Although several states have a restriction on keeping squirrels as pets, many allow It! Squirrels can make affectionate and adorable pets, but they are not for everyone! If you have experience with exotic pets, you may wonder if a pet squirrel is a good fit for you? Will they use a litter box, and are they trainable?
Pets squirrels have wild instinctual behaviors, even when kept as a domesticated pets. This means they mark their territory, bark, chatter, and scream as their form of communication. However, with some patience and appropriate training techniques, a pet squirrel be trained to use a litter box or to poop outside.
Squirrels aren’t domesticated, and some argue they are not the best animals to keep as pets. But, if you’re considering getting one, you might have questions about whether they can use a litterbox and how complicated the process would be.
So let’s find out about these rodents’ bathroom behaviors. But first, let’s look at some of their natural instincts.
Where Do Squirrels Poop In The Wild?
In the wild, squirrels exhibit different behavior when it comes to their waste disposal. They primarily poop from trees or inside tree hollows, where they often build their nests.
They also tend to defecate around or inside bird feeders and occasionally under cars or wherever they seek shelter.
Like all wild animals, they poop on any surface, and you might have seen squirrel poop on your patio, rocks, roofs, decks, ect. Squirrel feces is typically dark brown or black in color and barrel-shaped with a soft, smooth texture.
They prefer pooping on wooden surfaces such as; decks, roofs, patios, etc.
This preference may be linked to their tree-dwelling lifestyle, which provides ample opportunities to locate wooden surfaces.
Where Will Pet Squirrels Poop?
If you’re considering a squirrel as a pet, you must know they won’t have a fixed place to do their business. Squirrels are natural foragers who often mark their territory using feces and urine.
When you have a pet squirrel, teaching them to poop and urinate in the most appropriate location becomes crucial, as they could make a mess everywhere in your home.
However, the answer to the pooping question isn’t as straightforward as you would think. There are many options for training your pet squirrel to find a place to do their business.
The first option is to train them to go outside, which only applies if your space or backyard is safe for a squirrel to roam.
Teaching them to go outside would be the easiest option. Still, when a squirrel is kept in an enclosure, training them to use a litterbox is recommended.
Can You Train A Squirrel To Use The Litter Box? Are They Trainable?
Pet squirrels can be trained to use a litter box for their waste. Though the process might take some time and patience, squirrels are trainable.
This will teach the squirrel that the litter box is their designated area for waste.
In addition to consistent training and positive reinforcement, providing a clean and comfortable living space for the squirrel will contribute to successful litter box training.
With dedication and proper guidance, a pet squirrel can be effectively trained to use a litter box, leading to a cleaner and more enjoyable living environment for the pet and their owner.
Creating a Litter Area for Your Pet Squirrel
Properly setting up a litter area for your pet squirrel is essential for maintaining cleanliness and preventing unwanted odors in your home.
Below are the steps to create a designated potty area for your rodent.
Selecting a Suitable Litter Box
Use a small shallow pan as the litter box. You can repurpose a plastic container, such as a pre-packed vegetable container (not one used for meat), or purchase a small litter pan designed for small animals.
Ensure the litter box is sturdy and easy for your squirrel to access. Place it in a quiet spot, and teach them where it is.
Choosing the Right Litter Material
Selecting a safe and effective litter material for your pet squirrel is essential. You don’t need to spend money on anything fancy.
Instead, opt for commercial litter designed for cats or small pets. The most important thing is choosing fragrance-free litter that contains no harsh chemicals that could irritate the squirrel’s respiratory system.
If you’re on a budget, consider using non-toxic shredded paper. That said, you will need to replace the paper daily.
Maintaining Your Squirrel’s Litter Area
Keeping your pet squirrel’s litter area clean ensures their health and well-being.
Here we provide guidance on cleaning and maintenance and tips for adjusting your squirrel’s litter area for better hygiene.
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Regular cleaning of the litter box is critical, and below are some tips to help you maintain a clean litter box.
- Scoop the litter box daily to remove waste and prevent odors.
- Wash the litter box with warm water and mild detergent at least once weekly to keep it sanitary.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, as that will deter the use of it.
- Vacuum or sweep up around the litter box regularly to keep it clean.
- Use litter mats or a small carpet to trap small pieces of litter in your squirrel’s paws.
Common Problems and Solutions
Accidents Outside the Litter Box
Like domesticated pet training, squirrels will have accidents outside the litter box, especially during the initial stages of training.
One way to prevent such occurrences is to ensure the litter box is in an easily accessible spot for your squirrel.
Regularly cleaning the litter box is essential to encourage usage and maintain your pet’s hygiene.
When your squirrel successfully uses the litter box, praise and reward them with their favorite treat.
Positive reinforcement is vital to help your squirrel associate using the litter box with a positive outcome.
Resistance to Litter Box Training
Some squirrels may resist litter box training, showing no interest in using the designated area for excretion. When this happens, persistence and patience is the key to success.
Avoid negative reinforcement, as squirrels don’t comprehend the concept of punishment. Punishing them will only cause them to become scared of you and can lead to behavioral issues.
Can You Potty Train Baby Squirrels?
Pet squirrels younger than five weeks of age cannot be potty trained.
However, you can start potty training your pet squirrel when they become older than five weeks. Remember that the earlier you start potty training, the quicker and easier the process will be!
You can easily encourage your squirrel to use its litter box by placing its feces into the box.
Be sure to place fresh feces in the box, as they will smell it, and learn to associate the particular box with using it as a bathroom.
Teaching a pet squirrel to use a litter box instead of pooping everywhere in your home will be more challenging than training a cat or dog.
However, by providing them with what they need and using the correct training techniques, your pet squirrel can be trained to use a litter box and will practice this behavior for the rest of their life!
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