Can You Have a Squirrel as a Pet

Can You Have a Squirrel as a Pet

Many people love cute and furry animals, like squirrels, and wonder if they can keep them as pets.

Squirrels are indeed adorable creatures with their bushy tails and quick movements. But the big question is, can squirrels be your pet?

It’s important to know that squirrels are primarily wild animals. They’re not like dogs or cats, which have been reproduced over many years to live with humans.

Squirrels are designed by nature to live outdoors and roam freely in the wild. Squirrels need lots of space to run, climb, and search for food.

They also have a special diet that includes nuts, fruits, and insects.

So, if you want a squirrel as a pet, let’s look at some Important things you need to know about keeping one and check if it is safe.

What is a Squirrel?

What is a Squirrel?

A squirrel is a small to medium-sized furry animal in the Sciuridae family.

They’re known for their bushy tails, sharp claws, and big front teeth, which they use to chew on nuts and seeds. Squirrels are good at living in different places, from forests to cities, worldwide.

Squirrels are famous for climbing and jumping in trees. They eat mostly plants such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes fungi.

Their strong sense of smell helps them find hidden food during cold winters.

Do Squirrels Make Good Pets?

Do Squirrels Make Good Pets?

Squirrels might look adorable and fun when out in nature, but they usually aren’t suitable as pets. Let me explain why.

1. Wild Nature

Squirrels are naturally wild creatures with specific instincts and behaviors that help them survive in the wild. When people try to keep them as pets, it can cause the squirrels to become stressed and face health problems.

2. Legal Restrictions

Several areas have strict rules against having squirrels as pets because they can spread diseases and might harm local animals if let go in nature.

3. Specialized Care

Squirrels require a specialized diet and care that can be challenging for the average person to provide. They have complex dietary needs and need plenty of space to roam and climb.

4. Bonding Difficulties

Unlike domesticated pets, squirrels do not typically form strong bonds with humans. They can become aggressive and difficult to handle as they mature.

Important Things You Need to Know for Keeping a Squirrel as a Pet

Important Things You Need to Know for Keeping a Squirrel as a Pet

1. Keeping Squirrels as Pets is Against the Law

Owning a squirrel as a pet might sound cute, but it’s important to understand that it’s usually against the law in many areas.

Rules about protecting wildlife make catching and keeping squirrels as pets illegal.

These laws are in place to ensure wild animals stay safe and avoid any problems for people.

2. Squirrel Food is Not Available for Purchase

While ensuring a squirrel’s dietary needs are met is challenging, it prompts a related question: Is squirrel meat a viable food option?

This question isn’t just about pet care but touches on understanding our interactions with nature and the ethical considerations of consuming wildlife.

Unlike traditional pets like dogs or cats, specialized squirrel food is unavailable at your local pet store.

Squirrels have a diverse diet of nuts, fruits, insects, and plants.

Providing proper nutrition for a pet squirrel can be quite challenging and expensive. You must research and prepare a balanced diet to ensure your health.

3. Sharp Teeth are Part of Their Arsenal

Squirrels have teeth like chisels and keep growing as they age.

These teeth are super important for their survival in the wild because they use them to chew on hard stuff like tree bark and nuts.

But when squirrels are pets, their teeth need care to stop them from growing too much and causing dental issues.

This means giving them the right chew toys and food to keep their teeth healthy.

4. Overnight Solitude isn’t an Option

Squirrels are lively during the daytime and aren’t used to being alone at night.

They enjoy hanging out with other squirrels.

If you want to keep them as pets, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with them and make sure they have friends to keep them happy and well.

So, be ready to give them plenty of attention and care for them regularly.

5. Squirrels Exhibit High Messiness Levels

Squirrels aren’t exactly neat freaks. In their natural habitat, they spread food and stuff all around space.

When they’re kept as pets, they can be messy, too, spreading food and making a mess.

So, keeping their home clean is super important, as well as giving them lots of room to move around and play.

Different Types of Squirrels

1. Flying Squirrels

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are tiny nighttime animals famous for their cool talent of gliding in the air.

They have a furry, stretchy patagium that goes between their front and back legs, like wings and helps them float between trees.

These clever squirrels usually can’t be kept as pets in many places because of rules and because they need special care.

2. Ground Squirrels

Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels, as the name suggests, are primarily terrestrial and live in caves beneath the ground.

You’ll often spot them in grassy fields and open spaces.

While they can be cute to observe in the wild, it’s important to know that they aren’t suitable as pets.

3. Tree Squirrels

Tree Squirrels

When we hear squirrels, we usually think of tree squirrels. They’re great at climbing trees and mostly live there.

But remember, tree squirrels are unlike regular pets you can keep at home.

In some places, having them as pets might even be against the law unless you get special permission.


Having a squirrel as a pet may seem exciting, but it’s not as simple as it appears.

Squirrels have unique needs and behaviors that can be challenging for people to understand and provide for. They need lots of space to run and climb.

They have sharp teeth and claws that can hurt humans.

Squirrels also have special diets that are hard to reproduce at home and carry diseases that can harm us.

Keeping a squirrel as a pet without a special permit is illegal in many places.

Remember, while squirrels are amazing creatures, we should appreciate them from a distance to ensure their well-being and ours.

David Wilson
David Wilson, who has a Master’s in Agricultural Sciences from Texas A&M University, became part of our team in 2023. His expertise lies in innovative gardening technologies, particularly aeroponics, where he has over 8 years of experience. David’s prior roles include working as a research scientist for agricultural tech firms, focusing on sustainable food production. Moreover, David collaborated on urban farming initiatives and taught community gardening workshops. His hobbies include woodworking and exploring the outdoors.

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