A forest dweller, the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), live widely throughout North America but dominate the eastern states. In their wild habitat they make their home within tree cavities. Often young baby grey squirrels will be found orphaned for one reason or another and humans will undertake hand raising. After the squirrel is hand raised it quickly becomes a pet grey squirrel and a valued member of the family.
The grey squirrel grows up to 20 inches in length. Their tail often reaches 10 inches. A rodent, the grey squirrel in captivity requires small pieces of wood, cardboard and other morsels to chew on so their front teeth are naturally worn down since they continue to grow throughout the animal’s lifetime. Grey squirrels can offer the pet owner a long lifespan of up to 10 years.
Grey squirrels can be purchased from exotic pet dealers. They are not available at simple pet stores. In many areas of the country a permit is required to legally own one. Most pet owners find themselves accidental becoming the owner of a pet squirrel when they take on the task of hand raising an orphaned baby that has fallen from the nest or been removed by another animal.
When hand raised the grey squirrel becomes quite tame and is similar in personalty to a rabbit or guinea pig. They enjoy human contact and will often lay for hours on their owner’s lap. Most have a playful, almost comical personality.
Grey squirrels are the most active in the early morning hours and in the evening. They nap throughout the rest of the day.
Purchase a relatively large cage so the grey squirrel will have plenty of room to play. A wire mesh cage is ideal so the squirrel can enjoy climbing the sides of the cage. Provide a box for the squirrel to sleep within. In the wild the gray squirrel sleeps inside of a tree cavity so a nest box can give it a sense of security and safety.
Line the cage with paper pellets or other non-toxic materials. Avoid using cedar chips which may contain toxic oils that will harm the squirrel if it feeds on them. Place branches or bird perches throughout the cage so the squirrel can enjoy climbing and exercising like it would in the wild.
A cage provides the grey squirrel with safety from other family pets. Cats and dogs often view a grey squirrel as prey and will not hesitate to consume it. The grey squirrel is relatively delicate and can sustain life threatening injuries from other pets quite easily.
Provide a diverse diet for the pet grey squirrel. The squirrel will appreciate daily diced up vegetables to pick through. Also add a bit of fruit each day. Most grey squirrels enjoy apple slices or bananas. Place a bowl of parrot food within the cage for the grey squirrel, according to Animal World.
Grey squirrels require adequate calcium in their diet to help maintain their growing teeth and bones. Purchase a calcium supplement for rabbits to give to the grey squirrel.
Always support the entire grey squirrel’s body when holding it. Squirrels are often squirmy so hold the pet grey squirrel close to your body to help aid and support it. Never pull the squirrels tail, which can be very sensitive.
Over time most squirrels become extremely happy, meaning pet grey squirrels make a pleasant addition to any family.