How to Look After a Squirrel

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. September 25, 2016
How to Look After a Squirrel

If you are reading this article because you want to keep a squirrel as a pet, we must first advise against it. Squirrels are wild animals who are not meant to be domesticated and, in general, their nature won't lend itself well to any attempts to do so. However, if you were to discover a baby squirrel which has been separated from its mother, it might be callous to abandon it, so we have these tips below on How to Look After a Squirrel if the situation arises where it is necessary.

Squirrels are fragile and delicate animals which need constant specialized care, so read on at to find out what you steps and precautions are required for good squirrel care.

Primary Care of the Domestic Squirrel

Many people love the tactile nature of their pets, cuddling and petting them when they get the chance. Squirrels, however, do not respond well to this practice and the first thing to do when caring for a squirrel is not handle it excessively. They detest being held and hate even more being cuddled like a cat or a dog. They can even lose their tail if it is grabbed or tugged as it is a very fragile appendage.

They have very sharp nails and teeth and do not have the inhibition reflex of other pets which stops them from biting their owners. Therefore, it is recommended that these animals are kept away from children. These animals are easily frightened and get stressed easily. You should provide a quiet and relaxed atmosphere for the squirrel.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Primary Care of the Domestic Squirrel

Ideal Domestic Habitat for Your Squirrel

As the squirrel's behavior can be erratic, they will need to be kept in a cage. This cage should be large and clean as they need room to move about and expend all of that fidgety energy. The cage should be in a quiet environment that will not cause the animal any stress. It should not be in direct contact with sunlight, but neither should it be in the dark.

If it is not fully tame - and it is not easy to train - you shouldn't let it loose in the house. It will most likely flee and hide. When the squirrel is sufficiently trained you can let it loose in monitored areas of the house. Like all animals, squirrels are more attached to the people who feed them and give them affection.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Ideal Domestic Habitat for Your Squirrel

Behaviour of Domestic Squirrels

The behaviour of domestic squirrels can result in quite a bit of work for their owners. When they are let loose in the house, you need to permanently monitor them. They scatter food and faeces on the floor and furniture. They mark the territory they explore with urine, and these animals are not overly affectionate by nature.

The owner must be aware of, and act on, every little reaction given by the animal, since squirrels have virtually no empathy with humans.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Behaviour of Domestic Squirrels

Avoidable Risks

Domestic squirrels should not live with dogs or cats. Parrots are also not recommended companions. However, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters are compatible with domestic squirrels.

Children are the most dangerous living creatures for squirrels .

Toxic plants should also be kept out of their reach, as should any other plant for that matter. If plants are left within the reach of agile squirrels, the squirrel is likely to damage it with its sharp teeth.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Avoidable Risks

Feeding Domestic Squirrels

Pet shops sell ready-made specific food for squirrels. Squirrels consume various types of dried fruits and legumes: walnuts, peanuts, acorns, etc. They also consume worms and small insects, such as crickets or mealworms.

Your vet will recommend to you the most suitable food for your squirrel and the appropriate vaccines that you need to give it. Pay attention and follow the expert's advice.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Feeding Domestic Squirrels

Coexistence Between Individuals of the Same Species

Domestic squirrels do not coexist well with each other, unless they belong to the same litter. They do not share food nor their cage, or even the space within your home. They are very territorial. In the case of having more than one squirrel, you will have to keep them in separate cages and let them out at different times.

They are diurnal animals and need to sleep in cosy places without noise or light at night. When out of their cage they are very active and their behavior is often a pleasure to observe.

How to Look After a Squirrel - Coexistence Between Individuals of the Same Species

While you can follow this advice to know how to care for a squirrel as a pet, their constant need for attention and caution means taking them into your home is a great responsibility. If you find an abandoned squirrel who needs care, you can get in touch with your vet or local animal sanctuary which may be able to house it.

If you want to learn more about caring for other pets, read Yorkshire Terrier Care Guide - Thngs You Should Know.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Look After a Squirrel, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

Write a comment

Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
How to Look After a Squirrel
1 of 7
How to Look After a Squirrel

Back to top