Wild Squirrels as Pets
DON'T DO IT. (They bite!)
Mr. Wellington / David Rabe; illustrations by Robert Andrew Parker
A frightened young gray squirrel falls from his tree one night. Passing by on his bicycle Jonathan gathers him up, takes him home, and names him Mr. Wellington. However, Jonathan and his older brother find it difficult to take care of Mr. Wellington, who becomes sicker and sicker. Finally they take him to a local wildlife rehabber who nurses him back to health and releases him. The narrative alternates between Mr. Wellington and Jonathan’s points of view.
- Another book with a similar theme is Nuts / by Kacy Cook
Pocket Pets / Alvin Silverstein, Virginia Silverstein, Laura Silverstein Nunn
This survey of cute little mammals, mostly rodents, after discussing chinchillas, degus, hamsters, gerbils, duprasi, rats, mice, Guinea pigs, rabbits, and yes—flying squirrels—warns, in a section called “NOT A PET!”
“It may … be tempting to bring home a small animal you find outside, especially if it seems to be in danger. … Well meaning people may try to provide a good home for a squirrel or wood mouse or other wild animal but may not know the right things to do to keep it alive and healthy. And some wild animals simply can’t be tamed. They do not have the right kind of temperament to live contentedly in captivity. That cute little animal that you found might also hurt you. If it is frightened, it may bite you, and some animals may be carrying diseases…”
The authors are not alone in this advice; the same message comes from other experts. If you find what you think is an abandoned or injured squirrel, or any wild animal, call the wildlife rehabilitators. That’s the message from the Wildlife Hotline and the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition in Houston. Both websites have lots of excellent information, and the TWRC has a very cute squirrel video.
There's a Flying Squirrel in My Coffee: Overcoming Cancer with the Help of My Pet / Bill Goss
There is one exception to the rule that squirrels make bad pets. The Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) can make a companionable pet, if you have the space and time to properly care for them. However, these pets should be obtained from a reputable breeder or other source; don’t run around at night trying to catch one for yourself or pick up an injured or orphaned stray because you may harm both the squirrel and yourself.