There was a time when cats were kept for use as mousers and dogs for hunting, and wild animals often were domesticated as pets. Of all the wild creatures tamed by Vermonters, squirrels were, by far, the most popular.

Katherine Grier’s “Pets in America” (2006) notes, “squirrel nests were raided systematically for their babies and young ones sold as pets. They were pretty and lively and, if caught young enough grew quite tame.” Because they could easily chew through wood they required cages made by tinsmiths. Soon, the exercise wheel became a standard fixture for this family pet.

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