Keeping Your Squirrel Happy and Healthy

Following These Tips Will Keep Your Squirrel Happy and Healthy

Squirrels can be affectionate pets. They are usually playful. They are masters at doing tricks and jumping around. While keeping them as pets, some care needs to be taken.
PetPonder Staff
Last Updated: Mar 15, 2018
Grizzled Giant Squirrel
Some say that it's wrong to keep wild animals as pets. They belong in their natural environment. Then again, others might say that all animals were once wild, and humans managed to tame some of them and turn them into domestic animals. At any rate, no animal should be kept in a cage.
If you want to have a nice, happy squirrel around, you could consider keeping it outside, or letting it come near your house. It's better to let the squirrel be in its natural environment. You can befriend it so that it visits from time to time to eat or play. Nonetheless, given below are some suggestions to care for pet squirrels which are kept in the house.
Water
Always keep a bowl of water around for your squirrel. This water should be changed daily. It is recommended to use non-plastic bowls for the same. As these animals are rodents, they like to chew on plastic.
Diet
They can eat a variety of foods. You can feed them unsalted peanuts or unsalted sunflower seeds. They also like shelled and unshelled nuts like almonds, hazel nuts, walnuts, pecans, and so on. However, these should also be unsalted. Some may also eat fruits and vegetables like grapes, apples, tomatoes, cherries, melons, and avocados. Some may enjoy sugar-free peanut butter, cucumber, corn, pear, spinach, lettuce, blueberries, kiwi, banana, mango, pineapple, raisins, peach, apricot, nectarine, figs, or strawberries. Apparently, each squirrel has different tastes in food, so you cannot know for sure what exactly your pet may eat. Some people feed their squirrels rat food bought from pet shops. However, being primarily wild animals, squirrels prefer their food to be as natural as possible. The best feeding hours are at 8:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. (twice a day). The squirrel's diet also depends on its age.
Sleeping Hours
In their natural environment, squirrels are awake for a certain period of time--a few hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. They spend the rest of the day sleeping or simply relaxing. They have very healthy sleeping hours. During their 'awake' hours, they usually have plenty of energy, and love to run, climb trees, and play a lot.
Nature and Basic Care
If you want your squirrel to play around the house, you need to make sure that there aren't any dangerous objects like electric wires that it might chew on, or cats or dogs that might not be very friendly towards it and may try to hunt and eat it. You should also be careful while handling squirrels because they have really sharp teeth and claws. Some owners solve this problem by using cat nail clippers.
When you hold a squirrel, avoid grabbing it by the tail and hold its entire body instead. It feels a lot more comfortable if treated gently. It is said that squirrels make for wonderful pets and get affectionate towards owners. Some can even recognize their own names and come when called. They can do tricks, especially the flying squirrels that are famous for their jumping abilities. Some also like looking out of the window. They always like to be in action. As they might get bored, the best thing is to let them play outside. They cannot survive otherwise. You can make all sorts of improvisations of tree-like objects that they can climb on or jump from.
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