of the eight states that don’t have many restrictions regarding wild and exotic animals.
Several states in the US have declared it illegal to own a pet squirrel. Some states require owners to hold a license or permit in order to do so, whereas some states have even allowed it.
Therefore, whether you can own a pet squirrel mostly depends on where you live. Find out which states allow squirrels as pets. Before you decide to get one, you should know whether squirrels make good pets.
Squirrels As Pets
But it was not always illegal to own a squirrel. During the mid 18th century, these fluffy animals were commonly sold and kept as pets. You could even find a little squirrel member in family photos. So, what changed? With the passage of time, it was found that these harmless, adorable creatures were wild animals. Plus, caring for them was not an easy job.
Today, squirrels are being protected and conserved as wildlife animals in many areas. They are not considered ‘pet animals’ in some states, making it illegal to own them.
Before you decide to get a squirrel, it is recommended to find out whether it is allowed in your state.
Let’s find out if it is legal to have a pet squirrel in the state of West Virginia.
Is It Legal to Own a Pet Squirrel?
In West Virginia, it is legal to own a pet squirrel. You can keep a squirrel at your home with no worries if you live in this state.
According to the state’s laws on exotic pets, it is illegal to own “dangerous, non-native” wild animals in West Virginia. It was outlawed in 2015 to keep bears, gray wolves, elephants, rhinoceros, big cats, and some other primates.
Under this law, it is legal to own animals such as ferrets and lemurs. Squirrels and other rodents are also permitted.
Do You Need A Permit to Own a Pet Squirrel?
According to US laws, it is illegal to own many exotic animals, including squirrels. An exotic animal is essentially any animal that is ‘not a cat, dog, or farm animal. Most states require the potential owner to acquire a permit if they want to own such animals.
Many states are slightly flexible when it comes to pet squirrels and can allow ownership of the animal with a permit. In West Virginia, it may be required to get a license for owning a squirrel. If you are interested in flying squirrels, then you will definitely need a permit.
Before you find your furry pet, it is advisable to contact the relevant authorities in your state and confirm if there is any such requirement.
What Types of Squirrels are In the Area?
You can easily find many squirrel varieties in West Virginia as squirrels are abundant here. The most commonly found species in this area are the red squirrel, eastern grey squirrel, and eastern fox squirrel.
The smallest of these is the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), which is generally found in the eastern part of West Virginia in the coniferous forests. It is a diurnal and active animal that primarily feeds on acorn, fungi, conifer, and bird eggs.
The eastern grey squirrel is a more common species that one can find all over West Virginia, mainly in the mixed woodlands.
They are also active throughout the day and like to eat nuts such as hickory nuts, beechnuts, acorns, samaras, pine nuts, and fruits and agricultural crops.
Eastern Fox Squirrel
The eastern fox squirrel is also commonly found in the state of West Virginia. It is more prominent in size compared to the eastern grey squirrel. This species has many variations in its coat’s coloring.
The one in West Virginia is primarily rust-colored. The eastern fox squirrel stays active throughout the year and in all the seasons.
One of the rarest and largest breeds found in West Virginia is the northern flying squirrel. This is the most exotic species in the state.
How to Get A Pet Squirrel In West Virginia
After confirming whether a permit is necessary to keep a pet squirrel, you can then look for your new fluffy friend. It is generally not advised to catch a squirrel from the wild.
The best way to get a pet squirrel is through a competent breeder. There are several exotic pet dealers in West Virginia. Browse through them and pick an experienced and reliable one.
It is always recommended to buy the squirrel in person to make sure it is the right choice.
While getting a pet squirrel, you must make sure that the breeder has domesticated the animal and is healthy and easy to care for. You can also check its overall state by looking closely at its’ appearance.
A healthy squirrel should have a thick, lush coat without ticks and fleas and clear eyes and nose. The animal’s weight should also not be too much or too little.
Can You Buy A Pet Squirrel In West Virginia
Yes, you can buy a pet squirrel in the state of West Virginia, as it is legal to own this exotic animal here. In order to buy the squirrel, potential owners should still find out whether a permit or license is required or not.
If a permit is necessary, then you must obtain it before going to buy your pet.
It is necessary for those looking to own a flying squirrel in West Virginia to obtain a permit or license first. At times, the license can be acquired through the breeder while you’re buying the pet.
We hope that this article answers your questions regarding owning a pet squirrel in West Virginia.
Some people manage to work around the legalities and still get their pets through illegal means. However, one should always research properly and fulfill the legal requirements before buying a pet animal.