Squirrels are rodents, they’re characterized and distinguished by their long incisor that grow continuously and also by their long bushy tail.
Just like, prairie dogs, marmots and chipmunks, they belong to the Sciuridae family.
You might be interested in keeping squirrel as pet but where you live matters.
So, is it legal to have a pet squirrel in Texas? The answer is No. It’s illegal to own a squirrel as a pet in Texas, without a permit. It would be legal if you can prove that the squirrel will be safely caged and taken care of, and then you’re granted a license to own the animal.
Squirrels come in different kinds. There are about 200+ species of squirrels, but they’re grouped into trichotomization namely:
- Tree squirrels
- Flying squirrels
- Ground squirrels
Tree squirrel like the name implies are squirrels that live in trees, they do not live in holes or in the ground.
They are the most popular, and this is because they can be seen in farms, parks and backyards. They are also very active during daylight. They are not nocturnal.
Flying squirrels are closely related to tree squirrels, the difference is this, a flying squirrel has a gliding ability, i.e., it flies unpowered, in search of food and survival.
Also to avoid animals or organism that hunts and kills other organisms.
Another difference is that flying squirrels, are very active at night, they are nocturnal, as opposed to tree squirrels that are diurnal, and primarily active during the day.
Remember Alvin and the chipmunks, exactly! those chipmunks are squirrels; ground squirrels to be precise.
They live in the ground, fields, pastures, grassy areas, cemetery. They don’t fly and they don’t live on trees.
They live in packs — they are a group of organisms that live together in close association.
Squirrel as a Non-Traditional Pet?
These can be referred to as ‘weird’ pets, that is, these are animals that are not your everyday, normal pets.
I remember when I was in 6th grade, I was so scared of passing this house, which was like five (5) blocks away from my house, simply because they had monkeys as pets, now, who does that?, I have always been an animal lover, but monkeys?, no!, no!, especially after hearing stories of how they would pursue beautiful black girls, thinking they are one of them.
I couldn’t deal.
So examples of non-traditional pets are; monkeys, rabbits, hamsters, rats, birds, gerbils, guinea pigs, reptiles (such as lizards, snakes, turtles, tortoise, amphibians (yo! why would you be having frogs as pets?), pigs, dwarf goats, wolf hybrids, big cats, bengel cats, Quaker parrots, ferrets, hedgehogs, penguins, but to mention a few
Squirrels are also non-traditional pets, although they are loveable little creatures, but they are not designed to be pets, first of all, they will need their own place to stay, no, you can’t cuddle them like you do your cats and dogs.
Their natural instinct is for them to climb, so you’ll have to make provision for that.
Also, you can’t feed them milk, or cheese like you would feed your dogs, you’ll have to provide their food called rodent blocks, worms, insects, larva’s and grabs for your squirrel to feed on.
You can’t train them, as you do typical pets, you can’t say ‘sit’, ‘go’ to your squirrel, so if they need to relieve themselves, they can do it on you.
Oh, you think they care about you?, no no!, they were not created for that purpose.
It’s natural for squirrels to bite, the funny thing is you might not have done anything to warrant such, they have no personal feeling of fear or embarrassment that stops them from behaving how they will normally behave naturally.
Their incisors are sharp, and harmful also, and since they love to climb, you might want to consider their incisors.
I would not consider squirrel a pet but rather a pest, and this is because of their tendency to chew both comestible and inedible things.
They are foodies, they can do anything to get food, and because of this, they are pests to me.
A squirrel will dig and dig in order to get food, let me add that they have an heightened sense of smell.
They can cause a fire accident, this is because of their strong instinct to chew on anything, including electric wires and cables, treating these electric cables as tree branches.
They cause economic damage to farmers, home owners, nut growers.
Squirrels as Pets or Pests
First off, your furniture is in trouble. Squirrels do not know boundaries. If anything looks juicy and nice to them, it goes into their mouth.
Their feeding is expensive; nuts, fungi, worms, insects and every other thing they see and they love. Those guys are not predictable.
Squirrels are neat enough to take care of themselves, and they are selfish enough to not care about you.
They will literally eat their poop just to keep their side of the environment clean, but wouldn’t mind disarranging and scattering your abode.
They get worse with their teeth, their teeth grows and becomes sharper till they die, hence, they can’t be curbed nor tamed.
They require 100% maximum attention, I bet you don’t want to be stuck with a squirrel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you have a life too remember?
Having established this point before, I can’t but over emphasize and reiterate how destructive these guys are. Do not say I have not done anything for you in this life.
So before even considering if they are legal in Texas or not, you should consider this
They are also very territorial. They can claim anything possible, and ready to hurt anyone/anything that posses to be a threat to them.
They actually create boundaries using their liquid excrement.
Legal and Illegal Pets in Texas
Remember, the story of the monkey as a pet in the neighborhood where I lived?, imagine they had restriction order, or they were illegal in the community where I lived?, there will be freedom of movement for me and for everyone one else who felt a type of way about them.
However, a round of applause for the United States government.
Where as some general laws have been put to place by the Unites States department of Agriculture as to what pets Americans can own, as well as individual states having their own laws too
Hence, the laws of individual states, can never contradicts the law of America.
So yeah, America has its rules, so do Texas also.
As a matter of fact, study shows that Hawaii, a politically defined region, with its own fully independent government, had its own strict policies as regards pet ownership.
In Texas, a lemur, sloth, kinkajou, guinea pig, capybara, kangaroo, bush baby etc. are legal, but not as pets.
Having Squirrel as a Pet is Illegal in Texas
Pets are animals kept as a companion. Now, time spent with your pets should be pleasant, enjoyable and not endurable. Also, having pets means it is healthy for you, and for everyone in your society.
Some animals are not pets, scratch that, some animals should not be kept as pets.
They should be where they belong, in a zoo or a forest, or a cage, and not meant to live with humans.
Now, if our government is wise enough to realize this, it is undoubtedly, for our benefits.
It’s not legal to own a squirrel as a pet in Texas, without a permit. It would be legal if you can prove that the squirrel will be safely caged and taken care of, and then you are granted a license to own the animal.
The question now is this, who can boldly say that my own squirrel will be safely caged, when innately, a squirrel is known to climb?
If you truly love squirrels (enough to make them your pet), you should probably let them go, because they are wild animals.
They wouldn’t grow with you, they wouldn’t thrive living with you, you will not make them be free, and by that, you will shorten their life span. They should be rehabbed and released.