Keeping squirrels as pets: is that allowed?

They’re cute, funny to look at and clever: it’s no wonder so many want a squirrel as a pet. But despite all the admiration for the rodent: it is a wild animal and as such it belongs in the forest. Breeding squirrels are exempt from the regulation.

Looking at it, it's easy to understand why people want a squirrel as a pet.  However, it is not allowed – Shutterstock / geertweggen

Looking at it, it’s easy to understand why people want a squirrel as a pet. However, it is not allowed – Shutterstock / geertweggen

Squirrels feel most comfortable in the great outdoors. There they find their food, a place of retreat and can move freely. The animals can also be seen more and more frequently in urban gardens and green areas. On the one hand, this is due to the clearing of the forest, which drives the rodents from their original home. On the other hand, they find enough food in urban areas, so they increasingly move to urban areas.

Just because the nimble rodents are among us and are becoming more and more trusting, it is not permitted to keep them at home. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, owning wild animals that were born in the wild is strictly forbidden. A purchase of the animals is usually excluded.

Keeping Squirrels as Pets: Sick or injured animals

An exception to the ban on keeping wild animals at home are sick or injured animals. If you find a squirrel in distress, you are allowed to take the rodent in and nurse it back to health. : Once you have fed the animal, you must release it back into the wild.

Under no circumstances should you keep the rodent as a pet – unless there is a handicap. In such a case, you must register the wild animal with the authorities and state the reason for the whereabouts of the animal. The area of ​​responsibility differs depending on the federal state. As a rule, however, the State Office for Nature and the Environment or a nature conservation association is the right contact person.

Sick or injured squirrel found: SOS action

Of course, you don’t have to leave squirrels in need of help to their fate. However, there are a few things to consider when rescuing. Don’t touch it directly with your hand, put on gloves or wipe it up with a towel. As a flight animal, the squirrel will probably try to defend itself and could injure you with its sharp incisor teeth.

So protect yourself accordingly. Then bring it to a quiet, separate place in your home where it is not exposed to sources of danger such as sockets and provide it with sufficient liquid. However, it is even better to leave the animal in the hands of experienced people. You can find them in a squirrel sanctuary. The rodent experts provide the needy creatures with adequate food and provide medical assistance.

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Loophole: Keeping farmed squirrels as pets

You can buy a squirrel under strict conditions – as long as it is a breeding animal. The breeding squirrel must be registered with the above authorities and a certificate of origin issued by the breeder must be submitted. This is necessary to rule out that the animal was caught.

danger: Even breeding squirrels may not be kept in the home as pets. Only keeping outside is allowed. Anything else is animal cruelty and will be prosecuted. Before you buy a squirrel, you should ask yourself whether you even have enough space for the alert animal with a pronounced urge to move.

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