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Home » Blog » What Diseases Do Squirrels Carry?

What Diseases Do Squirrels Carry?

What Diseases Do Squirrels Carry?

Today we will delve into the common diseases that squirrels can carry and their potential impact on human and pet health. Understanding these and other diseases is crucial for maintaining a safe coexistence with these furry creatures.

It's important to be aware of common symptoms of the squirrel diseases that squirrels can transmit due to their close proximity to humans and pets. While the likelihood of transmission is low, the ability to identify sick squirrel behavior and know common squirrel disease symptoms empowers individuals to take necessary precautions for a healthier environment.

In this article, we will try to answer the most frequent questions that our customers have asked us, for example, do squirrels carry rabies? Or is it true that squirrel with rabies exist? Continue reading to find out more about squirrels!

squirrel on tree
Despite squirrels being considered a wildlife animal, they normally avoid contact with humans.

Identifying a Squirrel

Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents characterized by their bushy tails, sharp claws, and propensity for climbing trees. They are known for their acrobatic abilities and are commonly found in urban, suburban, and forested environments.

Typical Interaction of Squirrels with Humans and Pets

In our experience as squirrel removal experts, these animals often coexist with people's environments. They might come into contact with humans when seeking food, nesting materials, or shelter. Interactions with pets can occur during outdoor activities. While many interactions are harmless, it's important to be cautious due to the potential for disease transmission.

Common Diseases Carried by Squirrels

Alright, squirrel sleuths, time to talk about some of the not-so-friendly stuff these critters can carry. Do squirrels carry diseases? Transmission of diseases from squirrels is rare, but while the chances are low, it's still smart to be in the know!

Lyme Disease

Ever heard of Lyme disease? It's like a sneaky ninja that ticks pass around. When squirrels have ticks hitching a ride on them, those ticks can then latch onto humans or pets. Sneaky, right? In squirrels, Lyme disease might not show obvious symptoms, as they are reservoir hosts for infectious disease. However, infected squirrels could experience subtle changes in behavior and energy levels.


This one's a bacterial troublemaker. If squirrels are playing host to tularemia, humans could catch it from handling infected animals or even inhaling contaminated dust. It's like a bacteria party that you definitely don't want an invitation to. Squirrels with tularemia might display signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever.


Now, this is one bacteria that loves to hang out in water. If squirrels do a cannonball into a pond, they might leave behind some leptospirosis. If you or your pets come in contact with squirrels past that contaminated water, you might find yourself with flu-like symptoms. In squirrels, leptospirosis could lead to fever, muscle tremors, and dehydration.

Rabies (the Unlikely Party Crasher)

Okay, listen up: a squirrel with rabies is incredibly rare. So when we are asked “Do squirrels carry rabies?” or “Can you get rabies from a squirrel?”, the answer has to be “Yes, it is possible.” But in reality, in our experience, it is very rare. Rabies is much more common in raccoons, but squirrels could theoretically host the virus. If you are wondering how to tell if a squirrel has rabies, look for common symptoms of rabies, including abnormally aggressive behavior, disoriented motions, or paralysis.

Parasites: Ticks, Fleas, and Mites

Just like the unwelcome guests in a bad sitcom, these parasites love to crash the grey squirrels' party. Squirrels can carry ticks, fleas, and mites that might decide to hang out on your pets or even you. But don't fret! Regular grooming and tick-checks can help you dodge these freeloaders. In squirrels, infestations of these parasites could lead to excessive scratching, fur loss, and visible irritation.

Remember, pals, the goal isn't to squirrel-shame. These guys are just doing their squirrel thing. It's more about knowing the potential risks, so you can be one step ahead in the game of critter coexistence. Stay tuned for tips on how to stay safe while still enjoying your furry little neighbors!

squirrel up close
Squirrels can carry ticks, fleas, and mites

Interactions with Squirrels:

When we have provided squirrel removal services, we have found that squirrels are generally timid and non-aggressive creatures, but there can be situations where interactions with humans might lead to uncommon incidents. Understanding these scenarios and knowing how to respond is crucial for maintaining safety and coexistence.

The most common way of interaction between humans and squirrels is when this critter enters our houses. Typically do it through a window, a hole in the attic, or some untreated space in your wall. As we said before, they normally avoid human contact, but, as with any animal, squirrels leave dropping behind, creating an indirect interaction because you will not be in touch with them, but their feces and urine can affect your health and house. 

Squirrel Attacks on Humans: Rare Incidents and Causes

Do squirrels attack humans??? Not usually… While squirrel attacks on humans are rare, they can definitely still occur in specific circumstances. Understanding the causes behind these incidents can help prevent them and ensure a better understanding of red squirrels behavior. Potential causes include:

  • Protecting Their Territory: Squirrels might feel threatened if they perceive humans as invading their territory, especially during nesting seasons.
  • Protecting Their Young: Mother squirrels can become defensive if they feel their babies are in danger.
  • Provocation: Squirrels might attack if they are cornered, startled, or provoked by sudden movements.

It's important to remember that these incidents are unusual, and squirrels generally prefer to flee rather than engage in aggressive behavior, in other words, it's very unlikely that you find a dangerous squirrel in your yard. Avoiding behaviors that might provoke squirrels and respecting squirrel control of their space can significantly reduce the likelihood of attacks.

Prevention and Safety Measures

  1. Keeping a Safe Distance: Squirrels might seem cute and harmless, but maintaining a safe distance is essential. Avoid direct contact with squirrels, their nests, and their droppings. This reduces the chances of disease transmission.
  2. Avoiding Feeding and Handling: While it might be tempting to offer squirrels food or try to handle them, it's best to resist these urges. Feeding squirrels can attract them to your vicinity and increase the risk of disease transmission. Handling them can also lead to bites or scratches on your skin, potentially exposing you to disease.

Bitten by a Squirrel: Handling and Safety Tips

If you or someone else is bitten by a squirrel, following proper treatment and safety protocols is essential to prevent infection and other health risks, like headache, vomits, diarrhea, etc.. As experts in squirrel removal, Critter Stop has prepared a what-to-do list for this cases:

  • Wash the Wound: Clean the wound with soap and water thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Apply Antiseptic: Apply an antiseptic ointment to the wound to further prevent infection.
  • Seek Medical Attention: While squirrel bites are not usually serious, it's still recommended to seek medical attention. A doctor can evaluate the wound, administer tetanus shots if necessary, and prescribe antibiotics if infection is a concern.
  • Monitor for Infection: Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or increasing pain.

Scratched by a Squirrel: What to Do Next

Similar to squirrel bites, squirrel scratches can also carry a risk of bacterial infection too. If you've been scratched by a squirrel, here's what you should do:

  • Clean the Area: Wash the scratched area with soap and water to prevent infection.
  • Apply Antiseptic: Apply an antiseptic ointment to the scratch to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Seek Medical Attention: While the risk of infection is lower with scratches compared to bites, it's still a good idea to consult a doctor, especially if the scratch is deep or if you notice signs of infection.

Diseases in Squirrel Feces and Urine

Squirrel feces and urine can spread several zoonotic pathogens harmful to humans. Leptospirosis is one such bacterial infection that may be present, potentially causing flu-like symptoms or more severe effects. Salmonellosis, resulting from the bacteria Salmonella, can also be transmitted through contact with squirrel droppings, leading to gastrointestinal illness. Additionally, parasites like raccoon roundworms, which squirrels may carry, pose a risk of neurological damage if ingested. It's important to exercise caution and maintain proper hygiene when dealing with or near squirrel waste to prevent these diseases.

tarquin grey squirrel
If you got scratched or bitten by a squirrel, get medical attention immediately.

Importance of Regular Pet Vaccinations

  1. Vaccination Against Potential Diseases: Regularly vaccinating your pets, including dogs and cats, is crucial. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your pets receive appropriate vaccinations, including those that protect against diseases like leptospirosis.
  2. Protecting Pets from Exposure: While it's natural for pets to be curious about squirrels, it's important to supervise their interactions. Prevent them from coming into direct contact with squirrels, their droppings, or any potentially contaminated areas.

Safe Handling of Found Injured or Baby Squirrels

  1. Contacting Wildlife Professionals: If you encounter injured or orphaned squirrels, your first step should be to contact local wildlife professionals or rehabilitators. They are trained to handle such situations and can provide appropriate care. Keep in mind that if the squirrel feels in danger, could start biting everything that gets closer, including help. 
  2. Minimizing Risk During Rescue Efforts: If you decide to assist injured or baby squirrels before professionals arrive, take precautions to minimize disease transmission. Wear gloves and use a towel or cloth to handle the squirrels. Place them in a well-ventilated container with air holes, and keep the container away from your face and body.

Remember, the goal is to ensure both human and animal safety while coexisting with squirrels. By following these prevention and safety measures, you can enjoy the presence of these creatures without compromising your health or the health of wild animals or your pets.

grey squirrel
Avoiding direct contact with squirrels could save us a lot of health problems.


In this exploration of squirrel diseases, we've learned about the potential risks that these adorable critters can pose to human and pet health. We discussed key diseases, including Lyme disease, tularemia, leptospirosis, and the unlikely but possible risk of squirrel-related rabies. Additionally, we addressed the presence of parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites that squirrels can harbor.

Reiteration of the Importance of Awareness and Prevention

It's crucial to approach interactions with squirrels and other wildlife responsibly. Being aware of the various diseases humans and squirrels can carry empowers us to take necessary precautions. By avoiding close contact, refraining from feeding and handling, and ensuring pets are properly vaccinated, we can greatly reduce the likelihood of disease transmission.

Promoting a Healthy Coexistence with Wildlife

Squirrels play an important role in ecosystems and provide enjoyment to many. Responsible coexistence involves respecting their natural behaviors while minimizing potential risks. By maintaining a safe distance and following guidelines for handling injured or baby squirrels, we can contribute to a harmonious relationship with these fascinating creatures.

Remember, our furry neighbors are just living their wild animal and squirrel lives, and the goal is not to shame them but to prioritize the safety of all involved. With knowledge, awareness, and responsible actions, we can create a world where humans, pets, and wildlife thrive side by side. If you need some professional guidance with anything related to squirrels, at Critter Stop we will be waiting for your call at (214) 234-2616.

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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