The Ultimate Guide To Getting A Pet Squirrel In Texas

how to get a pet squirrel in Texas

Are you a resident of Texas and have always dreamt of having a pet squirrel? Well, you're in luck! While most states have laws restricting the ownership of these adorable creatures, Texas is one of the few states where you can legally own a pet squirrel. In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take in order to bring home your very own furry friend. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to learn how to get a pet squirrel in the Lone Star State!

Characteristics Values
Legal requirements Obtain a license and permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Age limit Must be at least 18 years old
Types of squirrels allowed Fox squirrels, Eastern gray squirrels, and Southern flying squirrels
Housing requirements Spacious cage or outdoor enclosure with plenty of room for climbing and exercise
Diet Varied diet consisting of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and occasional insects
Socialization and training Requires daily interaction and supervised playtime to prevent boredom
Veterinary care Regular visits to an exotic veterinarian for check-ups and vaccinations
Interaction with other pets Squirrels should be kept separate from other pets due to their wild nature
Legal restrictions Cannot release captive squirrels into the wild
Cost Initial setup cost and ongoing expenses for food, supplies, and veterinary care
Lifespan Squirrels can live up to 10-15 years with proper care
Responsibility Squirrels require a significant amount of time, effort, and attention
Conservation Must respect and promote conservation efforts for wild squirrel populations
Wildlife rehabilitation Contact local wildlife rehabilitation centers for injured or orphaned squirrels


In Texas, keeping a pet squirrel is governed by certain legal requirements and regulations. Before considering getting a pet squirrel in Texas, it is important to understand and abide by these laws to ensure the well-being of both the squirrel and the owner.

One of the primary legal requirements in Texas is obtaining the necessary permit or license to keep a pet squirrel. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is responsible for issuing these permits. It is essential to research and understand the specific requirements and processes involved in obtaining the permit to avoid any legal issues.

Additionally, it is crucial to consider the specific species of squirrel that can be kept as pets in Texas. It is generally illegal to keep native wildlife species as pets. This means that if a squirrel species is native to Texas, it is likely prohibited from being kept as a pet. However, non-native species that are legally obtained or bred in captivity may be allowed. It is important to research the specific species and their classification to ensure compliance with the law.

Another important consideration when keeping a pet squirrel in Texas is providing proper housing and care. Squirrels are active animals that require a spacious and stimulating environment. They need access to trees, branches, and toys to satisfy their natural instincts. It is crucial to construct a secure enclosure or provide a suitable living space indoors that provides ample space for the squirrel to climb, jump, and explore.

Feeding a pet squirrel also requires careful attention to their dietary needs. Squirrels are omnivores and have specific dietary requirements that must be met for their optimal health. It is crucial to provide a balanced and nutritious diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein sources. Consulting with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals can help ensure that the squirrel's nutritional needs are met.

Socialization and enrichment are vital aspects of caring for a pet squirrel. Squirrels are social animals, and they require regular interaction and mental stimulation. Spending time with the pet squirrel, providing toys, and engaging in activities can help keep them active and happy. It is important to remember that squirrels are wild animals at their core, and their behavior can be unpredictable. Proper handling techniques should be learned to avoid any injury to both the squirrel and the owner.

In conclusion, keeping a pet squirrel in Texas requires knowledge of the legal requirements, obtaining the necessary permits, and providing proper care and housing. It is essential to research and understand the specific laws and regulations in Texas regarding pet squirrels to ensure compliance and the well-being of the squirrel. Consulting with experts, such as wildlife officials or veterinarians, can provide valuable guidance in properly caring for a pet squirrel in Texas.


Where can I purchase or adopt a pet squirrel in Texas?

If you're considering getting a pet squirrel in Texas, you have a few options for finding one. While squirrels are not commonly kept as pets, there are some places where you can purchase or adopt one responsibly.

  • Wildlife rehabilitation centers: Many wildlife rehabilitation centers in Texas take in orphaned or injured animals, including squirrels. These centers may have squirrels that are unable to be released back into the wild and are available for adoption. It is important to note that these centers prioritize releasing animals back into their natural habitat, so pet squirrels from these centers may not be readily available.
  • Licensed breeders: Another option is to get a pet squirrel from a licensed breeder. It is crucial to ensure that the breeder is reputable and follows ethical practices. Licensed breeders are knowledgeable about squirrel care and can provide guidance and support when it comes to raising a pet squirrel.
  • Exotic animal rescues: Some exotic animal rescues in Texas may have squirrels available for adoption. These organizations often take in a variety of animals and provide them with a safe and suitable living environment. Adopting from a rescue helps provide a home for a squirrel in need and supports the rescue's mission to protect and care for exotic animals.
  • Online platforms: There are online platforms and websites where individuals may advertise squirrels for sale or adoption. Before proceeding with any online transaction, it is important to research the seller thoroughly and ensure they are reputable. Ask for references and inquire about the squirrel's upbringing and health history.

Regardless of where you choose to purchase or adopt a pet squirrel, it is essential to understand the legal requirements and regulations surrounding squirrel ownership in your area. Texas, like many states, has specific restrictions and permits in place for owning exotic pets. It is important to familiarize yourself with these regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses to ensure you are in compliance with the law.

Once you bring a squirrel into your home, you must provide the proper care and environment for their well-being. Squirrels are highly active and curious animals that require a large, secure enclosure with plenty of climbing opportunities. A varied diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and high-quality commercial squirrel pellets should be provided. It is also important to provide mental stimulation through toys, puzzles, and social interaction.

In conclusion, while finding a pet squirrel in Texas may require some effort, it is possible to purchase or adopt one responsibly. Do thorough research, ensure legal compliance, and prioritize the well-being of the squirrel above all else. Pet squirrels can bring joy and companionship when given the proper care and environment.


What specific care and diet do pet squirrels require in Texas?

Pet squirrels can make wonderful companions, but it's important to provide them with the specific care and diet they need to thrive in Texas. Whether you have a gray squirrel, fox squirrel, or any other species, here are some guidelines to follow.


Squirrels need a spacious and secure enclosure where they can move around and play. A large wire cage or squirrel-proof aviary is ideal, as it allows for climbing and provides ample space. Include branches, ropes, and toys for mental stimulation. Make sure the enclosure has a solid roof to protect the squirrel from predators and harsh weather conditions.

Temperature and Light:

Squirrels are adaptable creatures, but in Texas, the temperatures can get quite hot. It's crucial to keep the enclosure at a comfortable temperature, between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Provide shade or air conditioning during the hot summer months. Additionally, make sure the enclosure receives natural sunlight but avoid direct exposure for extended periods.


Squirrels have a diverse diet that consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and even insects. In captivity, provide a balanced diet that mimics their natural food sources. Offer a quality squirrel pellet or block as a base diet, supplemented with fresh produce such as apples, carrots, leafy greens, and berries. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and acorns can also be offered in moderation. Additionally, provide a source of calcium, such as cuttlebone or squirrel block, to ensure proper bone health.


Fresh, clean water should always be available to your pet squirrel. Use a shallow dish or a water bottle with a sipper tube that the squirrel can easily access. Change the water daily to prevent bacterial growth.

Exercise and Enrichment:

Squirrels are active animals that require mental and physical stimulation. Provide plenty of toys, branches, and tunnels for them to explore and climb. Encourage exercise by allowing supervised playtime outside the enclosure in a squirrel-proofed area. Squirrels love to run and jump, so create an environment that allows them to do so safely.


Regular visits to an exotic pet veterinarian are essential to ensure your pet squirrel remains healthy. Annual check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive treatments for parasites are recommended. It's also essential to provide regular dental care, as squirrels' teeth continually grow. Offer chewing toys and monitor their teeth for signs of overgrowth or dental issues.

Legal Considerations:

Before acquiring a pet squirrel in Texas, it's important to understand the legalities. Some species of squirrels are protected wildlife and cannot be kept as pets without proper permits and licenses. Check with your local wildlife agency for specific regulations and permits required for pet squirrels.

Caring for a pet squirrel in Texas requires careful attention to their housing, diet, exercise, and overall well-being. Providing a spacious and secure enclosure, a balanced diet, mental and physical stimulation, and regular veterinary care are crucial for their health and happiness. Always ensure you are following the legal requirements associated with keeping a pet squirrel in your area. With proper care and attention, your pet squirrel can thrive and become a beloved part of your family.


Are there any permits or licenses needed to keep a pet squirrel in Texas?

If you're considering keeping a pet squirrel in Texas, there are a few things you need to know about the legalities and regulations surrounding squirrel ownership in the state. While squirrels are not considered domesticated animals, some people do keep them as pets. However, it is important to understand that not all squirrels can be kept legally without the proper permits or licenses in Texas.

In Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulates the possession and ownership of wildlife, including squirrels. According to TPWD regulations, it is illegal to possess or capture most native wild animals without the proper permits. This includes squirrels.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Texas law allows citizens to possess certain species of non-native squirrels as pets without a permit. Non-native squirrels that are commonly kept as pets in Texas include the Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and the Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger). These species are not protected by wildlife laws in Texas, and owning them as pets does not require a permit or license.

To legally possess a pet squirrel in Texas, it is important to ensure that you are obtaining one of the non-native species mentioned above. It is illegal to capture or keep native Texas squirrels as pets without a permit. These native species include the Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), the Eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), and the Texas gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus).

If you are interested in obtaining a pet squirrel in Texas, it is recommended to purchase one from a licensed breeder or pet store. This ensures the squirrel is legally obtained and does not contribute to the illegal pet trade. It is also important to research proper care and husbandry requirements for squirrels to ensure they are kept in a suitable environment and receive proper nutrition and veterinary care.

In addition to the legal considerations, it is important to note that keeping a pet squirrel can be a challenging endeavor. Squirrels are highly active and have specific dietary and environmental needs. They require a lot of space to climb, explore, and exercise. Squirrels are also known to be high-energy animals that need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

To provide a suitable environment for a pet squirrel, you will need a large enclosure or room with plenty of climbing structures, toys, and hiding spots. Squirrel-proofing your home is also crucial to prevent escapes or damage to furniture and belongings. Squirrels also require a specialized diet consisting of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and high-quality commercial squirrel food.

In summary, to keep a pet squirrel legally in Texas, it is important to ensure you are obtaining a non-native species, such as the Eastern gray squirrel or the Fox squirrel. Obtaining them from a licensed breeder or pet store is recommended. It is also essential to provide a suitable environment and meet their specific dietary and care needs. Before bringing a pet squirrel into your home, always check with local authorities and organizations such as TPWD to ensure you are in compliance with all the necessary regulations and laws.


Can pet squirrels in Texas be kept indoors, or do they require outdoor enclosures?

Keeping a pet squirrel can be a unique and rewarding experience. However, it is important to consider the needs of the animal and provide an appropriate living environment. In the case of pet squirrels in Texas, the question arises as to whether they can be kept indoors or if they require outdoor enclosures. Let's delve into this topic and explore the best housing options for these furry friends.

Natural Habitat

Squirrels are natural climbers and live in trees in the wild. They are highly active and agile animals that need plenty of space to run, jump, and explore. Their natural habitat provides ample opportunities for physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Mimicking their natural environment is essential for their overall well-being.

Indoor Enclosures

While it is possible to keep pet squirrels indoors, it is important to note that it may not be the ideal setup for their needs. Indoor enclosures should be spacious and provide ample opportunities for climbing, running, and exploring. They should be equipped with branches, perches, tunnels, and toys to keep the squirrels entertained and stimulated. It is also crucial to ensure that the enclosure is escape-proof and safe for the squirrel, as they can be curious and inventive escape artists.

Outdoor Enclosures

Outdoor enclosures are generally considered more suitable for pet squirrels. These enclosures, often referred to as squirrel aviaries, can provide a more natural environment for these animals. Outdoor enclosures should include trees or branches for climbing, platforms for resting, and opportunities for foraging. These enclosures need to be secure and protect the squirrel from predators, extreme weather conditions, and potential harm from other animals.

A Combination Approach

For pet squirrels in Texas, a combination approach of providing both indoor and outdoor enclosures can be beneficial. Indoor areas can be used for rest, sleep, and shelter during inclement weather, while outdoor enclosures allow the squirrel to engage in natural behaviors and soak up the sun. This combination approach provides the squirrel with the best of both worlds and ensures they have a stimulating and enriching living environment.

In conclusion, pet squirrels in Texas can be kept indoors, but it may not be the ideal setup for their needs. Outdoor enclosures, such as squirrel aviaries, provide a more natural environment and allow for physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. A combination approach of indoor and outdoor enclosures can offer the best living environment for pet squirrels, ensuring their overall well-being and happiness. When considering keeping a pet squirrel, it is essential to research and understand their specific needs to provide them with the best possible care.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, it is legal to own a pet squirrel in Texas. However, you will need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses. You will likely need a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as well as approval from your local government or homeowners' association.

It is not recommended to take a wild squirrel as a pet in Texas. Instead, you should try to find a reputable breeder or exotic pet store that specializes in selling squirrels. You can also reach out to local wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal rescues to inquire if they have any squirrels available for adoption.

The cost of owning a pet squirrel in Texas can vary depending on where you get the squirrel from and the amenities you provide. On average, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars on purchasing the squirrel itself. Additionally, you will need to invest in a suitable cage, food, toys, and regular veterinary care. Squirrels require a lot of time, attention, and mental stimulation, so be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to their care and enrichment.

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