Squirrels are inherently very calm but that does not mean they cannot bite. And squirrel bite is kind of a big deal because according to research, their bite could be harmful to both humans and pets.
When bitten by a squirrel, the first thing to be done is to wash the wound, so it is clean. Squirrels can carry infectious bacteria that can cause rabies, tularemia, and typhus.
Want to know more about it?
Squirrel Bite: I Got Bitten By A Squirrel. What Should I Do?
According to research, squirrels don’t bite humans or even pets until they feel threatened and humans get too close to them. Also, in the same study, it was found that most squirrel bites were on the hands. So, let’s find out what exactly you need to do if bitten by a squirrel.
- Put the wound under clean water.
- Clean it with mild soap
- Apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol for disinfection
- Put a band-aid on the wound
- Go to the hospital immediately
A lot of people have this question: is squirrel bite poisonous? And the answer is yes; it could be poisonous to humans or pets if the squirrel is the carrier of a disease.
Does Squirrel Bite Cause Rabies and Tetanus?
Contacting rabies after being bitten by a squirrel is very rare, but that does not mean it cannot happen because, according to a study by P. Leela Kumari in 2013, a boy was bitten by a squirrel, and he immediately was tested positive for rabies.
Moreover, as the squirrel bite breaks your skin, it poses a great risk of transmitting Tetanus which is also a life-threatening disease and infectious bacteria is present around us.
Squirrel Bite Diseases
The most common diseases that you can get by a squirrel bite are:
Typhus is caused by bacteria that result in high fever in humans. Though it is a rare disease, you can still get it from a squirrel bite or even from coming in contact with their feces.
Lyme diseases are quite common in squirrels, so if an infected squirrel bit a healthy person, it could transmit the Lyme disease through the bite. Lyme disease can be very painful and, at times, dangerous as well. Moreover, it is caused by a tick, and usually, squirrels are a host for ticks, according to the research of Daniel J Salkeld and Rober S. Jane in 2010.
You can contact Encephalitis with a squirrel bite very easily as squirrels are commonly carriers of this disease. It is more often caused by coming in contact with an exotic squirrel, according to the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2018.
This disease can cause the brain to swell, resulting in seizures, migraine, and poor mental conditions.
Parasites can be transmitted if you live in between squirrels. Roundworm parasite is commonly found in raccoons but often attacks squirrels, which can also be transmitted to humans.
Squirrel Bite Infection and Symptoms
Squirrel bites can cause different infections like Necrotizing Fasciitis. You can determine whether these infections are severe or mild by looking at the symptoms that are:
- Purple mark
How Long Does It Take To Show Signs Of Rabies In Humans?
The signs of rabies sometimes take a few days to show up, but at times, they even take years until you realize you have rabies. You will feel an itching and tingling sensation in the area where the squirrel bit you right after the incident. The symptoms could be migraines, fever, loss of appetite, and laziness.
George Fleming writes in his book that people who have rabies find it hard to swallow anything, and they might even be afraid of water which is why rabies is also called hydrophobia.
Squirrel Bite Antibiotics and Injection
Doctors do not always recommend using antibiotics for squirrel bites, but if the condition is serious, then prophylactic antibiotics are often given to the patient.
The injection you should get after the bite is tetanus prophylaxis because it reduces the risk of potential infections.
What to Do If A Squirrel Bites Your Pet?
It is common for squirrels to bite pets when they feel threatened so, if a squirrel bites your pet, you need to take certain safety measures to make sure he stays safe.
- First of all, clean the wound with a cloth and wash it properly with mild soap to keep the germs away.
- Apply rubbing alcohol on the wound to reduce the chances of infection
- If the wound is bleeding, try to stop the blood
- Put a band-aid or plaster over the wounded area to not be affected by bacteria.
- Take your pet to the vet immediately.
Even if you think that your pet is completely fine after the squirrel bite, make sure to visit the vet because he might have contracted a disease that is not showing symptoms yet.
Squirrel Bite on Dog
Dogs are more likely to get bitten by squirrels, and they can also contract different diseases, even rabies, from squirrels, so make sure to rush them to the hospital if they get bitten by a squirrel.
What to Do if You Get Scratched by a Squirrel?
If a squirrel scratches you, there is no need to panic, and just follow the below-given instructions:
- Place the infected area under running water
- Wash with a mild soap
- Clean the wound with rubbing alcohol
- Look for swelling, excessive redness, and pain
- If the wound is not healing and is painful, visit a doctor
- Otherwise, put a band-aid on it
Adult Squirrel Bite vs. Baby Squirrel Bite Force
An adult squirrel has a bite force of 7000 psi, and humans only have 500 psi in comparison with them. The exact bite force of baby squirrels is unknown, but it certainly is a lot greater than that of humans.
Both baby and adult squirrel bites will leave a mark and will be painful, too, but there would just be differences in intensity.
Squirrel Bite Marks
Do Squirrels Bite Each Other?
Yes, squirrels do bite each other, and you might have seen them chasing each other as well. Male squirrels are more aggressive, and they not only bite but sometimes even kill the younger squirrels, as found in a study by The Scientific Naturalist in 2018.
Does A Squirrel Bite Hurt?
Yes, the teeth of squirrels are very strong and piercing, and their bite can hurt a lot. Their bite force is also a reason why it is harder to make them let go of your hand or fingers. You might feel excessive pain after a squirrel bite because they bite hard.
Which Bite Is More Likely To Cause Infection?
People often assume that dog or mouse bites will most likely cause infections. But, as a matter of fact, cat bites are found responsible for causing most infections.
References & Further Readings:
- ResearchGate.Net – Once Bitten, Twice Shy
- Link.Springer.Com – A Case of Rabies after Squirrel Bite
- Wiley.Com – Community Ecology And Disease Risk
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Occupation-Associated Fatal Limbic Encephalitis Caused by Variegated Squirrel Bornavirus 1, Germany, 2013
- Rabies and Hydrophobia: Their History, Nature, Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
- Sexually Selected Infanticide by Male Red Squirrels in Advance of a Mast Year
SmallPetsX.Com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim to help small pet owners understand their pets a little better so that they can provide their pets with the life they deserve. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.