So, can you have a pet squirrel? Or, are they covered under Exotic PetsLlaw? Read below to find out!
1. Squirrels as Pets are Illegal
In most cases, it is illegal and inhumane to have a squirrel as a pet. Squirrels are wild animals and taking away their freedom would create stressful conditions. Further, it would be tougher to teach them to be less messy. So, when people ask, are squirrels good pets, it gets difficult to answer that question.
2. Why do you want Squirrel as a Pet?
If you just saw a cute picture of a squirrel and made up your mind to adopt it as a pet then, it is better to think and decide. You should first learn more about squirrels, their behaviour and food and match it according to your schedule.
3. Different Types of Squirrels
The different types of squirrels include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels.
- Tree squirrels are the most commonly found. They are seen running across branches and on trees.
- Ground squirrels are found in the forests. They hibernate during the winter months.
- Flying squirrels glide between the trees, flowing from one to another.
4. Choosing Squirrels as Pets
Theories revealed that since the mid – 18th century, squirrels are one of the most commonly sold pet animals. The reason is the energetic nature that makes them lovable. So, can you have a pet squirrel in our home? You can, but beware of their razor-sharp teeth and claws. They can easily cut through the clothes and curtains. The nails of a squirrel are meant to tear the bark of the trees to help them climb. The sharpness could be measured by saying that their moves leave behind wounds and grooves. This is why some people do not like squirrels as pets. (See Do Squirrels Make Good Pets? Can they be domesticated?)
5. Preparing your Home
Squirrels being wild in nature love to jump, hop, climb, play, and hide. Thus, it becomes necessary to squirrel-proof the entire home before bringing the new pet. A few considerations to be kept in mind includes putting away all the small objects around, covering the small holes, and such areas where the squirrel can hide and/or get hurt. Even, securing chemicals would be a good idea.
6. Feeding your Squirrel
Squirrels are born in the wild. So, the best strategy to help them grow well is to feed them as they would eat in the wild. The list includes Pinecones, pecans, walnuts, flowers and buds, berries, acorns, and mushrooms, etc. The squirrels also enjoy human food but, it is unhealthy for them, leading to health issues in later stages. Inexperienced people often try to feed squirrels with healthy food for humans which is a strict No, No. (Also read What are the personality differences between dog and cat owners?)
7. Energy of Squirrels
The energy of the squirrel is the most fascinating and frustrating part at the same time. They need a lot of space, huge cabinets, and a cageless atmosphere for about 2 to 3 hours every day. The energy consumed with them is the same that you can spend on around 5 Labradors at home.
8. They need Other Squirrels to Learn Survival Skills
Researches revealed that young squirrels need to be around others for up to 8 weeks of their life to learn general survival skills and behavior. However, a domesticated squirrel, since raised alone, would die easily once left in the wild. (See Why are Zoos important?)
9. They Learn to Bond with Only One Human
Studies have found squirrels to be tolerant of just one human being in around nine months’ time. Squirrels do not accept a stranger after they grow older than nine months. Thus, it makes it difficult for visitors or guests if you have a squirrel as a pet. Further, they do not tolerate any other human except the first human they’ve been around in their first nine months. So, think before you decide the answer to can you have a pet squirrel.
10. Their Unpredictable Behavior
Unlike dogs and cats, squirrels have unpredictable behavior. They can be easily frightened by one incident. While they can turn to be dangerous as well. It is hard for a squirrel to settle in a home setting leaving behind its wilderness.
Based upon the given list of observations, decide can you have a pet squirrel and act accordingly!