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What Diseases Do Squirrels Have?

Squirrels are typically harmless, rarely biting unless they’ve been cornered or feel threatened. They are capable of carrying and transmitting a handful of diseases. Squirrels can transmit diseases to people through direct contact, such as a squirrel bite or scratch, or through indirect contact, such as contact with urine, feces, or contaminated soil or water.

Six squirrel diseases that people can get: 

  • Salmonellosis: Salmonella bacteria found in droppings. Symptoms typically appear 12 to 72 hours after exposure and can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting, and headache. In some cases, complications such as dehydration, sepsis, and meningitis may occur. 
  • Lyme disease: Spread by the ticks squirrels carry, symptoms include nerve pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. 
  • Ringworm: A highly contagious fungal infection that is usually spread through direct contact with an infected person or animal or indirect contact. An infected squirrel in your attic can contaminate a variety of objects and surfaces like floors, towels, furniture, and clothing.
  • Tularemia: Infectious disease that attacks the skin, eyes lymph nodes, and lungs. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, ulcers, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches.
  • Leptospirosis:  Bacterial infection that causes fever, headache, vomiting, jaundice, and rash. 
  • Rabies: Though rare, sometimes squirrels pass the rabies virus onto humans via biting or scratching. 

Many of these diseases are fatal when left untreated, so individuals should monitor for symptoms, and seek medical attention after coming in contact with squirrel urine or feces. Breathing in particles of the animal’s excrement is the most common method of disease transmission. 

Squirrel Parasites

Squirrels can be hosts to other pests such as fleas, ticks, and mites. These pests can affect people if you are in close contact with squirrels. Ticks can spread diseases like Lyme diseases, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tulamia. Fleaborne diseases include plague, Flea-borne typhus, and cat scratch disease.

Preventing Squirrel Diseases 

The best way to prevent the spread of disease is to avoid contact with squirrels and their droppings. We also encourage wearing gloves and masks in the case of an infestations to reduce the possibility of contracting illnesses. 

Get Professional Squirrel Control

While they look cute, never attempt to handle or pick up a squirrel. They are still a wild animal, and squirrels can be dangerous. Their bites and scratches hurt and could potential spread a disease.

Contact professional wildlife removal services if you’ve identified a squirrel problem on your property.

Critter Control technicians are trained in the safe and humane removal of nuisance squirrels. After squirrel control, Critter Control technicians apply ectoparasite and sanitization agents. These clean the areas by exterminating fleas, ticks, and mites and disinfecting anything contaminated by squirrels.

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