Squirrels, with their bushy tails and nimble antics, are often viewed as harmless and adorable creatures.
While many people enjoy watching them playfully dart around parks and trees, few are aware of the potential health risks associated with these seemingly harmless rodents.
In this article, we will explore the top five health risks posed by squirrels and why it’s essential to be cautious around these furry neighbors.
Bites and Scratches
Squirrels may appear gentle, but they are wild animals with sharp teeth and claws. If a squirrel feels threatened or cornered, it may bite or scratch in self-defense. Squirrel bites can transmit various diseases, including rabies.
While instances of rabid squirrels are rare, it’s crucial to seek medical attention if bitten to prevent potential complications.
Squirrels can carry a range of zoonotic diseases, which are infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans. One such disease is leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that affects the kidneys and can lead to severe complications if left untreated. Additionally, squirrels can carry ticks and fleas, increasing the risk of Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses.
Being vigilant about avoiding direct contact with squirrels and maintaining proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of contracting these diseases.
Allergies and Respiratory Issues
Squirrel droppings and dander can trigger allergies and respiratory problems in some individuals. Breathing in airborne particles from dried squirrel droppings can lead to respiratory issues such as asthma or allergic rhinitis. Individuals with compromised immune systems, children, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
Proper disposal of squirrel droppings and regular cleaning of areas frequented by squirrels can help mitigate this risk.
Property Damage and Contamination
Squirrels are notorious for gnawing on various objects, including electrical wires, insulation, and wooden structures. This behavior not only causes property damage but also poses a risk of fire hazards. Moreover, squirrel droppings and urine can contaminate surfaces and pose a health risk.
If squirrels have infested your home or property, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent structural damage and potential health hazards.
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders and may scavenge for food in areas where humans frequent, such as parks, gardens, and outdoor dining spaces. Their contact with food sources can lead to contamination, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
It’s essential to store food securely, especially in outdoor environments, to prevent contamination by squirrels and other wildlife.