Believe it or not, more and more people are choosing to keep these rodents as pets. I love feeding them, but I found myself wondering “do squirrels make good pets?” I’ll share everything I found to help you realize whether or not you should get one.
Can You Keep Squirrels As Pets?
It’s not uncommon to see more and more YouTube videos popping up with people who are raising squirrels as house pets. However, it is illegal in most states to have one as a pet. So before you decide to get a bushy-tailed rodent and raise it as a pet, visit the U.S Fish and Wildlife Website to see if you need a permit or not.
Why It May Not Be Suitable to Have A Squirrel For A Pet
I know that it’s easy to fall in love with these bushy-tailed critters if you feed them. A lot of people will end up befriending them, eventually, the squirrel starts trusting them.
They may even come up to you and grab a nut or other food item from your hand. It’s easy to think that you can train them to be a pet.
However, I wanted to share some things that you should consider besides the pet squirrel laws in your state.
These cute rodents are just that rodents. However, I know that some people love having rodents or exotic animals as pets. My brother had a pet rat when we were kids.
I hated it, but he loved it and raised it as a family pet. Maybe you’re one of those types of people who have thought about keeping a squirrel as a pet?
Well, let’s take a look at the types that have been raised as tame animals. Remember, you can tame a squirrel, but it will always be a wild animal.
Types of Squirrels People Keep As Pets
There are literally over 200 species of squirrels. These critters live in various parts of the world, excluding Antarctica and Australia. Based on what I’ve seen online, more and more people are keeping:
- Gray squirrels
- Chipmunks (ground squirrels)
- Rock Squirrels (not as common, but there are some videos out there)
- Flying Squirrels
- Prevost Squirrel
- Prairie Dogs (a type of ground squirrel)
People have realized that these rodents are not dangerous and can be kept as pets if they find an orphaned baby squirrel. By the way, read this article to help you understand what to do if you find one: Found A Baby Squirrel
Do Squirrels Make Good Pets?
There are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration to help you understand if it would be a wise choice.
Getting one as a pet is NOT like getting a family dog. This is NOT your usual pet and that’s why we found out everything you need to consider good and bad to help you decide if it’s the right type of pet.
We believe that they should be left out in the wild. They are wild animals and do NOT make the best pets for families. However, I know that some people will still try keeping one as a pet.
That’s why I wanted to share some things that you need to consider.
But first, watch this video from someone who decided to rescue a baby squirrel and ended up keeping it as a pet.
This was the video that changed my mind about getting one and keeping it as a pet. I still love them and will always feed them, but I don’t have the patience to raise one as a pet.
I’m still fascinated by them and that’s why I do all the research and put it on this website. My hope is to help you see how wonderful these critters can be.
7 Things to Consider When Keeping A Squirrel As Pet
If you have a dog, you call a family, friend or hire a pet sitter to come to watch them while you’re away. It is going to be hard to find a pet sitter who will gladly stay and watch your pet squirrel. Most people are scared of them because they know that they bite.
It will be hard to find someone to watch your squirrel so you can get out of the house for a while. Basically, you won’t own your squirrel, but they will own you.
These mammals have sharp claws and teeth, in order to survive in the wilderness. Many people who keep them as pets have claimed that they have to be tolerable of the sharp nails.
They cannot be declawed. Your pet squirrel will likely see you to the thing closest to a tree, and she will jump, climb, and dig her claws into you.
Squirrels are not known to bite people, but biting is one of the defense mechanisms they use out in the wild. Even if you raise one from a baby, they still develop that biting defense mechanism.
Some people who have raised one as a pet will say that their squirrel will “playful bite” them. It’s not hard enough to draw blood, but it can still be somewhat painful because of their sharp incisors.
These critters love to jump, climb, and run. This means that they need a huge living area where they can “be a squirrel.”
You will need to set up a big cage or living environment with branches, to mimic the outside environment. It’s important to take them out of the cage at least 2-3 hours per day.
Most squirrels don’t have long lifespans out in the wild. However, the ones that are living in captivity are known to live up to 20 years.
This is a huge responsibility if you domesticate one to trust you. Once you domesticate them, they cannot be released back into the wild.
They won’t survive if they do not show any signs of fear towards humans, dogs, and cats. Their skittish behavior is what helps them survive from their predators. Read this article to read more about: What Eats Squirrels
These critters eat anything, it’s not uncommon to see videos of them eating junk food. They will beg, plead, and even steal food.
Don’t be surprised if they steal food from your countertops, plate or anywhere else. They are opportunistic feeders and an instilled behavior that helps them survive out in the wild.
Depending on the age of the squirrel, they require different levels of care. A baby squirrel will require tons of care and can die if it is not properly cared for.
Most vets do not treat wild animals as pets. You’ll need to make sure that you find a vet that is licensed to care for wild animals.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you fall in love with your backyard critters and invite them inside. While they are not aggressive, the truth is that that they don’t make the best pets.
Of course, your definition of a pet may be totally different from mine. If you do decide to keep one as a pet, be sure to browse this site. I’ve done my best to put together some of the best squirrel information you need for feeding them and raising them as pets.
- Why Are Squirrels So Cute?
- Can You Have A Pet Squirrel In Rhode Island?
- Do Pet Squirrels Use A Litter Box?
Vet Z Insight: Squirrels As Pets – Really A Bad Idea