Wild vs Domestic Squirrels: Know the Difference Before Adopting One

As someone who has spent years observing wild and domestic squirrels all over the world, I’m well-equipped to talk about the differences between them. I understand that some people may consider adopting a squirrel as a pet, so it’s important to know the difference between wild and domestic squirrels before taking such a big step. For those looking for more information about wild vs domestic squirrels, this blog post will provide an overview on the subject.

Wild squirrels are independent creatures, accustomed to surviving in their wild natural habitats by scrounging for food and living in treetops or underground dwellings. In contrast, domesticated squirrels have grown accustomed to human presence, having lost the instinctual habits that enable them to thrive in the wild. Consequently, these domesticated animals require specialized care such as a healthy diet, adequate shelter, and proper healthcare which can be hard for them to obtain on their own.

Wild vs Domestic Squirrels

Wild squirrels have a natural way of life and thrive in their own environment, scavenging for food and finding homes in tree hollows or underground tunnels. In contrast, domesticated squirrels live close to humans and lack the skills needed to survive without assistance – they rely on people for sustenance, shelter and health care that is not part of the wild squirrel’s lifestyle.

Understanding What Makes Wild and Domestic Squirrels Different

Although both wild and domestic squirrels have similar appearances, they differ in many ways. From the way they react to human interaction to their diets and socialization techniques, it’s important to understand what makes wild and domestic squirrels different before adopting one as a pet.

  • Behavior – Wild squirrels tend to be more cautious around humans and typically don’t approach unfamiliar people unless they are looking for food. On the other hand, domesticated squirrels can be very affectionate towards their owners and may even come running when called.
  • Socialization – Wild squirrels will usually interact in groups; however domesticated ones usually create strong bonds with just one person, often developing intense loyalty towards them.
  • Diet – Feeding guidelines for both types of squirrels vary depending on age. But generally speaking, wild ones eat more nuts, fruits, seeds and insects than domestic varieties which feed on store-bought seed mixes.

Benefits of Keeping a Pet Squirrel

Having a pet squirrel can be a unique experience. They’re lively, playful, and can offer both companionship and therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that simply being around an animal can reduce stress levels and aid in mental health. Plus, they bring moments of joy and laughter with their funny antics! Owning a squirrel truly is an unforgettable experience.

  1. Affection – Squirrels have been known to develop strong relationships with their owners which results in unconditional love.
  2. Playfulness – Since they’re still capable of engaging like wild animals, domesticated ones make great interactive pets due to their curious nature.
  3. Versatility – As small creatures with few needs (and lots of energy!), pet squirrels serve as excellent companions during outdoor activities such as hiking or camping trips.

Feeding Guidelines and Safety Precautions to Consider Before Adopting a Pet Squirrel

Before considering adopting a pet squirrel you must carefully consider the challenges associated with caring for one. It’s important to remember that although domesticated squirrels have adapted well to being around humans, they still retain many of the same dietary requirements that wild ones do. Therefore it’s important to be mindful when feeding them and provide them with nutritionally balanced meals that consist of protein-rich foods including nuts, fruits and vegetables as well as vitamins/minerals supplements whenever necessary.

Additionally it’s important to keep safety precautions in mind when handling your pet since they can easily become agitated if mishandled or scared by sudden movements. Even though most domesticated versions are already accustomed to being around people due diligence is required since any exposure could lead to potential harm.

Risks of Exposure to Rabies in Domestic and Wild Squirrels

Any encounter with wildlife has potential risks associated with exposure to rabies virus—this includes contact with both domestic and wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes—as well as exposure from bites or droppings from infected mammals.

It’s important always take extra precaution when dealing with potentially dangerous creatures like squirrels since they can quickly become agitated if feeling threatened or provoked. If bitten by a mammal regardless if it is believed it was infected or not immediate medical attention should be sought out since rabies can infect humans through saliva exposure if not treated early enough.

When exploring the outdoors, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions. Wear protective clothing and ensure any pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations. Respect wildlife and avoid contact with nests or dens which may contain young animals.

Dispose of any leftover food quickly and wash your hands thoroughly after interacting with animals or open wounds. Keep trash cans securely covered and store birdseed away from areas accessible to pests. Regularly check attics for potential entry points where rodents could gain access.

If you find yourself dealing with a population of wild squirrels on your property you have several options available when evicting them humanely. Because these animals have high intelligence they will typically respond well when given proper guidance so knowing the correct steps is key in successfully removing them from your premises without harming them.


Can an animal accustomed to living with humans survive in the natural environment?

It can be challenging for a domesticated squirrel to survive in the wild, as they may no longer have the natural instincts necessary to do so. Without the resources of a traditional habitat and having been accustomed to human interaction, it is possible that they would struggle to find food or build a nest suitable for living in. It is recommended that if you decide to adopt one, that you make it a lifetime commitment.

Can you reintroduce a squirrel to its natural environment?

Releasing a squirrel back into the wild is not recommended. Although squirrels can be domesticated, they lose their natural instinct to survive and may not be able to fend for themselves in an unfamiliar environment. It would be more humane to relocate them, driving at least 3 miles away so they cannot find their way back.

At what distance should a squirrel be released?

When releasing an adopted squirrel, it is important to take them far enough away so that they will not be able to find their way back. It is recommended to drive the squirrel at least 3 miles from the home before letting them go, as this will ensure the squirrel cannot return.

Why have we not domesticated squirrels?

Squirrels are naturally wild creatures, and domestication takes an immense amount of training and dedication. They also require a lot of attention, and many people find it difficult to give them the amount they need. Additionally, due to their sharply declining natural habitats, releasing domesticated squirrels into the wild would unlikely be successful, as they lack the necessary skills to survive independently.

Why are squirrels not kept as pets anymore?

Many species of squirrels are no longer considered suitable as domestic pets because they need a lot of space, exercise and attention. They are wild animals, not domesticated. This means their natural instincts for survival cannot be changed and their needs cannot be met in limited living spaces. Additionally, it can be difficult to obtain a healthy, disease-free squirrel from the wild. Therefore, if you have adopted a pet squirrel it is best to relocate them in an appropriate location where they can thrive.


In conclusion, it is important to understand the differences between wild and domestic squirrels if you are thinking about adopting one. Wild squirrels have a natural instinct for survival that domestic squirrels lack, and thus will require different diets, shelters, and health care needs. Moreover, it is best to leave wild squirrels in their native environment and allow them to thrive on their own terms. Adopting a domesticated squirrel is a much better choice as they are used to humans and can receive the proper care they need.

Regardless of which type you decide to bring home, remember that both wild and domestic squirrels require commitment, patience, and lots of love. So take your time getting to know more about these wonderful creatures before making a decision. With proper understanding, you can ensure that your furry friend has a long and happy life!

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