Should I keep a squirrel as a pet?
The jury is still out on whether keeping a squirrel as a pet is the right thing to do. Some people argue that you should not feed them, much less trying to keep them as pets. As more and more people keep squirrels as pets, it’s become socially acceptable. Most people who end up with a pet squirrel did not start out with the intent of having one. Often, they find an abandoned baby squirrel or injured squirrel and decide to nurse that squirrel. Later they get emotionally attached after months of caring for the squirrel. It is essential to check with your county or state if a license is required to keep a pet squirrel as not all states in the US allow domesticating exotic pets.
Pros of keeping a squirrel:
- Squirrels look cute and cuddly.
- Squirrels are clean when it comes to urinating and droppings. They will not litter the house with droppings.
- Squirrels can be affectionate if nurtured from their early years and if the proper care, and attention is given to them.
Cons of keeping a squirrel:
- Finding a pet sitter if you need to take a vacation can be near impossible.
- Squirrels, both young and old, need a different kind of specialized care.
- Finding a squirrel veterinarian can prove difficult sometimes.
- Squirrels are known for destroying carpets and draping. Don’t get surprised if you see your furniture torn inside out.
Essential tips to consider for keeping squirrels as pets
- Setting up a cage: Because they are naturally wild animals and have lots of energy, their cage has to resemble the wild in some sense. This includes building something for them to climb on and wood to chew on.
- Squirrels require plenty of playtimes to help focus their attention and keep them active for healthy development and fostering a positive attitude, so they don’t become anxious or depressed.
- Squirrel food: Baby squirrels require a unique milk-type formula you can get from your local veterinarian. Adult squirrels will eat anything from nuts, snacks, biscuits, berries, etc.
- Take safety precautions with squirrels. With their long claws, they can still inflict scratches on you and other members of your home. They can also be aggressive to babies, which they perceive as threats. Also, keep them away from electrical outlets and wirings. Squirrels are known to be a rabies vector. So check in with your local vet regularly.