Do squirrels make good pets?

With the kids battering on behind you, you would be forgiven for thinking that you could care for that rogue squirrel you trapped in your attic as a pet. If you managed to capture it in this cage and keep it safe, warm and dry, surely there's no harm in keeping the squirrel in a cage and treating him like the newest family pet… Right?

Whether you have found yourself with an adult or a baby squirrel on your hands, you should know that they do not make very good pets and this is for a hundred and one reasons. Probably more than that in fact. Why don't we list them…

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1 - Their fluffy tails and super cute exterior might make them a great candidate for that cage in the living room but they are wild animals. An adult squirrel wouldn't let you get close enough for any petting action so there would be no point in keeping one as a pet, and their razor sharp teeth and claws will make light work of your skin once they get going. A cornered or caged / trapped squirrel will attack. Wouldn't you?

Even a baby squirrel can't be completely tamed. These are animals not used to domestication. They aren't like rabbits or cats and dogs. They are wild animals. It would be like trying to tame a tiger, just on a much smaller, fluffier scale.

2 - During mating season, whether you have tamed your squirrel or not, it will get vicious. You know how much of a pain in the backside your cats are when they are in heat and can't get any action? All that howling, spraying of urine, and generally making a nuisance of themselves? It'll be worse for an adult squirrel. They'll get vicious. You'll get hurt. Or one of your kids will. Do you really want that?

3 - They can run a lot faster than you can. This is a wild animal and they are well accustomed to running away from and getting away from people just like you and me. You won't be one step ahead of the animal like you think you are. This animal will try to escape when you least expect it, using it sharp teeth to gnaw through any material you have to throw at it. Before you know it you'll have a crazed wild squirrel running around your house. Is that really something you'd want?

4 - Do you even know how to care for a wild squirrel? Baby squirrels are very difficult to keep alive when orphaned and by attempting to prolong its life, you could be doing more harm than good, causing more pain and suffering to this animal than there needs to be. Aside from that, do you know what they eat? Where they sleep? How warm they need to be kept? How often to feed them? Whether they hibernate for the winter? There are so many questions - questions you won't have the answers to. The internet will help but as we've said before, these animals aren't pets so a lot of the information you need might not be readily available.

5 - What about the threat of disease? Had you thought of that? There are a few of them connected to the humble squirrel too. Rabies might not be a problem (although this hasn't been conclusively proved either way) but you can still contract salmonella poisoning from the feces of this animal, and that's before you even start to think about the fleas and ticks and the diseases they can bring with them.

In short, caring for a squirrel is going to be like caring for your average cat or dog. This is a wild animal that is not designed to be kept in a cage and it's not designed to be petted by kids and adults. It is unpredictable and at times, dangerous.

No, squirrels do not make good pets. They are cute wild animals but they should be admitted from afar. Save yourself the hassle, don't even consider it!

Go back to the Squirrels in the Attic home page.

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