Do People Keep Squirrels as Pets?

  • Editor: Alex
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Let us face it, keeping squirrels as pets is not as popular as having a dog companion. There are more people who find having dogs as pets more appealing and interesting. Many people think that squirrels are also cute fluffy animals in the same way dogs are found adorable, especially when they stare intently at you with those cute eyes. That said, do people keep squirrels as pets?

This article will look at some of the reasons why squirrels are not usually kept as pets.


  1. They are wild animals

When you think of dogs, you acknowledge the fact that they can be trained. For instance, you can teach your dog not to eat the remote control or make the kitchen out of a bathroom. On the other hand, squirrels are not domestic species. A background story about squirrels is that in the mid-18th century, they were sold as pets to many households.

Frequently, many families included their pet squirrels in family portraits. Shortly afterwards, however, many people quickly learned that squirrels belong in the wild and that domesticating them is not an easy task.

Squirrels need to be raised with other squirrels to learn how to survive in the wild. Therefore, keeping a young one as a pet, then releasing him as an adult without proper training is a death sentence.


  1. Sharp squirrel claws

The claws of a squirrel pierce like a knife, if not sharper. When you think about this, why would anyone want a constant knife cutting through beautiful interiors of the home or even worse hurting people especially if infants and children are present?

Squirrels are not able to stop themselves from biting on reflex in the same way typical domestic pets do. If their brain tells them to bite, then that’s what they do. They have very sharp nails that they rely on to grasp, climb and jump. Unlike cat’s claws they do not retract – so they cause a lot more damage to furniture, curtains and human skin.


  1. Squirrel diet

A lot of time and planning is not dedicated to mapping out squirrel diets because most people do not keep them as pets. For instance, dog food can easily be found everywhere as it is commercially available.

Squirrels require a balanced and natural diet that is time-consuming, expensive and difficult to provide. They eat seeds and fruits and vegetables, and everything has to be organic and fresh. In a nutshell, you can’t buy squirrel food.


  1. They are restless

Domestic animals such as dogs can be confined in a barricade and would comply with such restrictions. On the other hand, squirrels require a lot of room, especially so that they can be able to scurry up trees with ease thanks to their sharp claws.

Naturally, squirrels are meant to exert energy in endless spaces such as a forest and even if you live in a mansion, you will be surprised how small such a place will appear for your squirrel to play around.


  1. Squirrels are Very Messy

If you are a neat freak, then it is advisable to not get a squirrel because they are unteachable and would constantly mess your very aesthetically pleasing home or living area. Squirrels are incredibly messy though they like to keep their living areas clean. They are the absolute worst house guests and they would chase your visitors further from your house.


  1. Vet expenses

Squirrel’s visits to the vet are expensive and necessary. They have to go in every six months. There’s also the fact that they are not provided insurance, so you have to pay the full amount every time which is pricy. It is usually hard to find a local veterinarian who would take a squirrel as a patient. They don’t want the responsibility because it is a wild animal.


  1. Is it Even Legal?

In most cases, it is illegal to keep squirrels as pets, and even considered to be inhumane. Think about it, they are not domestic animals by nature and hence they are supposed to roam around in the wild where they belong. There is a popular adage that says “You cannot force a horse to drink water”. This phrase is also applicable to squirrels.

There is no training you give a squirrel that would domesticate them from being the wild animals they desire to be. The entire process of trying to turn them into domestic dogs is highly stressful and can be dangerous.


  1. Squirrel’s sharp teeth

The teeth a squirrel has will always grow. This allows them to gnaw on anything – walls, fences, woodwork, etc. For comparison, puppy dogs chew only when they are teething, on the other hand, squirrels chew constantly through their lives. Teaching a squirrel what can be chewed on and whatnot just isn’t possible.

The behaviour often exhibited by squirrels is not something that can easily be predicted as they rely on their instincts a lot more than dogs and cats. Squirrels can easily be spoked and there’s a higher chance of them turning on their owner.


  1. Won’t be able to find a pet sitter

Ordinarily, if you own a dog or cat, you might have encountered a bit of difficulty finding someone to care for them while you are on vacation. Therefore, imagine having a squirrel as a pet and see the difficulty in finding a sitter triple.

The key thing worth noting is that even if you are even to find someone willing to keep an eye on your squirrel, most people will not be patient or tolerant enough to do it. Pet sitting dogs or cats is a lot easier.

The reasons why many people do not keep squirrels as pets are endless, so do not allow the cute face of a squirrel to fool you. All wild animals should be in the wild where they belong. That’s not to say we should not protect the wildlife if they require our help. But their ultimate place is where they came from. You will be protecting yourself and a squirrel by staying away from each other. Squirrels deserve to be free to run around in nature.


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