Author Topic: Pet Squirrels?  (Read 10199 times)

Offline ⚡⚡DrachenDame⚡⚡

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Pet Squirrels?
« on: February 02, 2009, 01:51:48 PM »
A friend of mine is interested in pet squirrels. I don't really know a lot about them. care, housing, diet, etc. I was wondering if anyone on here has squirrels, or knows about them as pets?
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Offline NJExotics

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 05:39:02 PM »
That's an expansive question!  ;D

The sciuridae family is huge, and quite a number of species have made their way into the pet hobby. What kind of squirrel was your friend thinking of getting?

Offline ⚡⚡DrachenDame⚡⚡

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 11:39:22 PM »
An Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) The kind we have native around here. (NY) I've hard of people keeping them, but I don't know much about them.
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Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 01:45:18 AM »
 Squirrels are not often kept as pets but Grey Squirrels even less so. If they are native to your area it is unlikely you are able to keep them as pets. Well, NY is a somewhat difficult state when it comes to many exotics.

 Personally, ground squirrels are much better :thumbsup:

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Offline ThaRatChick

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 09:43:21 PM »
i want a tree squirrel! My sisters-friends-dad has one. I have no idea how he cares for it tho...
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Offline nancycccslp

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2009, 05:01:48 PM »
Okay, time for the wildlife rehabber to join in here:

A baby ANYTHING is cute.  A baby squirrel is very cute.  But then they grow up, and just like in the wild, they want to run off and be alone.  THAT'S when the trouble starts.  They begin biting, they easily get "cage crazy," they become sexually mature and aggressive.  The "owner" (aka kidnapper) is suddenly faced with a "pet" that hates them, hates the dog and cat he was playing with just a month ago, and bites INCREDIBLY hard.  So the "owner" almost always dumps them in the park.  Now you have a squirrel who has NO IDEA how to take care of itself and is not afraid of people charging up to people to mug them for food.  How long will that animal last before being euthanized due to "rabies" behavior?  Or attacked and killed by a cat/dog because it's not afraid of them?  Or simply slowly starve to death over the winter because he/she had no idea and no time to build a cache of food? 

Oh sure, the occasional animal is kept despite the deteriorating behavior because "I just love him!"  Nice way to show him; lock him in a teeny cage and refuse to let him live a squirrely life.  Never to run up a tree, meet another squirrel and have babies, dig up all my bulbs. 

WILD ANIMALS NEED TO BE WILD.  And in New York, it's illegal to own them.  So if your squirrel bites a visitor, you are SO not covered by your insurance.  And if your squirrel gets sick, he is SO not going to be treated by a vet. 

There are plenty of pets to choose from.  Choose a pet, not  a prisoner.
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Offline SarahD

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2009, 05:12:25 PM »
As a vet tech at an all exotic specialty clinic I see first hand how the "pet" wild animals are living and I agree with nancycccslp 100% on this one.

Offline ⚡⚡DrachenDame⚡⚡

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2009, 05:28:39 PM »
There are plenty of pets to choose from.  Choose a pet, not  a prisoner.

Calm down. There's no need to be hostile about it. I was asking a question not saying, "Hey look I caught a squirrel. WHEEE!" I'm not retarded. There ARE tree squirrel breeders, and if he were to even get one it would be from a breeder. Secondly, All pets are technically prisoners, so don't give me the BS that a tree squirrel can be any less domesticated than a rat. In case you didn't know. Dogs, cats, and EVERY animal we keep as pets were once wild. Nobody was talking about capturing a wild animal, as neither he nor I are equipped to do that. Lastly, even if he were to get one it would be kept in a tiny cage. a sufficient ENCLOSURE would be built to ensure that the animal has enough room.

You need to take a chill pill and watch your tone when posting to an inquisitive thread. I never once claimed to have caught anything or to have raised anything wild. ALL of my pets, including my fish and reptiles are CAPTIVE BRED. I DO NOT condone wild caught animals of any kind, unless for the express purpose of reviving or preserving a species.
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Offline nancycccslp

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2009, 07:18:01 PM »
NOPE.
Not taking a chill pill.
Not "watching my tone."

I've been a wildlife rehabber for YEARS and you are missing the point; IT IS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL TO KEEP EASTERN GREY SQUIRRELS AS PETS.  THAT'S what you said you wanted to do.  I'm not inferring anything here.  THAT was the statement I was responding to.  And as the rehabber who gets the "cast off pets" thrown at them, yeah you bet I'm sensitive.  What sounds like a good idea to you is a horror show 6 months down the line.  THAT'S what you don't know, and I do. 

As for comparing grey squirrels to dogs, you have got to be kidding.  My Labradors would not know what to do "in the wild;" they'd be looking for the couch and the kibble.  Generations upon GENERATIONS of dogs have been DOMESTICATED.  Squirrels are not DOMESTICATED.  They  may be able to be habituated, rarely tamed, but never DOMESTICATED.  Rats are DOMESTICATED.  Look it up.
Tamed:  1 a: to reduce from a wild to a domestic state b: to subject to cultivation: to deprive of spirit
Habituated:decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus
Domesticated:to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans over generations

I'm also not sure just "how much room" a squirrel would find sufficient.  We use aviaries of approximately 10 feet tall, 10 feet across and the squirrel babies we HAVE to raise can't wait to get out of those. 

If you don't want those of us "in the know" re: wild animal raising/dumping to get riled, GIVE US ALL THE INFO WE NEED to make a calmer reply.  "I'm interested in the Eastern Grey Squirrels, the type we have in NY," sure sounds like grabbing a wild baby.  And it happens every day.  It's hard to even express the horror of the red-tailed hawk with PINK-PAINTED TALONS. 

I have no way to know if you are.......I'm not going to use the word you did..............developmentally disabled or not.  And that's not the issue.  PLENTY of people snatch baby squirrels; there are listings on Craigslist every spring/summer/fall.  Since that is a FACT, please do not assume that everyone who poses such a question has the squirrels' best interest at heart. 
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Offline ⚡⚡DrachenDame⚡⚡

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2009, 07:35:55 PM »
Let me make something absolutely clear. First of all, the reason I posted here ASKING is because obviously I'm trying to be responsible. Just because an animal is native to an area does not mean that it cannot be kept as a pet. Obviously I don't have a squirrel, and after much research, I convinced my friend that it wouldn't be a suitable pet. There are many species native in NY that are kept ask pets. Let me name a few: Red Eared Sliders, Leopard Frogs, Red Efts, Salamanders, etc. Never once did I say ANYTHING about going out and capturing an animal. Secondly, I have personally worked for an animal preserve that rescues and rehabilitates wild animals such as birds of prey, venomous snakes, non-venomous snakes, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, squirrels, turtles, tortoises, and more. I have personally been responsible for the care of many of these animals, including feeding Copperheads, Owls, Falcons and more. I know all about wild animals and that they are WILD.

Let me tell you something else. If you were to release your dog into the wild, let me GUARANTEE you that HE WOULD SURVIVE. They are animals, and they have instincts. They know the scent of food, and while they are domesticated, they have the will to live, and that will is strong. Same thing with rats, cats, and many other animals that can live in the available climate. While I would never recommend letting a pet go into the wild, if that were to happen, they would find a way to live and survive, and they would revert to their natural state.

Lastly, I would like to say that I am a responsible pet owner, and I don't condone catching wild animals.
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Offline nancycccslp

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2009, 09:01:17 PM »
Let's examine what happened to Eileen's bunny Gulliver when someone released him into the wild.  No "guarantee" there.  He was half-dead when he was saved.  Same for Tucker, another bunny we rescued.  He's permanently disabled from his "freedom."  There are many dogs who have been "released into the wild."  MOST DO NOT SURVIVE.  The animals that do survive tend to "take over" from native species.  Feral cat colonies are one example.  The Red-Eared slider you use as an example?  INTRODUCED.  NOT NATIVE.  Actually, they are released pets that have established a "niche."  The others are native, but frequently captured from the wild to be kept as pets. 

So thanks for telling me something else.

Aaaand I'm done.
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Offline ⚡⚡DrachenDame⚡⚡

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2009, 09:42:25 PM »
I think you should know that it's people like you who make GM a hostile place, and it's people like you who scare away new members.
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Offline ThaRatChick

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2009, 10:30:28 PM »
I think everone should relax a little. It was just a question. Lets not get this thread locked. If your friend is really into squirrels, advise her to volunteer at you local wildlife rehabilitator. Then the person can be in contact with wild animals and help them at the same time.
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Offline NJExotics

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 12:11:20 AM »
I feel like this is all my fault. If I would have given Drache the information this topic would have been done with. (Quite frankly, I've been neglecting this forum because it is, with all due respect, terribly inactive and very conservative. Drache, please pm me and I'll send you info regarding squirrel care. I'd recommend your friend looking into flying squirrels, as captive breeding and rearing efforts with them have been very successful. I trust your friend will figure out the necessary laws prior to obtaining such an animal, will thoroughly familiarize his/herself with the necessary information regarding their care an well being, and will obtain one from a quality breeder only.

Nancy, I admire the heart that you put into your work. Your passion for animals is very much apparent, and I am confident that this passion is transmitted into wonderful, unfaltering work as a wildlife rehabilitator. You are indeed an asset to your community and the animals you vow to protect.


Now without stepping on any toes whatsoever, I think it might be worthwhile to examine the definition of "pet". Looking in the dictionary actually helps very little and only makes apparent why it can be an argue on which to debate.


From TheFreeDictionary.com "Pet- An animal kept for amusement or companionship"

From Merriam-Webster "Pet-  a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility"

From YourDictionary.com "Pet- an animal that is tamed or domesticated and kept as a companion or treated with fondness"


Which definition do you use, if any? We all have our own opinions of what pets are, and sometimes they don't fit the preconceived notions of what others believe. My trip to South America was an eye opener to this. I have a "thing" for South American rodents so I was stoked to intern where they actually lived! A woman I met there was excited to show me her "pet" Agouti. Now, in my eyes this thing was wild. It actually lived outside but would return home each day to munch on food her "owner" had prepared. The agouti would let her hug it, rub its belly, pick it up... things you wouldn't normally do to an animal that lives in the forest. Another woman kept guinea pigs, but made it clear they were not pets, rather a food source for her family (I had heard about this prior to my travels, but didn't realize the extent to which people keep them.). Interesting... what we call pets, they're eating, and what we see as wild animals they're nurturing.

Its apparent that, after the laws and rules and permits and regulations are said and done, there still exists a gray area which comes to be centered around morals. Morals is a battle you can never really win. Is it moral to keep squirrels as pets, guinea pigs as food, breed cute fuzzy rats for snake food, etc? That's up to the person doing it and the laws that attempt to be fair and just in such matters.

I think that as animal enthusiasts and pet owners (i'm assuming we on here are at least that) it is our duty first and foremost to take care- the best possible care- of the animals we've decided to define as our pets. And if compelled to do so, educate to the best of our ability to others only the best possible care of such animals, so that they too can care for theirs. There are "pets" all over and they will always be there; if we fight over morals and definitions we miss the opportunity to learn and educate and care for these "pets", and that hurts only them.


Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2009, 07:41:25 PM »
 Very nice post NJExotics.

 The care and keeping of exotics is a heated topic. Education is the key and both Nancy and Drache have seen both sides of the fence here. The rehabilitator and the animal keeper. Each is coming at this from different perspectives and both need to respect each other's (what should be educated) opinion on the matter.

 I had made a response to this last night but decided not to post it. I will say that for the majority of the population, a wild animal is never a good choice for a companion. For a small percentage of people, the relationship between "owner" and "pet" can be quite harmonious and beneficial. You show me an 8 year old happy prairie dog in the wild. It doesn't happen. They don't get to see anywhere near that long of a lifespan and however long they live is usually filled with hardship.

 Personally I would never own any of the "regular" squirrels that are being sold on the pet market these days. I cannot really see them as being "pets". There are exceptions to every rule, of course. But not the majority of the squirrel population.

 Be respectful. Become educated on all the ins and outs of each species (their requirements in the wild as well as in captivity).

Offline rainorshine16

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2009, 08:58:46 PM »
I know someone who had a pet squirel..... sooooo cute! He just kinda romed around the house, I think he might have had a cage, but when I went he was out.  :BlueDumboSmileTongue: :BlueDumboSmile:
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Offline JOOOWEE

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2009, 02:22:34 PM »
I own 5 southern flying squirrels and am hoping to have litters in the spring.  These guys were all captive born and bred.  As babies it is vitally important that they are socialized early and there is a whole bonding regimine that the owner needs to go through which includes feeding the babies several times a day with formula and a syringe, carrying the baby with you next to your skin, and spending loads of time with them.  Basically imprinting on them from an early age that you are their substitute "mom".  So there is a considerable amount of work involved in the socializing, cage cleaning needs to be done daily and they can live to be 20yrs old....that is big commitment.  On the upside...they are simply precious and when they love you - they really love you.  :)
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Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2009, 09:03:18 AM »
Julie do you, uh, ship, your babies or will you be shipping them to people once they're ready to go?

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Offline JesB

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2009, 09:18:11 AM »
Tee hee ! Flying squirrels are adorable!   ...pleasedoooooship... LOL

Offline JOOOWEE

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2009, 09:37:48 AM »
Yep I will ship but keep in mind just like shipping any small animal it is expensive.  Last I checked Continential was 185.00 for under 9lbs and you have to add in the cost of the carrier.  I mean its the same issue for most small pets so if you look into purchasing its wise to purchase more than one or see if there are others in your area that would want to go in on it with you.

You can find me on FB......and I have some pics of the flyers if you want to see their cuteness.  My business FB page is PIERCE'S POGS
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Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2009, 02:46:37 PM »
I am very well aware of shipping costs. I will check you out on FB and talk there :thumbsup:

Offline TheCrazyRatLady

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2009, 09:48:32 PM »
Oh dear, time for me to imvolve myself I see.


Squirrels do NOT make good pets, especially not Grey or Fox ones. They need huge amounts of space and are very destructive, and even hand reared ones tend to "Wild up" and begin biting. If you get one, you will never be anything more than a prison guard. Squirrels need the wind and sun and sky, they just aren't meant for pets. Sometimes flyers are okay, but tey are a LOT of work. I would urge you to consider something more domestic. Rats make excellent pets, as do mice and other rodents. Ferrets do as well.


(I have rehabbed many squirrels and have seen what captivity can do. It just isn't fair to the poor dears.)
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Offline BrushWolf

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2010, 03:30:35 PM »
i had a "pet" squirrel when i was little.  He was the regular old tree climbing ones here in north texas and adorable and sweet as a baby.  once he got older though we had to keep him in my play house where the windows were covered in wire to prevent escape.  and a tree to let him climb on.  we fed him fruit..veggies and the squirrel food you see at the stores to feed them. i would feed him and i remember when he started getting mean.  he would jump on me and scratch me whenever it was feeding time.  we ended up letting him go at a large park full of other squirrels near us. 

now being only 5 or 6..i had no idea that he would probably be stalking and mugging strangers having picknicks later on.  i hope he lived out his life happy with a squirrely family, but i guess i will never know for sure.   :-\

Offline rhinelander rat rescue

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2010, 06:22:48 PM »
I see both sides of the story but I also know someone who has "pet squirrles"  She has two male grey squirrles both were recieved to her as babies from unfortunate circumstances. She tried calling our rehab that we have in this area and they basicaly told her to leave them for nature to take its course. I have had issues with this rehab in the past and unfortunatly it is the only one around this area. I do not have anything good to say about them acctually.
Since I was little I have raised orphaned wildlife and Have wanted to get my rehab liscense but even trying to get that is like jumping through hurdles here.  So I gave her advise, I gave her the supplies, Let me tell you the squirrles have free range of her home during the day, but she is the ONLY one they are bonded to, they will attack anyone that walks in the door when they are loose. They have their seperate bedrooms those are their cages for the night. The rest of the house is nuetral territory and they dont fight. To her they are great "pets" but they are not caged...they look more like ground hogs then squirrles...and they are nasty in the house around guests. She is happy with them, they have space...trees and everything except preditors and mates.
For her it works, but who has a huge house, with a seperate room for a squirrle? Yes they are sexualy mature and never have been nasty to her. But thats just to her.
I do not believe anything wild should be kept as a "pet" Unless that "pet" is free to come and go as it pleases....outside all the time where they need to be.
The other side of me is that once those squirrles were eatting solid foods she should have built a pen outside, let them spend the days out there, with very limited human companion ship, and increase it to all day and night, and eventually left the door open for them to go. But still keeping food in the feeders for them, sitting outside with them with food. She did a great job raiseing them, but did not take my advise fully.
If your friend wants an exotic pet...that is squirrel like, have her get rats.
Or if she really wants a squirrle teach a wild one to trust her and come up to her for food. I have a "pet" chipmunk that will crawl in my hand, up onto my lap, beg for treats...I can pet her, I can tickle her belly, I can pick her up once she is in my hand on her terms. But she lives outside and goes when she wants too...it is a rush gaining a wild animals trust and being able to touch it and pet it. I dont have to cage that, dont want too. Shaz
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Offline ThaRatChick

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Re: Pet Squirrels?
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2010, 09:25:01 PM »
Shaz, do you happen to have an article or something on how to properly befriend a chipmunk? I've always wanted to do that :)
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