Squirrels are a nuisance pest, and despite their sometimes cute appearance, they can actually cause health concerns. Below, we’ll answer six common questions regarding squirrels including how they transmit diseases, how to identify if you have an issue, and how to manage an infestation if you have one. After all, squirrels are a member of the rodent family – and nobody wants a rodent inside their home or near their loved ones.
- Do Squirrels Carry Diseases?
Yes, squirrel bites, droppings, and parasites on squirrels could cause diseases in humans. It could be an issue to you and your family since squirrels are common across the Mid-Atlantic region. Generally, these animals keep to themselves, preferring to forage in grassy yards or high up in trees. However, on occasion, these rodents may come into contact with humans whether it’s outside or unfortunately in your attic.
2. How Do Squirrels Transmit Disease?
If a squirrel enters your home or business to build a nest, they might bring harmful parasites with them. These include ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, as well as fleas, which can be difficult to get rid of. Accumulated squirrel feces and urine can also contain salmonellosis. Accidental exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and chills. Tularemia and leptospirosis can also be associated with squirrels. Don’t panic too quickly – Tularemia and leptospirosis are a few of the less common squirrel diseases. Since squirrels pass the pathogens through a bite, it’s unlikely that most people run the risk of infection. These pests tend to run and stay away from humans, so the chances of them spreading these illnesses is small.
It’s also important to note that, while all mammals can carry rabies, small animals such as squirrels rarely survive long enough to spread the virus. However, if you find a sick or dead squirrel, you should not approach or touch it and if you have them in your attic, you want them out of there before their waste dries out and turns airborne which could contaminate your air.
3. What Does Squirrel Poop Look Like?
Squirrel droppings closely resemble rat feces. Both pests’ poop is dark brown and smooth, but squirrels leave larger, barrel-shaped pellets behind while rats produce small, oblong-shaped droppings with tapered ends. Squirrel feces often appear under trees, around bird feeders, and inside crawl spaces in homes or businesses.
4. Can I Find Squirrel Droppings Indoors?
You are far more likely to hear or see these rodents long before you discover squirrel droppings. Thumps, scampering noises, and squealing or chittering sounds coming from above are bad signs. When the pests nest in an attic or crawl space, they rip up insulation, chew on wood supports, and gnaw on wiring, which is a fire hazard. Airborne waste particles and dander from the rodents’ fur can also cause serious issues for those with allergies or asthma. In addition, the pests often bring fleas and ticks indoors, which affect both people and pets. Squirrel droppings and nests can also attract flies and other insects.
5. How Do I Deal with a Squirrel Infestation?
Squirrels enter homes through damaged fascia boards, broken vents, and torn screens. Tree limbs touching home exteriors or roofs give the rodents easy access, too. To help identify squirrel droppings or an infestation in your home or business, call Western Pest Services and speak with a professional about installing professional exclusions. Serving Philadelphia, New York City, Lehigh Valley, Long Island, and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region.
6. How Can I Avoid Squirrel Diseases?
Squirrels keep their distance from people for the most part. However, if cornered or threatened, these animals – like all others – will defend themselves. To be safe, it’s always best to leave the installation of exclusions or removal of the rodents to the professionals. If you have a problem, call Western Pest Services and consult with our expert staff today.