Can You Own A Pet Flying Squirrel? Is It Legal?

Wondering if you can domesticate Flying Squirrels? Flying Squirrels are undoubtedly adorable and make unique rodent pets. But are they really worth it as pets? And Is it possible to own a pet Flying Squirrel?

Well, yes, if the legislature/ authorities of your area allow, you can definitely own a Flying Squirrel. Given the right care and appropriate environment, these small rodents make excellent exotic pets. Flying squirrels are known for being excellent companions, and they have been pets for hundreds of years. Especially in several parts of Northern America, Flying Squirrels have their prominent dominance as both wild and domestic animals.

Let’s shed some more light on it:

Flying Squirrel- Where Do They Come From?

Flying Squirrels or Gliding Squirrels are a tribe of 50 species of squirrels in the family Sciuridae. Their multiple major known species are currently popular across the world. Amongst them, the two are found in northern Eurasia, two are found in North America (Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans)), and the rest are found in India and other parts of Asia. 

Adverse to their name, Flying Squirrels can’t fly like birds and bats but use their gliding power to get from one tree to another. They can glide up to 450 meters; however, that’s the maximum recorded distance ever. 

History of Flying Squirrel: According to molecular studies, Flying Squirrels are monophyletic, and they might have evolved about 18 to 20 million years ago. According to the emerging synthesis of flying squirrel phylogeny, they are closely related to the New World tree Squirrels. The latter is estimated to originate 4 to 6 million years later from the Asian Flying Squirrels. 

Flying Squirrel Species Overview

NameFlying Squirrel
Other NamesGliding Squirrel
Scientific NamesPteromyini or Petauristini
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
Family and SubfamilySciuridae and Sciurinae
TribePteromyini
NativeNorth America, eastern Himalayas,
North-east India,
Northern Europe Russia, Finland, and Estonia
SizeHeight: 8 to 12 inches
Weight: 1.8 to 4.4 ounces
LifespanUp to 5 years in the wild
Up to 10 years in Captivity

Do Flying Squirrels Make Good Pets?

Flying Squirrels make an excellent pet for the right individuals. The first week of domestication with them can prove tricky, as well as deciding if one can have the pet for long.

As long as an individual is able to meet their specific needs adequately, Flying Squirrel will bring excitement to your life. However, if ignored or less cared for, they can prove destructive, probably the most relentless chewers.

Another consideration that questions Flying Squirrels as pets are their ability to connect emotionally. Either they won’t bond with their owner at all, or their bond will become so strong that even a few minutes of distance can bring the poor pet to high stress.

Is It Legal To Keep Flying Squirrel As A Pet?

Given their exotic status, Flying Squirrels are illegal as pets in many countries. For instance, the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 strongly discourages keeping any animal or bird as a pet that is originally a wild species.

However, even though Indian Flying Squirrels are banned as pets in their own country, no laws protect them outside the Indian border.

Whereas in other places and with other Flying Squirrel species, laws can vary. In many countries, counties, towns, and municipalities, even though Flying Squirrels are legal as well, the local rules govern these pets.

For instance, in some areas, individuals may require a special permit or license to validate their ownership over the rodent. The individual may have to go through a long legal stipulation before finally getting his hand on the pet.

Whereas in some cases, it is mandatory to get a Flying Squirrel only through a reputed and certified breeder. Importing or trafficking one for making a pet can land you in great legal trouble. 

Are Flying Squirrels legal in the U.S.?

The legal status of Flying Squirrels is quite conflicting in the different U.S. States. For instance, they are illegal to own in the 10 U.S. States, whereas in 15 others, one can pet them only after gaining a specific license.

In the remaining states, either their legal status is unknown, or those states might have least or no laws on keeping exotic animals as pets.

USA States list Where Flying Squirrel Is Legal To Own

The U.S. States where Flying Squirrel legal as pets:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Georgia
  5. Idaho
  6. Iowa
  7. Illinois
  8. Kansas
  9. Kentucky
  10. Louisiana
  11. Minnesota
  12. Mississippi
  13. Missouri
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Hampshire
  16. New Jersey
  17. New York
  18. North Carolina
  19. Ohio
  20. Pennsylvania
  21. New Mexico
  22. Rhode Island
  23. Tennessee
  24. Texas
  25. Wisconsin
  26. Washington

The U.S. States where a license/ permit is a must for owning a Flying Squirrel:

  1. Arizona
  2. Delaware
  3. Indiana
  4. Florida
  5. Maine
  6. Michigan
  7. Montana
  8. North Dakota
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Oregon
  11. South Carolina
  12. South Dakota
  13. Utah (Northern Flying Squirrels only)
  14. West Virginia
  15. Wyoming

The U.S. States where Flying Squirrels are restricted as pets or for any trade

  1. Maryland
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Nevada
  4. Alabama
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Hawaii
  8. Vermont
  9. Virginia
  10. Utah (South Flying Squirrels are illegal)

Can you have Flying Squirrels as pets?

Given they are legal in your Country/ State, you can definitely have Flying Squirrels as pets. However, beyond the legal considerations, there are multiple other factors that can influence your experience as a pet Flying Squirrel owner. For example,

  • Firstly, go through your lease or rental agreement, ensuring you are allowed to keep a pet, especially an exotic pet. If the agreement has unclear information, you can contact your homeowner and take permission in writing.
  • Check your local town or municipality laws regarding Flying Squirrels.
  • Ensure there’s a professional Vet who can and is willing to assist your pet whenever needed.
  • Ensure you can manage the monthly expenses of owning a Flying Squirrel.
  • Learn about the Flying Squirrels diet and make sure you can manage to provide it on a daily basis.
  • Make sure you can provide enough time and effort to your pet, or else bringing home the poor squirrel will go in vain. It is better to let the squirrel stay in the wild or with the breeder if you are not sure about being an ideal pet owner.

Pet Flying Squirrels- All you might need to know

Flying Squirrel Habitat Needs

Flying Squirrels are small rodents who can manage in small to medium-sized cages. However, since you will house the pet for a long, it is better to provide them with a large enclosure where they can run and glide around.

A 4 feet (all side) enclosure will provide the best comfort to the animal in order to thrive, climb and have fun around. Add in some branches and ropes, and provide the squirrel with some opportunities to play. Also, add a soft nesting box where the rodent will probably relax and sleep.

NOTE: While choosing a squirrel enclosure, go with the one which has very small spaces between the bars or mesh. Such enclosure is essential for avoiding injuries and escapes. Remember, a metal enclosure only would be tough enough to capture the squirrel inside.

TIP: Go for domesticating two Flying Squirrels together since one might not make it easy due to loneliness. With that, ensure the space is adequate for both the squirrels to have their personal territory.

Flying Squirrels Temperature and Humidity Needs

In the wild, deciduous and coniferous forests and woodlands are common environments for Flying Squirrels. However, in captivity, they can make it to different temperatures and humidity. Simply make sure that neither the temperature nor the humidity level goes too high or too low. It is better to plant their enclosure in a shaded space with partial exposure to sunlight.

Flying Squirrels Dietary Needs

Flying Squirrels are those omnivores that in the wild feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. This rodent requires a daily supply of 10 to 30 grams of the food. Flying Squirrels are extremely active and thus would eat more often. They do not rely on 2 meals a day and would eat whenever and however they feel like it.

In captivity, allow your pet Flying Squirrel to eat a variety of food, including, 

Seeds, Nuts, Mushrooms, Truffles, Pinecones, Lichen, Fruits, Plant matter, Eggs, etc.

Consider removing all the uneaten food every 12 hours from their enclosure. Since most Flying Squirrels are calcium deficient, ensure adding calcium and vitamin D3 (important in calcium metabolism) supplements regularly into their diet. Also, avoid any food item that is high in phosphorus.

Also, provide a shallow water bowl filled with clean water for 24 hours inside the squirrel’s cage.

Flying Squirrel Cleaning Needs

Flying Squirrels will lick and clean themselves regularly. They generally do not require any external grooming, but in some rare cases, owners can clean their pet squirrels with a damp cloth. Rub the cloth very lightly and avoid using any commercial wipes.

However, do ensure daily and weekly cleaning of your Squirrels enclosure to maintain the best pet health.

Common health problems with Flying Squirrels.

The most common health issue that most Flying Squirrels suffer from is Calcium deficiency. However, a calcium block in the cage can help overcome that. 

Besides that, the Northern Flying Squirrels are susceptible to typhus, an infectious disease. 

How Much Does a Flying Squirrel Cost?

On average, a Flying Squirrel may cost anywhere between $400 to $600. The cost, though, may increase depending upon the region, seller, and other factors.

Where to buy a Flying Squirrel?

Where to find a Flying Squirrel Breeder? Flying Squirrels are easily available in exotic pet shops, ranches, and breeders.

It is always better to go to a certified place that can provide you will all the documentation while purchasing.

Also, it is better to buy/ adopt a Flying Squirrel that is 4 to 6 weeks since, upon being older, they find it hard to bond with humans.

List of Flying Squirrel Breeders:

Advantages and Disadvantages of owning Flying Squirrels

List of Advantages:

  • Flying Squirrels are cute, adorable, and engaging companions.
  • Domesticating a Flying Squirrel isn’t as expensive as it is for other exotic pets.
  • Captive-bred flying squirrels are affectionate, and they bond well with humans.

List of Disadvantages:

  • Flying Squirrels are dangerous chewers and can damage a lot of things around. Having them roam around open inside the house is inviting a destructive mess your way.
  • Even though Flying Squirrels are less likely to bite, if they do, it can prove pretty painful.
  • Flying squirrels are illegally trafficked, which makes them unsafe pets.
  • Flying squirrels can’t take it when ignored, which means having them is an extremely time-giving commitment.

Flying squirrel Facts for Kids

  • They are known for their excellent night vision.
  • They can glow at night.
  • They can glide up to 400 feet and take an easy 180-degree turn.
  • It is common for 70% world’s population to have seen Flying Squirrels once in their life, only without knowing.
  • About 90% of the Flying Squirrel population resides in Asia.
  • They do not hibernate but Hygee.
  • Some of them can grow even larger than a house cat.
  • Flying squirrels have an extra finger than regular squirrels.
  • They have been around for over several million years now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you own a flying squirrel in America?

Yes, especially many States in the North American region allow possession of Flying Squirrels as pets. Though before getting one, it is better to check your local laws.

Do flying squirrels stink?

Flying Squirrels have no odor, and it is extremely less likely, nearly impossible for them to stink.

Do flying squirrels bite humans?

Yes, when mishandled, Flying Squirrels can bite or scratch humans.

Wrapping up…

This was all for owning a pet Flying Squirrel. Domesticating an exotic animal is definitely an overwhelming experience. However, with the name exotic associated, make sure the pet is legal to own in your region. Keeping them without required paperwork might land you into legal trouble and a hefty fine. 

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