When Squirrels Were One Of America's Top Pets

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When Squirrels Were One Of America's Top Pets

Post by Riddick » 04-10-2024 02:37 PM


In the 18th and 19th centuries, squirrels were fixtures in American homes, especially for children. Ben Franklin even wrote an ode to a fallen one. Most pet squirrels were American Grey Squirrels, though Red Squirrels and Flying Squirrels also were around, enchanting the country with their devil-may-care attitudes and fluffy bodies.

Keeping pet squirrels has a downside for humans: despite their owners’ best attempts at taming them, they’re still wild animals. As time wore on, squirrels were increasingly viewed as pests. From the 1920s through the 1970s many states slowly adopted wildlife conservation and exotic pet laws, which prohibited keeping squirrels at home.

Today, experts and enthusiasts alike warn squirrels don’t make ideal pets due to their diet & space needs & scratchy claws, yet none of this will deter the most determined owner. Some are rekindling the obsession by making their squirrels Instagram-famous. Still, wild squirrels surely agree—it’s best we’re now mostly leaving them to the forest.


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