The squirrel is the Lord of the Peanut. Of the 365 species of squirrels there are three different types, the ground squirrel, the flying squirrel, and the tree squirrel. The squirrel ranges in size all the way from the African Pygmy (Myosciurus, pumilio) which is the smallest squirrel in the world (only two and half inches long) to the Indian giant squirrel Ratufa (ratufa indica) which can grow to three feet in length. Learn about the pet squirrel!
I have been trying to figure out the stunning jet black squirrels in Northern Minnesota, they are beautiful! I suspect they are from the red squirrel family they have the same behavioral characteristics as the red squirrel.
Squirrels are solitary animals and are territorial. They communicate making shrill sounds and gesturing with their bodies and tails.
Of all the heated debates on exotic animals as pets perhaps the squirrel is the most debated. Do they make good pets; only for a select few people that can be totally devoted to their needs. Squirrels have to run and climb. They can inflict serious injuries with their sharp teeth and claws. Most injuries are inflicted accidentally. I had one squirrel that was so happy to see me, he pounced on my head as I was passing through, giving me some pretty serious scratches on my face and head. All he was doing was saying howdy, and that I missed you; hanging on tight after his extended jump.
The Fox squirrel
A squirrel is not a good pet for people with young children. Supervise any contact between the child and the squirrel closely. Most states have laws that prohibit wild squirrels as pets.
Squirrels can also be very destructive; they chew and get into everything. They are dreadful little thieves; nothing is sacred. Stashes of stolen prized items can be found years later.
Squirrels are rodents, their incisors are rootless, and the incisors grow continuously. The squirrel will have to chew to keep the teeth worn down.
Squirrels have incredibly fast reflexes; they can be holding perfectly still and then just bounce into the air. They must have springs in their legs.
They have very fast metabolisms and must eat often. Always supply fresh and filter water.
Ground squirrel by Hollingsworth, John and Karen/US Fish and Wildlife Service
If you keep the squirrel in your home everything in your home becomes his trees to jump to and fro. Their curiosity is insatiable and they must investigate everything. Many things that are common in your home can be very hazardous to your squirrel.
Take a good look around your house for electrical cords that can be chewed. Dangling electrical cords are tempting, beware the heavy lamp attached to the cord may be pulled down on top of the squirrel. Or, the heavy object may fall on you or your child. Poisons, medicines, and cleansers have to be locked up and out of reach. Out of reach may be impossibility to a squirrel!
Squirrels can get stepped on by dashing under your feet. Open toilets, boiling pots of liquid are all extreme hazards to the squirrel. A tube of toothpaste can quickly become squished all over the house. The fluoride and other chemicals in toothpaste can be toxic to a squirrel. Imagine what a squirrel can do with an ink pen inadvertently left lying about. Rarely can you find a veterinarian willing to work with squirrels.
Dryer vents and heat ducts are easy ways for your squirrel to escape. You must squirrel proof your home. Forget using duct tape they can chew right through it.
Squirrels cannot usually be litter box trained though it has been done. Their waste is not as bad as a cat but, it is messy. They are not neat eaters. They will crumb all over and leave shells and pieces of food all over. They love to stash their food. You will find bits and pieces of food in your shoes, pockets, just about everywhere!
Your squirrel will gnaw on furniture, wood moldings, and picture frames; anything in your home is open season.
Squirrels are very high maintenance pets; though the cuter than a little bug’s ear. My favorite pet squirrels are my outside pet squirrels. They run up when they see me and start chattering in my ear. I am sure in squirrel language it means I love you, or I want nuts, really hard to translate. They also frisk you, looking to see where you hid the goodies. They may chomp and earlobe just because it was something to do or perhaps it looked like food. No malice intended.
I had a squirrel, it was my pocket pet. I loved that little guy. It didn't take me long to realize he belonged back in the trees. My body made a dreadful tree and my earlobe a very poor nut. I had tried to keep a baby squirrel that was a wildlife rescue and to keep it as a pet. It was a bad judgment call on my part.
No matter what your decision, above all else, enjoy your pet squirrel.
Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide
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