It's Legal to Keep a Squirrel as a Pet in Some States

Posted by Christy Caplan
Squirrels

Do squirrels make good pets? First, they have sharp squirrel nails.

These nails are designed to pierce bark and allows them to climb trees. These can completely rake skin. VIN (a site that veterinarians use) has one case where a woman has a "squirrel garb suit" that she wears when the squirrels are roaming the house. Really? This sounds scary! 

This is just one reason that squirrels don't make great pets.

Is it legal to have a squirrel as a pet?

In many states it's illegal to keep them as pets, some states require licenses, and in other states, people are required to have wildlife rehabilitation training. Here's an article that outlines which exotic pets are legal in each state. In the state of Washington, it appears I can live with a pet squirrel. 

Disadvantages of having a squirrel as a pet

  • A squirrel's incisors grow 6 inches per year.
  • Squirrels require a balanced and natural diet that is time-consuming, expensive, and difficult to provide. Hours are spent gathering food from the outdoors, cooking high-calcium diets, purchasing and preparing insects. 
  • Squirrels are junk food addicts. They will beg, borrow, and plead for junk food, or if those plans fail they will just take it.
  • They need a lot of space: huge cages, and a lot of outside-the-cage time every day, about 2-3 hours per day.
  • Squirrels like to keep their living areas clean and throw anything "dirty" onto the floor. This includes partially eaten bits of food, unliked food, wilted fruits and vegetables, nutshells, uneaten or partially eaten insects. 

This all sounds like a lot to manage to take care of a pet squirrel! They are wild animals.

What if you find a squirrel baby?

Most of the time that people end up with a pet squirrel, it's because they find a baby that's been abandoned. If you find yourself in this situation, you're better off contacting people who can care for the animal and reintroduce it to the wild. 

They are cute!

Keeping squirrels whether it's a young squirrel, baby squirrel, adult squirrel, flying squirrels, red squirrels, grey squirrels, and tree squirrels are all high maintenance! The level of cuteness is off the charts, of course, so we understand why this is tempting.

Small animals (like hamsters) even squirrels can be hard to resist but you must check with your state to determine which exotic pets are OK to own and which are illegal. Are these popular pets? If you look on Insta you'll see so many squirrels as pets they must be growing in popularity. There are so many squirrel owners.

Think about how you may recreate a squirrel's natural habitat? Remember, though, that these animals are wild squirrels!

Do you know anyone that shares their home with a squirrel? We'd love to hear more! Please leave a comment below!

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It's Legal to Keep a Squirrel as a Pet in Some States