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The Pros and Cons of Having a Pet Squirrel

Have you ever wanted a squirrel as a pet before?  I’ve definitely thought about it before. Not many can say they have a squirrel as a pet.  They’re beautiful creature!  And who doesn’t love that big fluffy tail?

There is a reason that not many have decided to adopt a pet squirrel.  Squirrels do have some drawbacks. It can be an extremely challenging experience but it can also be rewarding.  It’s important to know the potential pros and cons of taking care of a squirrel. Here are some of the pros and cons you should take into consideration before running out and getting yourself a squirrel.

Pros

Owning a pet Squirrel is a lot of fun. Friends and family will enjoy visiting you and taking pictures of your little friend.  I can almost guarantee that if you take your pet squirrel in public that strangers will approach and ask questions.  Who wouldn’t want to know more about taking care of one of these stunning animals?

Not only will you be a minor celebrity with your pet squirrel but you’ll never be bored at home. Squirrels are fun to watch because they are very active.  It’s important to have ample room for a squirrel in your house because squirrels need the room to exercise. And can they exercise! If you do keep your squirrel in a cage make sure to take him or her out frequently.  Leaving squirrels boxed up for long periods of time is unhealthy and cruel.

Other than ample room to run around or time to exercise, you won’t have to prepare a lot for your pet squirrel. A squirrel cage just needs some cedar shavings, a few pieces of wood, a sqiurrel feeder, a water bottle, and a running wheel.

The food for your pet squirrel is not that expensive either. Squirrels enjoy veggies, nuts, and fruits. And these are rather affordable. You may want to opt for a more diverse diet though, so adding in a bit of mealworms and calcium is a very good idea.

Cons

In many states it's illegal to keep squirrels as pets. Some states require licenses.  In other states where it is legal, the owner is required to have completed a wildlife rehabilitator training course.

Squirrels also tend to be full of energy all the time. This can be troublesome if you want to sleep in a room next to them, as you will hear lots of noises. Since this is an exotic pet, you do need to go to the vet as often as you can to check for any potential health issues.

You also have to think about the maintenance costs. Squirrels aren’t like dogs that can follow you around the house all day.  Squirrel food is inexpensive but what is expensive are the messes that they make. If a squirrel is unattended it will destroy something. Since these are wild animals, squirrels don’t do as well in captivity as gerbils or hamsters.

Even if you get your pets squirrel as a baby like is recommended, living indoors can be a shock for them. Pets squirrels are known to throw just about everything in their living area and getting ancy if they don’t get to move around.  This is another reason why 2 or 3 hours of exercise a day is almost necessary for keeping a squirrel.  That’s like having a part time job.

Handling a squirrel isn’t like handling any other pet. They are gentle creatures but they aren’t domesticated.  Also if you’re not careful, you will easily harm them.  Avoid pulling your Squirrel’s tail, as that’s a particularly sensitive body part.

Also, Squirrels tend to bite and scratch everything around them, especially when they are young. This makes them unsuitable for kids, as kids and squirrels can be hurt.

Should You Get a Pet Squirrel?

Different pets compliment different people.  I’d never get a pet snake but there are many that feel differently.  It’s all up to you to figure out if you think you can handle a pet squirrel. And you should be honest about your reasons for owning a squirrel.  They might be a fun conversation piece.  But being a pet owner celebrity isn’t going to make the day to day easy.

These cute little creatures may not be the best pets if you value interaction or affection.  They are literally wild creatures and even if you have a pet squirrel from a baby there is only so much that you can teach it.  I’ve only known one person with a pet squirrel and he said it was like having a guinea pig that would go crazy every couple of days.

There aren’t many pet stores or animal shelters that even have a squirrel for you to adopt.  You may have to know somebody.  Kidnapping a wild squirrel is not the way to go.  If you do want to have a squirrel pet, take all the cons into account before making your decision. On the upside, a pet squirrel is extremely cute, and it can beautify your life if you have the energy to keep up.  If you have the space, money, and time needed to take care of such an animal, it can be worth it!

 

Hannah writes for smallanimalplanet.com.  She loves all things animals and has had to be talked out of owning a pet squirrel multiple times.

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A few hours from where I live there is a place called BearWorld.  It's a drive-through park where bears roam close to your car.  Some of the staff that work there get to take the cubs home with them for the winter.  They live in their houses like a dog might.  I must say I was pretty jealous when I heard about that.  I've had to be talked out of owning a squirrel but there's no way I'd say no to taking a black bear home with me.

Robert has some stories about someone he knew that had a pet skunk.  I know exotic pets are normally a bad idea.  But what's the craziest animal you've seen as "a pet"?

A black bear! Oh my! lol.  That could go so wrong!