Flying squirrels, with their adorable appearance and intriguing ability to glide through the air, have captured the fascination of many animal enthusiasts. You may have wondered if it’s possible to have a flying squirrel as a pet. In this article, we will explore the feasibility and considerations associated with keeping flying squirrels as pets.
The Legal Aspect
Before considering a flying squirrel as a pet, it’s crucial to understand the legal regulations in your area. Laws regarding the ownership of exotic pets, including flying squirrels, can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. Always check with your local wildlife and fishery agencies to determine if it is legal to keep a flying squirrel as a pet in your region.
The Species of Flying Squirrels
There are over 50 species of flying squirrels worldwide, and not all of them are suited to be pets. The two most common species kept as pets are the Southern Flying Squirrel and the Northern Flying Squirrel. These species are relatively small and more adaptable to captivity compared to some of their larger counterparts.
Diet and Feeding
Flying squirrels have specific dietary requirements that can be challenging to meet in a domestic setting. Their diet mainly consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and insects. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet to ensure the health and well-being of your pet flying squirrel.
Housing and Habitat
Flying squirrels are arboreal creatures, meaning they live in trees and are adapted to a life in the canopy. Therefore, their housing should resemble their natural habitat as closely as possible. Large cages or aviaries with plenty of branches, hiding spots, and nesting areas are necessary to keep them happy and healthy.
Flying squirrels are social animals and thrive in the company of their own kind. Keeping a single flying squirrel as a pet can lead to loneliness and stress. It is advisable to keep at least two flying squirrels together, provided they get along well, to ensure their social needs are met.
Flying squirrels are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active during the night. If you plan to keep them as pets, be prepared for their nighttime activity, which may include jumping, gliding, and playing. This nocturnal lifestyle may not be compatible with your own schedule and sleeping patterns.
Caring for flying squirrels requires a good deal of knowledge and dedication. It’s essential to learn about their unique needs, behaviors, and health concerns. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to ensure their well-being.
The Importance of Rehabilitation Centers
In many cases, it’s better for flying squirrels to remain in the wild or in the care of wildlife rehabilitation centers. These centers have the expertise and resources to care for injured or orphaned flying squirrels and, when possible, release them back into their natural habitat.
In conclusion, while it is technically possible to keep flying squirrels as pets, it comes with significant responsibilities and challenges. It’s important to consider the legal aspects, the specific needs of the species, and your own commitment to providing proper care. Given their social nature and specialized requirements, it’s often best to appreciate flying squirrels in their natural habitat or support wildlife rehabilitation efforts rather than attempting to keep them as pets.