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Keeping squirrels as pets: is this allowed?


They are cute, funny to look at and clever: no wonder that many would like a squirrel as a pet. But with all admiration for the rodent: it is a wild animal and as such it belongs in the woods. Breeding squirrels are excluded from the regulation. The sight makes it easy to understand why humans want a squirrel as a pet. However, it is not allowed - Shutterstock / geertweggen

Squirrels are most comfortable in the wild. There they find their food, a retreat and can move freely. The animals are also increasingly seen in urban gardens and green areas. On the one hand, this is due to the deforestation that drives rodents out of their original homeland. On the other hand, they find enough food in urban areas, so that they increasingly move to urban areas.

Just because the nimble rodents are among us and are becoming more trusting is not allowed to keep them at home. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, it is clearly and forbidden to own wild animals that were born in the wild. A purchase of the animals is usually also 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 need, you are allowed to take in the rodent and take good care of it again. : If you have taken care of the animal, you must release it again.

Under no circumstances should you keep the rodent as a pet - unless a handicap remains. In such a case, you must officially register the wild animal and state the reason for the animal's whereabouts. The area of ​​responsibility differs depending on the federal state. However, the State Office for Nature and the Environment or a nature conservation association is usually the right contact.

Sick or injured squirrel found: SOS measures

Of course, you don't have to leave needy squirrels to their fate. However, keep a few things in mind when rescuing. Do not touch it directly with your hand, but put on gloves or take it up with a towel. As an escape animal, the squirrel will likely try to defend itself and could hurt you with its sharp teeth.

Protect yourself accordingly. Then place it in a quiet, delimited place in your home, where it is not exposed to hazards such as sockets and supply it with sufficient liquid. However, it is even better to hand the animal over to experienced people. You can find them in a squirrel sanctuary. The rodent experts provide the needy creatures with adequate food and medical assistance.

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Loophole: Keep bred squirrels as pets

Under strict guidelines, you can buy a squirrel - as long as it is a breeding animal. The breeding squirrel must be registered in the above-mentioned authorities and a proof of origin issued by the breeder must be presented. This is necessary to rule out that the animal has been caught.

Caution: Even breeding unicorns may not be kept as pets in the apartment. Only outside keeping is allowed. Everything else is cruelty to animals and is punished under criminal law. Before you buy a squirrel, you should ask yourself whether you have enough space for the bright animal with a strong urge to move.