Can You Have A Flying Squirrel As A Pet

While flying squirrels can be kept as pets, it is important to note that they have specific needs and may not be suitable for everyone. They can bond with their owners, are intelligent, and generally not prone to biting.

However, they are social animals that require specialized care and can be expensive to maintain. Additionally, flying squirrels can become destructive and are nocturnal, which may not fit well with every owner’s lifestyle.

Can You Have A Flying Squirrel As A Pet

Do Flying Squirrels Make Good Pets

Flying squirrels can make good pets if they are cared for properly. There are two types of flying squirrels native to North America: the northern flying squirrel and the southern flying squirrel. The southern flying squirrel is the smallest and has gray hair with a white belly, while the northern flying squirrel has gray-brown hair and a gray belly.

When bringing a flying squirrel home, the first few weeks are crucial for bonding. Hand feeding and daily handling will help them become more affectionate and comfortable with their owner.

It’s important to note that flying squirrels are considered exotic pets and are illegal to own in 26 states. This is due to the trapping and trafficking of flying squirrels from their native habitats. Despite the bans, some people still smuggle them into these states. If you are interested in owning a flying squirrel, it is essential to research legal and ethical ways to obtain one.

The Pros of Flying Squirrels As Pets

Owning a pet flying squirrel can be a unique and rewarding experience for several reasons.

1. Intelligence and Engagement

Flying squirrels are highly intelligent creatures and can be great companions. They have the capacity to learn and interact with their owners, making for engaging and entertaining pets. Their curious and playful nature can provide hours of entertainment and companionship.

2. Affectionate and Bonding

Captive-bred flying squirrels have the ability to form strong bonds with their human owners. With proper socialization and interaction from a young age, flying squirrels can become very affectionate pets. They enjoy being handled and spending time with their owners, creating a close and special bond.

3. Minimal Biting Tendency

While all animals have the potential to bite, flying squirrels are not known for biting as much as other small pets. With proper care and handling, flying squirrels can be gentle and docile. Their biting tendency is usually limited to situations where they feel threatened or scared, making it relatively uncommon.

4. Conversation Starters

Owning a flying squirrel can make for great conversation starters. Not many people have experienced the joy of having a flying squirrel as a pet, so sharing stories and experiences about your unique pet can be a great way to connect with others and spark interesting conversations.

Overall, owning a pet flying squirrel can offer a distinct and enjoyable pet ownership experience. Their intelligence, affection, minimal biting tendency, and uniqueness make them fascinating companions.

The Cons of Flying Squirrels As Pets

It’s important to carefully consider the disadvantages of owning a flying squirrel as a pet before making the decision to bring one into your home.

1. Specific Care Requirements

Flying squirrels have specific care requirements that can be challenging to meet. They need a large living area with a tall cage to accommodate their gliding abilities, but also with small openings to prevent escape or injury.

2. Costly to Purchase

The cost of purchasing a flying squirrel can be relatively high, with prices ranging from $250 to $600 on average. This cost should be taken into consideration before deciding to own one as a pet.

3. Destructive Chewing

Flying squirrels are known to be relentless chewers, and if not provided with enough appropriate items to chew, they can be destructive to their surroundings. This behavior requires constant supervision and attention to ensure their safety and prevent damage to your home.

4. Not House-Trained

Unlike some other pets, flying squirrels cannot be house-trained. This means that they may not be suitable for individuals who want a pet that can be easily trained and kept indoors.

5. Emotional Dependence

While flying squirrels can form strong emotional bonds with their owners, this can also lead to dependency and stress if they are unable to be constantly with their human companions. This can be challenging for individuals who have a busy lifestyle or are unable to provide constant attention to their pet.

6. Limited Veterinary Knowledge

Finding a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the medical care of flying squirrels can be difficult. This can make it challenging to ensure the health and well-being of your pet.

7. Nocturnal Nature

Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night. This can pose a challenge for individuals who prefer to spend time with their pets during the day or who want a pet that is awake and active during the same hours as them.

8. Nervousness and Biting

Flying squirrels that have not been properly socialized or tamed as babies can be nervous and prone to biting when they feel stressed or threatened. This can make handling and interacting with them difficult and potentially risky.

9. Incompatibility with Other Pets

Flying squirrels may not cohabitate well with other pets, such as cats, dogs, ferrets, or large birds. This can pose a risk to the flying squirrel’s safety and potentially lead to conflicts or harm between the animals.

10. Time Commitment

Owning a flying squirrel requires a significant time commitment. They need constant care, including feeding, handling, and companionship. Neglecting their needs or rehoming them can have negative consequences on their well-being. Be prepared to adjust your daily routine and prioritize their needs.

11. Illegal Trafficking

Flying squirrels are often illegally trafficked due to their popularity as exotic pets. This leads to dangerous conditions for the squirrels and poses risks for potential owners. It’s crucial to avoid supporting the illegal trade and ensure that any prospective pet is obtained legally and ethically.

Considering these disadvantages is crucial in determining if owning a flying squirrel as a pet is the right choice for you and your lifestyle.

Caring For a Flying Squirrel

Caring for a flying squirrel involves several important aspects to ensure their well-being.

1. Bonding

Building a strong bond with your flying squirrel is essential. It is easier to bond with a baby squirrel rather than an adult. Carrying them in a loose shirt pocket or pouch can help facilitate bonding and establish trust between you and your pet.

2. Habitat

Providing a suitable habitat is crucial for your flying squirrel’s comfort. Once they are ready for a larger cage, make sure to include essential items such as a water bottle, food, branches for climbing, and a high nest box. Keeping the bedding clean and dry and providing toys will also contribute to their well-being.

3. Feeding

Flying squirrels have an omnivorous diet. As babies, they will require formula, but as they grow older, their diet should consist of fruits, nuts, vegetables, insects, and protein sources like mealworms and crickets. It is important to include a calcium supplement to prevent calcium deficiency. Gradually introduce fruits and vegetables into their diet as they mature.

4. Exercise

Flying squirrels are active and nocturnal, so it is important to provide opportunities for exercise. Taking them out of their cage regularly will help prevent obesity and allow them to engage in natural behaviors.

5. Veterinary Care

Finding a veterinarian experienced in caring for exotic animals is crucial for the health of your flying squirrel. Regular check-ups and proper medical care will help ensure their overall well-being.

By following these guidelines, you can provide proper care for your flying squirrel and help them thrive in their environment.

Safety Concerns

When considering owning a flying squirrel, it’s important to be aware of the safety concerns associated with these animals.

1. Parasites, Lice, and Fleas

Flying squirrels can carry parasites, lice, and fleas, which can be transferred to humans. It’s crucial to take preventative measures such as regular veterinary care and proper hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infestation.

2. Rabies

While rare, flying squirrels can carry rabies. Their sharp teeth can cause painful bites if they feel provoked or scared. It’s essential to handle flying squirrels with caution and avoid situations that could lead to aggression.

3. Typhus

Flying squirrels can become infected with typhus, which can then be transmitted to humans. Typhus is spread through the feces of infected lice. Prompt treatment with tetracycline therapy is necessary to prevent severe complications.

4. Challenging Pets

Flying squirrels can be challenging to live with as pets. They require a significant amount of time, attention, and care to thrive. It’s important to research and understand the specific needs of flying squirrels before considering them as pets. Additionally, ethical rehabilitation sites offer opportunities to rescue flying squirrels in need.

5. Creating a Strong Bond

To have a successful relationship with a flying squirrel, it’s important to be willing to invest time and effort in creating a strong bond. Building trust and providing proper care are crucial for a healthy and happy living environment.


Are flying squirrels difficult to care for?

Flying squirrels require a lot of attention and care. They need plenty of space to glide and climb, a varied diet, and regular social interaction. They also have specific housing and environmental needs that should be met.

What kind of care do flying squirrels require?

Flying squirrels need regular veterinary check-ups, daily interaction and mental stimulation, a balanced diet, and a clean living environment. It is important to provide a suitable amount of care and attention to meet their needs.

Do flying squirrels need special housing?

Flying squirrels need a large cage with branches or ropes for climbing and ample space for gliding. It is important to provide an environment that mimics their natural habitat to keep them healthy and happy.

Can flying squirrels be trained?

Flying squirrels can be trained to some extent. They can be taught to come when called and can bond with their owners. However, they are still wild animals and have natural behaviors that may not be completely trainable.

Can flying squirrels be potty trained?

While it is possible to train flying squirrels to use a litter box, it may not be as consistent as with other pets. It is important to be prepared for potential accidents and provide the necessary cleaning and care.

Can you keep a flying squirrel with other pets?

It is not recommended to keep a flying squirrel with other pets such as cats, dogs, or ferrets. These animals have natural instincts to hunt and may harm or potentially kill the squirrel. It is important to prioritize the safety and well-being of all animals involved.

What is the hardest part of owning a flying squirrel?

The most difficult aspect of owning a flying squirrel is ensuring that they are securely contained when you are not actively caring for them. It is important to provide a well-ventilated enclosure with small enough spaces to prevent the squirrel from getting its head caught and potentially suffering harm or even death.

How long do flying squirrels live?

In captivity, flying squirrels can live up to 15 years with proper care. It’s important to provide a healthy diet, regular vet check-ups, and a stimulating environment to ensure a long and happy life for your pet flying squirrel.

Are southern flying squirrels hard to take care of?

Southern flying squirrels are actually not difficult to take care of, so they are a good choice for first-time exotic pet owners. As long as you meet their basic care needs and closely supervise them when they’re out of their cage, you should have no problem taking care of them.

Are flying squirrels awake during the day?

Flying squirrels are nocturnal creatures, which means they are awake and active during the night. During the day, they instinctively sleep in their nests. If you want to interact with your flying squirrel or provide playtime, you may need to wake them up from their daytime slumber.

Are flying squirrels legal to own as pets?

Laws regarding owning a flying squirrel as a pet vary by location. Some states allow it with the proper permits, while others prohibit it altogether. Check with your local wildlife or exotic pet regulations before obtaining a flying squirrel.

Are flying squirrels legal in California?

Flying squirrels are not legal to own as pets in California. The state prohibits the ownership of wildlife, including flying squirrels. It is important to respect these laws and not attempt to keep them as pets.

Are flying squirrels legal in Georgia?

In Georgia, it is illegal to hold most native species of wildlife without proper permits or licenses. These permits are not intended for keeping native wildlife as pets. These restrictions apply to all species of animals, regardless of their origin or appearance.

Are flying squirrels legal in Massachusetts?

Flying squirrels are legal to own in Massachusetts with the proper permits. However, it’s important to remember that keeping them as pets without the necessary permits can be considered illegal and could lead to penalties and the confiscation of the animal.

Are flying squirrels legal in PA (Pennsylvania)?

Flying squirrels are protected and considered endangered in Pennsylvania. They are listed as a priority species in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan and are protected under the Game and Wildlife Code. It is illegal to possess or keep flying squirrels as pets in Pennsylvania.

Are flying squirrels native to Florida?

Yes, flying squirrels are native to Florida. Florida is home to the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) along with other species of squirrels like the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger).


In conclusion, while the idea of having a flying squirrel as a pet may seem intriguing, it is important to consider the practicality and responsibility that comes with it. Flying squirrels have specific dietary and housing needs, and require a significant amount of time and attention to care for properly. Additionally, they may not be legal to have as a pet in some areas.

It’s also essential to consider the well-being of the animal. Flying squirrels are wild animals and may not adapt well to life in captivity. They have natural behaviors and instincts that may be difficult to meet in a domestic setting.

Similar Posts