Is It Possible To Adopt A Baby Squirrel? All You Need To Know

can I adopt a baby squirrel

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a baby squirrel as a pet? The idea of nurturing a tiny, furry creature and watching it grow sounds incredibly captivating. However, before you rush off to adopt a baby squirrel, it's important to consider whether it is legal and ethically right to do so. In this article, we will explore the possibility of adopting a baby squirrel and delve into the reasons why it may or may not be a suitable choice for a pet. So, sit tight and let's find out if you can bring home a little squirrel companion!


Adopting a baby squirrel can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it is important to understand the legal requirements and regulations that must be followed. These regulations are in place to protect both the squirrel and the person adopting it. This article will provide a step-by-step guide and examples of the legal requirements for adopting a baby squirrel.

  • Research your state's laws: Before considering adopting a baby squirrel, it is essential to research the laws in your specific state. Each state has its own regulations regarding the ownership and care of wildlife animals, including squirrels. Some states may allow private ownership of squirrels with the proper permits, while others may prohibit it altogether. Make sure you understand your state's laws and regulations before proceeding.
  • Obtain the necessary permits: If your state allows the private ownership of squirrels, you may need to obtain permits or licenses to legally adopt one. These permits are typically issued by your state wildlife agency or department. The requirements for obtaining permits may include filling out an application, providing proof of adequate housing and care, and paying a fee. It is important to follow all the necessary steps and provide the required information to ensure your permit is approved.
  • Find a legal source: Once you have obtained the necessary permits, it is important to find a legal source from which to adopt a baby squirrel. It is illegal to capture or purchase a squirrel from the wild in most states. Instead, look for licensed wildlife rehabilitators or breeders who specialize in squirrel care. They will have proper permits and documentation, ensuring that the squirrel you adopt is legal and healthy.
  • Prepare a suitable habitat: Before bringing a baby squirrel home, it is crucial to have a suitable habitat prepared. Baby squirrels require a specific type of environment to thrive. This includes a cage or enclosure with the appropriate size, materials, and enrichment. The habitat should be equipped with nesting boxes, branches for climbing, and areas for exercise. Additionally, it should be escape-proof and provide protection from extreme temperatures.
  • Provide proper care and nutrition: Baby squirrels have specific dietary and care requirements. It is essential to provide them with a nutritionally balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is also important to provide proper hydration and access to fresh water at all times. Additionally, baby squirrels need regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations to ensure their health and well-being.


  • In California, for example, it is illegal to own a squirrel as a pet unless you have a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. To obtain this permit, you must demonstrate that you have the knowledge and experience to properly care for a squirrel and have a suitable habitat for it.
  • In Texas, on the other hand, it is legal to own a squirrel as a pet without a permit. However, if you plan to capture a squirrel from the wild, you will need a trapping license from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

In conclusion, adopting a baby squirrel requires knowledge of your state's laws and regulations, obtaining the necessary permits, finding a legal source, preparing a suitable habitat, and providing proper care and nutrition. By following these legal requirements and regulations, you can ensure the well-being of the squirrel you adopt and have a rewarding experience as a squirrel owner.


Are there any specific licenses or permits needed to adopt a baby squirrel?

Adopting a baby squirrel can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to understand that there are specific licenses and permits needed in order to legally keep and care for one. This article will provide an overview of the process and requirements for adopting a baby squirrel.

Obtaining a license or permit to adopt a baby squirrel is necessary because squirrels are considered wildlife and are protected under various state and federal laws. These laws are in place to protect the animals and ensure they are not being taken from the wild illegally or without proper care. Additionally, keeping a wild animal as a pet can be challenging and requires specialized knowledge and resources.

The first step in the process is to determine the specific laws and regulations in your state regarding the adoption of baby squirrels. Each state may have different requirements, so it is important to contact your local wildlife agency or department of natural resources to obtain the correct information. They will be able to provide you with the necessary paperwork and guide you through the application process.

In some cases, you may be required to attend a training program or course before you can obtain a license or permit. This is to ensure that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly care for the baby squirrel. These programs may cover topics such as proper nutrition, handling techniques, and enclosure requirements.

Once you have completed any necessary training and obtained the required paperwork, you will need to submit your application for a license or permit to the appropriate agency. This usually involves providing information about yourself, your experience with wildlife, and the specific details of how you plan to care for the baby squirrel. This may include providing information about the enclosure you have prepared and any special dietary needs the squirrel may have.

After you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the agency and they will determine if you meet the requirements to adopt a baby squirrel. This process can take some time, so it is important to be patient. If your application is approved, you will be issued a license or permit that allows you to legally keep and care for the baby squirrel.

It is important to note that even with a license or permit, adopting a baby squirrel can still be a challenging and demanding task. Baby squirrels require specialized care and attention, and it is important to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with caring for a wild animal. It is also important to have a backup plan in case you are unable to provide the necessary care for the squirrel, as they may require specialized veterinary care or rehabilitation if they become injured or sick.

In conclusion, adopting a baby squirrel requires specific licenses and permits in order to comply with state and federal laws. It is important to contact your local wildlife agency or department of natural resources to obtain the correct information and paperwork. The process may involve attending a training program, submitting an application, and meeting specific requirements. It is important to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with caring for a baby squirrel and to have the necessary resources and backup plan in place.


If you are considering adopting a baby squirrel as a pet, there are a few recommended resources and agencies that you can turn to for assistance. Adopting a baby squirrel requires knowledge, experience, and a proper understanding of their care needs. These resources and agencies can provide guidance and support to ensure a successful adoption process.

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers: The first place to contact when looking to adopt a baby squirrel is your local wildlife rehabilitation center. These centers specialize in caring for injured, orphaned, or sick wildlife, including baby squirrels. They have the expertise and knowledge to raise and care for baby squirrels until they are ready to be released back into the wild. Some wildlife rehabilitation centers may also have a program for fostering or adopting squirrels that cannot be released due to injuries or other reasons.
  • Exotic Animal Rescues: Another option is to reach out to exotic animal rescues in your area. These rescues often have a variety of animals, including squirrels, that are in need of a forever home. Exotic animal rescues have experience with the care and rehabilitation of various exotic animals and can provide guidance on how to properly care for a baby squirrel.
  • Online Adoption Platforms: Various online platforms and forums dedicated to pet adoption may also have listings for baby squirrels in need of a home. These platforms connect individuals looking to adopt with those who have baby squirrels available for adoption. It is important, however, to thoroughly research and vet any individual or organization before proceeding with an adoption.
  • Networking with Local Pet Shops or Breeders: Local pet shops or breeders that specialize in exotic animals may sometimes have baby squirrels available for adoption. It is important to ensure that the pet shop or breeder follows ethical practices and provides proper care and conditions for the animals.

When considering adopting a baby squirrel, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of their care needs and requirements. Baby squirrels require a specialized diet, appropriate housing, and plenty of mental and physical stimulation to thrive. It is recommended to research and educate yourself on squirrel care before bringing one into your home.

Additionally, it is important to note that squirrels are wild animals and have specific needs that may not be suitable for everyone. They require a significant time commitment, a large enclosure, and a natural habitat-like environment. It is essential to consider these factors and ensure that you can provide the necessary care and resources to meet the squirrel's needs.

Before adopting a baby squirrel, inquire about the adoption process, any fees or requirements, and the level of support provided by the agency or individual. Reputable resources and agencies should be able to offer guidance on squirrel care, provide access to a veterinarian with experience in exotic animal care, and offer ongoing support throughout the adoption process and beyond.

In conclusion, if you are interested in adopting a baby squirrel, it is recommended to reach out to wildlife rehabilitation centers, exotic animal rescues, online adoption platforms, and local pet shops or breeders that specialize in exotic animals. Remember to thoroughly research and educate yourself about squirrel care before making the decision to adopt. The well-being and happiness of the baby squirrel should always be the top priority.


What kind of care and specialized knowledge is required to successfully raise a baby squirrel?

Raising a baby squirrel is no easy task and requires a great deal of care and specialized knowledge. These small and vulnerable creatures need round-the-clock attention, proper nutrition, and a safe and comfortable environment to thrive. Whether you have stumbled upon an orphaned squirrel or have chosen to take on this task voluntarily, here is a comprehensive guide on how to successfully raise a baby squirrel.

First and foremost, it is important to note that baby squirrels, also known as kits or pups, are best left in the care of professional wildlife rehabilitators if possible. These individuals have the necessary expertise and resources to provide optimal care for orphaned or injured squirrels. However, if you find yourself unable to reach a rehabilitator or if they are unavailable, it may be necessary to step in and provide temporary care for the baby squirrel.

Before taking on this responsibility, it is crucial to educate yourself on the specific nutritional needs of baby squirrels. Their diet primarily consists of milk until they are weaned. However, it is important to note that cow's milk or any other human-made milk substitutes are not suitable for squirrels. A specially formulated milk replacement formula designed for squirrels should be used instead. These formulas can be found in most pet stores or can be obtained from a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator. It is crucial to avoid overfeeding as well, as this can lead to digestive issues.

Feeding a baby squirrel can be a delicate process. The most practical method is to use a small syringe or dropper to provide the milk replacement formula. The squirrel should be positioned upright, and the milk should be administered slowly, allowing the baby squirrel to swallow between each small drop. It is vital to be patient and not force-feed the squirrel, as this can cause aspiration or other health complications. The feeding schedule should mimic a mother squirrel's, with frequent and small feedings throughout the day. As the squirrel grows, solid foods such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables can be introduced gradually.

In addition to adequate nutrition, providing a suitable habitat for the baby squirrel is essential. A secure and well-ventilated enclosure should be set up, ensuring that the baby squirrel is safe from predators and has enough space for movement. A small wire cage or crate with narrow spacing is ideal to prevent escapes. Fill the enclosure with soft bedding material such as fleece or shredded paper to create a comfortable environment for the squirrel. Temperature regulation is crucial as well, and a heating pad or heat lamp can be used to maintain a warm and stable temperature between 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

While providing care for a baby squirrel, it is important to limit human interaction and intervene only when necessary. Squirrels are wild animals and should be raised with the intention of releasing them back into the wild when they are old enough and capable of surviving on their own. Minimizing human contact helps prevent the squirrel from becoming too dependent on humans, which can be detrimental to its survival.

Raising a baby squirrel is a demanding and time-consuming task that requires specialized knowledge and attention to detail. It is crucial to do thorough research and consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian to ensure the proper care and well-being of the squirrel. By providing the necessary nourishment, creating a suitable habitat, and promoting minimal human interaction, you can significantly increase the chances of successfully raising a baby squirrel and giving it the best chance at a happy and healthy life in the wild.


Are there any potential challenges or risks associated with adopting a baby squirrel as a pet?

While baby squirrels may seem cute and cuddly, they can be challenging and risky as pets. Before considering adopting a baby squirrel, it is important to educate oneself about the potential challenges and risks associated with their care. This article will discuss some of these challenges and risks to help potential pet owners make an informed decision.

Legal considerations:

Before bringing a baby squirrel into your home, it is essential to ensure that it is legal to own a squirrel as a pet in your area. Laws regarding squirrel ownership vary from place to place, so it is important to check with your local authorities and obtain the necessary permits or permissions if required.

Specialized care:

Baby squirrels require specialized care, which can be time-consuming and demanding. They have specific dietary needs and require frequent feeding, often every few hours. Additionally, they need to be kept warm and provided with a suitable enclosure that mimics their natural habitat. It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of their care requirements and be prepared to invest time and effort into meeting these needs.

Health issues:

Baby squirrels can be prone to various health issues. They are susceptible to malnutrition, metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasites. It is crucial to have a veterinarian experienced in treating squirrels readily available and to follow a proper health care regimen, including regular check-ups, vaccinations, and appropriate nutrition. These regular veterinary visits can be both expensive and time-consuming.

Behavioral challenges:

Baby squirrels may exhibit behavioral challenges that can be difficult to manage. They have a natural instinct to chew and climb, which can result in damage to furniture and other household items. Their natural agility and curiosity can also lead them to escape from their enclosures, posing a risk to their safety. Adequate squirrel-proofing of the living space is necessary to prevent accidents and ensure their well-being.

Long-term commitment:

Adopting a baby squirrel is a long-term commitment, as they can live up to 10-15 years in captivity. Potential owners need to be prepared for the responsibilities that come with providing care for a squirrel over its entire lifespan. They may require special attention during certain stages of development, such as weaning and adolescence, which can be challenging to navigate.

Furthermore, it is essential to consider the potential impact on the squirrel population. Squirrels are wild animals, and many argue that they are best left in their natural habitats. Captivity can restrict their natural behaviors and may not promote their overall well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to assess one's motivations for wanting a squirrel as a pet and consider whether it is truly in the best interest of the animal.

In conclusion, adopting a baby squirrel as a pet comes with several challenges and risks. Legal considerations, specialized care requirements, potential health issues, behavioral challenges, and the long-term commitment involved should all be carefully considered before making a decision. It is crucial to prioritize the well-being and best interest of the animal and consult with experts in squirrel care before proceeding with adoption.

Frequently asked questions

In most places, it is illegal to keep a baby squirrel as a pet. Squirrels are wild animals and are best left in their natural habitat. It is important to remember that wild animals require specialized care and have specific needs that are difficult to replicate in a domestic setting.

If you come across a baby squirrel that appears to be orphaned or in distress, it is best to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or animal control agency. These professionals have the necessary knowledge and resources to care for and rehabilitate the squirrel and, when it is appropriate, release it back into the wild.

Raising a baby squirrel as a pet is a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. It requires specific knowledge about squirrel care, including appropriate diet, exercise, and socialization. Additionally, squirrels have highly active and agile personalities that may be difficult to manage within a domestic environment. It is generally recommended to allow squirrels to live in their natural habitat, where they can thrive and exhibit their natural behaviors.

Keeping a baby squirrel as a pet is generally illegal because it is believed to be in the best interest of the animal. Squirrels are wild animals with unique needs and behaviors that may be difficult to meet in a home environment. Additionally, keeping wild animals as pets can lead to negative consequences, such as the spread of diseases or the potential for their release back into the wild, where they may struggle to survive. It is important to leave the care of wild animals to trained professionals who are knowledgeable about their specific needs.

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