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Thread: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

  1. #1

    Default How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    I have a squirrel I've had as a baby. Can you please tell me how I can get a license to keep her as a pet.

    I live in California. I've looked at websites but had trouble finding out how to apply.

    There is no rush ---other than I want to be able to take her for medical treatment without worrying about whether she is licensed or not.

    Also if you know any vets who regularly treat squirrels (right!?) in the Orange County area, SoCA.


  2. #2

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    Dep website? I know in CT there is an application, 40 hours of vol time and a test to get licensed. Not sure which goes first yet but I'm sure someone on here could let you know about Cali laws. Google also could lead you in the right direction to your local wildlife rehabber and they could tell you the proper routine.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    I'm not interested in being a re habber, just a pet owner. You know when I was a Petsmart today I was looking at the different pets. It's odd but many of "legal" pets are nocturnal (just like us typing this time of night!). But I don't think I'd want a nocturnal pet--- you couldn't play with them during the day--- keep them company--- have fun feeding them. I don't know if pet chinchillas or rats change their patterns from night to day. But squirrels are nice because they are day creatures. Baby Pearl likes to sleep in---much like a teenager.

    I know there must be some rationale of choice of pets over the years but I don't see much difference between squirrels and other pets. If a little animal enjoys being a pet, why should someone else say they can't be a pet. I had to give up all but one baby because someone else wanted to assert their will over mine and the babies. The babies liked being pets---having a soft bed to sleep in, protection from the elements, being safe and secure and well fed. Why should a rat have a better life afforded them than a squirrel? No offense, rats! is it because people want pets with little effort? You can leave a cat or dog with food/water whereas squirrels seem to be more "needy." That might just be my squirrel. I don't know about other ones but Baby Pearl loves being handfed, drinking her milk still from a syringe---even though she is almost a year. Spoiled, yes, but when she's well, she loves it.

    I guess cats and dogs loved to be spoiled, too. Just wondering why? It's awful. There are books on rats, hedgehogs, all kinds of dogs and cats. It's like people don't even care that squirrels exist.

    Anyone have a good source for acorns??????? or nuts (hazelnuts) year round??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    in my own head

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    What kind of squirrel do you have? How old is she?

    To all who have every loved a wild baby

  5. Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    I don't think there is any kind of pet owner's license you can get for gray squirrels in any state. I don't know that for sure but I've never heard of any such thing.

    It is to protect wild animals that they are not allowed to be kept as pets. Can you imagine what would happen if people decided it was great to have squirrels? Look what they do to parrots. They raid nests, steal babies, import them to other countries with appalling mortality rates. Can you see the baby squirrels being pulled out of nests, hand raised with tremendous mortality rates just so people could have a cool pet?

    Wild animals belong in the wild with some possible exceptions for those who become too tame during rearing as an orphan or have some kind of disability. I've said often that if I had to do it all over I would NOT have spoiled Scooby and she would be living outside like Noodle and Dumpling right now. I faced the dilemma with Jake my rat. He is so tame and rats in this area have zero chance of escaping bush hogs, farmers with poison, cats and people who generally view them as vermin. However I would not suggest people go out, find rat's nests and steal the babies. The mortality rate on raising him was high, I lost his two siblings in the process.

    The "exotics" (fancy word for wild) animal trade is horrific. Look into it sometime. It will haunt you for a lifetime.

    Oh and squirrels are very different than dogs or cats. Much more like parrots. They live a fairly long time, require a TON of room, can't be kept caged for long periods of time, eat a very specialized diet and often bite the hell out of those they "love".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    City Island, Bronx, NY

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    From what I understand, in nearly all states in the union (with the exception of Florida and W. Virginia), "wildlife" is considered the property of the state and NOT allowed to be kept as pets. This includes everything from squirrels to raccoons to deer to bears. Various conditions and requirements exist from state to state in order to get a license to REHABILITATE these animals, but that license is not a license to keep AS A PET. According to NY State rehabilitator's licenses, for example, we are supposed to euthanize ANY animal who cannot be released into the wild. End of story. As for the so-called "Permit to Possess", which people think is like a 'pet license', you must prove that you take that animal with you to various LEGITIMATE educational classes -- sponsored by the real. live Board of Ed, not something you set up in your yard -- and submit paperwork on those classes in order to be allowed to possess those wild animals legally.
    Bottom line, so long as you are not living in FL or WV, I don't believe it is ever legal to keep a squirrel as a pet. Sometimes you can find a vet who will see a squirrel "under the radar", but that's about as good as it gets.
    Last edited by island rehabber; 06-07-2010 at 11:25 AM.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator

    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)

    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern California

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    it is also my belief that indiana will allow one to have a squirrel w/a permit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    in my own head

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    Trust me if you have a grey squirrel you do not want to "keep" her. They are a lot of trouble with very few rewards at the end of the day. They would much prefer to be free in the trees. The diet is a nightmare, very expensive and hard to manage. They require out of cage activity even if you don't feel good or to tired they NEED that time out seven days a week. They are destructive and messy. There will be no sleeping in on the weekends because they are early risers and the food better be there. They are unpredictable and can be aggressive. Not to mention the guilt of having a caged animal that wants to be free. Even thought Knothead is a NR I have the guilt everyday because I know he would rather be in the woods I don't think I have ever had a wild animal who's personality changed so drastically in such a short time. They go from cute, playful love you more than anything to OPEN THE DOOR NOW! and if you try to make a "pet" out of them you are robbing them of their God Given right to be free.....

    To all who have every loved a wild baby

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Orange Park, FL

    Default Re: How to get License to keep squirrel as pet?

    I only know that requirements of the state of Florida. I am a Fl state licensed rehabilitater, however as IR said about the laws in NY, I am supposed to euthanize any animal that I receive that cannot be returned to the wild. If (when) I keep a animal from the wild;I am required to to obtain a state license to use the animal for educational purposes ( here the fee is $50.00).
    It is not illegal for a non-state licensed person to keep a "wildlife"pet, but without the additional license it is illegal for me to have them. Contact Fish and Game or your states equivalent and ask. DO NOT give them any personal information!! They could come and take your baby from you!!!!!!
    Wildlife and Squirrel Rescue,Inc.
    Rescuing Fl squirrels since 1979
    Moderator: NFSA Emergency Care
    Wildlife Intake Coordinator and Rehab Consultant at "The Ark Wildlife Care and Sanctuary Inc"

    Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but learning to how to dance in the rain"

    "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it taken place."
    George Bernard Shaw

    "Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear." - Mark Twain

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