Is It Legal And Ethical To Keep A Baby Squirrel As A Pet?

can you keep baby squirrel pet

Have you ever wondered if you could have a cute and cuddly baby squirrel as a pet? Many people are curious about the possibility of keeping these adorable creatures as pets, but is it really feasible? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of keeping a baby squirrel as a pet, including the legalities, care requirements, and the challenges that come with it. So, if you've ever pondered about having a baby squirrel as a companion, keep reading to find out if it's something you can consider!

Characteristics Values
Diet Nuts, fruits, vegetables, and specially formulated squirrel food
Habitat Large, spacious cage with climbing materials and hiding spots
Lifespan 5 to 7 years
Social Behavior Generally solitary, but can form strong bonds with humans
Exercise Requirements Regular exercise outside of the cage is important for their health
Special Care Regular vet check-ups and proper diet
Legalities Check local laws and regulations before keeping a baby squirrel as a pet
Interaction Requires regular socialization and human interaction
Health Issues Common issues include dental problems and nutritional deficiencies
Lifespan 5 to 7 years


In many countries, including the United States, it is illegal to keep a baby squirrel as a pet without the proper permits. Squirrels, like other wildlife, are protected by laws that aim to preserve and conserve their natural habitats and populations. These laws are in place to prevent the illegal capture and trade of wildlife, and to ensure their well-being.

Furthermore, it is important to note that baby squirrels require specialized care in order to thrive. It can be challenging to meet their dietary and environmental needs in a domestic setting. Baby squirrels are highly dependent on their mother's care and require a balanced diet that includes a mixture of formula and solid foods. In addition, they need ample space to exercise and explore, as they are highly active animals.

Experience from wildlife rehabilitation centers and experts in squirrel care has shown that raising a baby squirrel successfully requires expertise and resources that most individuals do not have. These professionals have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide the proper care and rehabilitation needed for baby squirrels to grow into healthy adults capable of surviving in the wild.

In some cases, baby squirrels may also carry diseases or parasites that can be harmful to humans and other animals. They might require specialized veterinary care and regular vaccinations to prevent the spread of such diseases.

If you come across a baby squirrel that appears to be in distress or abandoned, the best course of action is to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or animal control agency. They can assess the situation and provide the care needed for the squirrel's well-being. In some cases, they may be able to reintroduce the squirrel back into its natural habitat when it is ready.

It is also important to remember that keeping a baby squirrel without the proper permits can result in legal consequences, including fines and penalties. These laws exist to protect wildlife and ensure their conservation for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to keep a baby squirrel as a pet, it is important to understand and respect the legal and ethical considerations associated with wildlife conservation. Instead of trying to raise a baby squirrel on your own, it is best to contact a professional wildlife rehabilitation center or animal control agency for assistance. They have the knowledge, expertise, and resources to provide the proper care and ensure the well-being of baby squirrels.


Keeping a baby squirrel as a pet can be a unique and rewarding experience. However, before bringing one into your home, it is essential to understand the legal requirements and permits needed to ensure you are compliant with the law. This article will provide an overview of the legal considerations and permits necessary to keep a baby squirrel as a pet.

Research Local Laws:

Before considering keeping a baby squirrel as a pet, you need to research the laws and regulations specific to your jurisdiction. Some states or countries have strict regulations regarding the possession of wildlife, including squirrels. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these laws to avoid any legal issues.

Obtain a Permit:

In many jurisdictions, obtaining a permit is required to keep a baby squirrel as a pet legally. These permits are usually issued by the respective wildlife management or conservation agency. The permit process generally involves submitting an application, paying a fee, and meeting certain criteria, such as proving your ability to provide proper care for the squirrel.

Demonstrate Knowledge and Experience:

When applying for a permit, you may be required to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in caring for squirrels. This may include taking educational courses or workshops related to wildlife rehabilitation, completing an exam, or providing evidence of previous experience in raising or caring for squirrels. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the squirrel will be in competent hands and receive proper care.

Suitable Housing and Care:

To obtain a permit, you will likely need to demonstrate that you can provide suitable housing and care for the baby squirrel. This may include having a secure and appropriate enclosure, providing the correct diet and nutrition, and being knowledgeable about the specific needs of squirrels at different stages of their development. It may also be necessary to show that you have access to veterinary care or have a wildlife rehabilitator who can provide guidance and assistance if needed.

Regular Inspections:

After obtaining a permit, you may be subject to regular inspections to ensure that you are complying with the regulations and providing suitable care for the baby squirrel. These inspections are conducted by wildlife officials or professionals designated by the issuing agency. It is essential to maintain compliance and cooperate with the inspections to retain your permit.


In the state of California, keeping a baby squirrel as a pet requires a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. To obtain this permit, applicants must complete a squirrel rehabilitation certification course, pass an exam, and secure appropriate housing for the squirrel. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducts regular inspections to ensure compliance with regulations and the well-being of the squirrel.

In conclusion, keeping a baby squirrel as a pet may require legal requirements and permits depending on your jurisdiction. Researching local laws, obtaining a permit, demonstrating knowledge and experience, providing suitable housing and care, and being subject to regular inspections are some of the common legal considerations when keeping a baby squirrel as a pet. It is essential to comply with these requirements to ensure the well-being of the squirrel and avoid any legal issues.


Are there any specific care considerations or special diets for baby squirrels that need to be taken into account?

When caring for baby squirrels, there are a few specific care considerations and special diets that need to be taken into account. Baby squirrels require a different type of care than adult squirrels, as their nutritional needs are different. In this article, we will discuss the care considerations and special diets for baby squirrels.

Firstly, it is important to note that baby squirrels should only be cared for by experienced individuals or wildlife rehabilitators. Caring for orphaned or injured baby squirrels can be a complex task and requires knowledge of their specific needs. If you come across a baby squirrel in need of care, it is best to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator who can guide you through the process.

When it comes to diet, baby squirrels have specific nutritional requirements that need to be met in order for them to thrive. Ideally, they should be fed a formula specifically designed for baby squirrels. These formulas can be purchased from pet stores or online, and they mimic the nutritional composition of their mother's milk. It is important to follow the instructions on the formula packaging and ensure that you are mixing it properly.

Feeding baby squirrels can be a delicate process, as they are unable to lap or suckle like other mammals. In the wild, baby squirrels would nurse from their mother, but when in captivity, they need to be hand-fed. This can be done using a small syringe or a specialized feeding bottle with a small nipple attachment. It is important to be gentle and provide small amounts of formula at a time, allowing the baby squirrel to swallow and digest properly.

It is also important to note that baby squirrels need to be fed frequently, just like human babies. In the first few weeks of life, they should be fed every two to three hours, including during the night. As they grow older, the frequency of feedings can be reduced, but they should still be fed regularly throughout the day.

In addition to the formula, baby squirrels may also benefit from being provided with some solid food options as they get older. This can include small pieces of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. However, it is important to introduce these foods gradually and in small quantities to avoid digestive issues.

When caring for baby squirrels, it is important to remember that they also require proper housing and a warm environment. Baby squirrels need a comfortable nesting box where they can feel safe and secure. The nesting box should be made of appropriate materials and lined with soft bedding to mimic their natural habitat.

In conclusion, caring for baby squirrels requires specific care considerations and special diets. It is important to ensure that they are fed a formula designed for baby squirrels and provided with appropriate housing and a warm environment. It is crucial to seek guidance from experienced individuals or wildlife rehabilitators when caring for baby squirrels to ensure their well-being and successful rehabilitation back into the wild.


How much time and attention do baby squirrels require as pets?

Baby squirrels, also known as kits or pups, are delightfully adorable creatures that can capture anyone's heart. Whether you have found an orphaned squirrel or have decided to raise one as a pet, it is important to understand the time and attention they require to thrive.

  • Scientific Information: Baby squirrels are mammals belonging to the Sciuridae family. They are born hairless, blind, and completely dependent on their mother for survival. As they grow, they become more active and curious, requiring more attention and care.
  • Experience: Raising a baby squirrel is a labor-intensive process that requires round-the-clock care, especially during the first few weeks. Like human babies, squirrel kits need frequent feeding, stimulation, and warmth. They cannot regulate their body temperature, so providing an appropriate heat source is crucial.
  • Step-by-Step Care: Here is a step-by-step guide on how to care for a baby squirrel:

A. Feeding: Baby squirrels need to be fed every few hours, day and night, until they are weaned. Their diet should primarily consist of a special formula designed for squirrels. As they grow, you can gradually introduce solid foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

B. Stimulation: Baby squirrels require mental and physical stimulation to develop properly. Provide them with safe toys, climbing structures, and items to chew on. Take them outside in a secure enclosure to explore their natural environment, but always supervise them.

C. Socialization: It is crucial to socialize baby squirrels so that they are comfortable around humans. Frequent handling, gentle interactions, and positive reinforcement will help them develop trust and form a bond with their caregiver.

D. Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian experienced in exotic pet care are essential to ensure the squirrel's health. Vaccinations, deworming, and preventative treatments for parasites should be administered as recommended by the vet.

Examples: It is important to share some examples of the time commitment required when raising baby squirrels. During the first few weeks, feeding sessions can take up to 30 minutes, repeated every 3-4 hours. As the squirrel grows, feeding frequency decreases, but the time spent on socialization, play, and monitoring their health remains high. Over time, the squirrel will become more independent and require less hands-on care, but even adult squirrels need daily interaction and mental stimulation.

In conclusion, raising a baby squirrel as a pet requires a significant amount of time and attention. From frequent feedings and socialization to veterinary care and mental stimulation, their well-being should be a top priority. However, the rewarding experience of watching them grow and develop into playful, independent squirrels makes this investment worthwhile for those willing to commit to their care.


What are the long-term implications and challenges of keeping a baby squirrel as a pet, considering their natural instincts and needs?

Keeping a baby squirrel as a pet may seem like an adorable idea, but it comes with a host of long-term implications and challenges. While it may be tempting to have a furry companion, it is important to consider the natural instincts and needs of squirrels before deciding to keep one as a pet.

First and foremost, squirrels are wild animals by nature. They possess a strong instinct to explore, climb, and forage for food. Squirrels have a natural inclination to run and jump, which can be challenging to fulfill in a domesticated environment. For instance, they require ample space to exercise and play, ideally in an outdoor enclosure that mimics their natural habitat. Keeping a squirrel confined indoors can lead to frustration and stress, which may result in behavioral problems.

Squirrels also have specific nutritional needs that are integral to their overall health and well-being. Their diet primarily consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects in the wild. It can be difficult to replicate this diet and provide the necessary nutrients in a domestic setting. Additionally, baby squirrels require specialized care and feeding, which should be done under the guidance of a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian. Improper nutrition can lead to malnourishment and serious health issues.

One of the biggest challenges of keeping a baby squirrel as a pet is the issue of imprinting. Imprinting is a process whereby the squirrel forms a strong bond with its caregiver, often mistaking them for their parent. While this may seem endearing, it can cause significant problems as the squirrel grows older. Imprinted squirrels may become overly dependent on their human caregiver, making it difficult for them to learn essential survival skills. As they reach sexual maturity, imprinted squirrels may exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans or other animals, as they see them as competition for their caregiver's attention.

Furthermore, squirrels are social creatures that thrive in the company of their own species. Keeping a baby squirrel as a lone pet can lead to social isolation and behavioral issues. They need interaction with other squirrels to learn proper behavior and engage in important social activities such as play and grooming. This makes it essential to consider if it is possible to provide the squirrel with adequate socialization and companionship.

In addition to these challenges, it is important to note that keeping a squirrel as a pet may be illegal in some areas. Many countries and states have laws and regulations regarding the possession of wild animals as pets, including squirrels. It is crucial to check local laws and obtain the necessary permits before considering squirrel ownership.

In conclusion, keeping a baby squirrel as a pet comes with a multitude of long-term implications and challenges. From their natural instincts to their social and dietary needs, squirrels require specialized care and a suitable environment to thrive. It is essential to thoroughly research and consider these factors before deciding to keep a squirrel as a pet. Consulting with wildlife experts and considering alternatives such as supporting local wildlife rehabilitation centers can provide a more ethical solution to ensure the well-being of these fascinating creatures.

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