5 ways that squirrels can kill you, that you wouldn’t believe

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If you knew just how dangerous the cutest of wild animals could be, we’re sure that you wouldn’t want to get anywhere near close to them. You definitely wouldn’t want to get close enough to make actual, physical contact with them, and that’s including the cute and bushy-tailed squirrel.

It’s a wild animal that we forgive a lot. No different to any other rodent or scavenger, squirrels are just as bad as rats, mice, and other types of nuisance wildlife, such as skunks, opossums, and raccoons. Despite that, we give squirrels much more of a break than we give other critters ... But why?

5 - Death by Respiratory Problems

Everybody knows that damp conditions causes mould to grow, and that mould causes respiratory systems that can put you in the hospital with potentially deadly respiratory systems, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Does everybody know that squirrel urine can cause the exact kind of damp conditions that we’re talking about here, though, we wonder? And that squirrel urine in the attic could be the most deadly scenario, because no one ever goes up in the attic and, therefore, the problem can go unresolved for a very long time.

Although urine and mould is a very big concern when you have wild animal interlopers, squirrels also come with a string of other diseases attached to them and any biological material they leave behind. Salmonellosis, tularemia, leptospirosis, Lyme disease ... We could continue, but we think we have proved the point.

4 - Death by Fire

We’ll set the scene; a squirrel heads up into your attic, realizes it’s a beautiful little spot that would make for the perfect nesting site, and starts to build a nest. That female, mother squirrel will crap twigs and branches up there, alongside leaves and other garden debris it can find, and it’ll also use stuff that it finds up in the attic to make life more comfortable — chewed papers and photographs, old clothes and other soft furnishings, attic insulation, chewed wood, and a whole load more.

If the squirrel chews and moves attic insulation, and then it chews and moves other things, such as electrical cables or light wires, you have a potentially dangerous, flammable situation on your hands. In fact, squirrels aren’t the only animal that you’ll need to worry about as far as fire hazards in the attic are concerned — rats, mice, opossums, skunks, raccoons, and other nuisance wildlife are all known for their chewing action.

It takes just one exposed wire to come in contact with flammable material, such as attic insulation, for a fire to start. If the entire family is asleep when that fire starts, the outcome could be potentially deadly.

Again, it’s a pretty rare situation, but fires can and HAVE been caused by rodents and other nuisance wild animals in both commercial and residential buildings.

3 - Death by Black Death

Okay, so we’re being a *tad* melodramatic here, but it COULD happen. Here’s how ...

Female squirrel breaks into an attic, starts to build a nest. Female squirrel then gives birth in that nest. Human property owner sets a kill trap to get rid of the female squirrel, leaving the kits in the nest unattended. Those kits then die of starvation or dehydration because their mother is no longer around to care for them. The baby squirrel carcasses start to decompose, attracting flies, maggots, rats and mice, alongside other scavengers who are lured in by not just the smell, but also pheromones and other animal chit-chat leading the way. The rats and mice bring in fleas, and one of those fleas just so happens to be carrying a special kind of bacteria, called Yersina pestis — the bubonic plague-causing bacteria. Bubonic plague is the Black Death, and the disease is still very much around, although usually in more underdeveloped countries. That diseased flea jumps onto your cat or dog, giving them the disease, and it won’t be long before all of you have it — your entire household.

It’s an out-there theory we must admit, but it can happen. Rats, mice and squirrels are all known to be carriers of the fleas that can carry bubonic plague-causing bacteria.

2 - Death by Organ Failure

Have you ever heard of Weil’s disease? No? It’s okay; not many people have. Some people might have heard of Leptospirosis, however, and that’s the same thing. Well, almost. You start off with Leptospirosis, and ten that develops into Weil’s disease, which is when you’ll probably experience organ failure, which can, obviously, be deadly.

The disease itself is actually caused by teeny-tiny bacteria, called Leptospira. Dogs, are, cattle and pigs are the usual culprits as far as domesticated animals are concerned, but wild animals are well-known for spreading this not-so-pleasant condition around.

Most people won’t suffer with organ failure, or anything close to that, in fact. It tends to affect those who are already suffering with medical conditions the most, alongside the elderly and very young patients. What makes this disease so difficult to diagnose — and, therefore, treat — is that the early symptoms are so generic, they could easily be a sign or symptom of a hundred and one other diseases, none of which have anything to do with squirrels. If you have absolutely no idea that squirrels even live in your property, you won’t know that you have been in contact with squirrel urine and feces. Waste material is actually one of the most common ways for this to spread around.

The good news is, even though this disease can be a killer, a course of antibiotics prescribed at an early point will usually do the trick.

1 - Death by Rabies

Can squirrels have rabies?


Do all squirrels have rabies?


It is actually pretty rare for you to come across a squirrel that has been infected with the rabies virus, but it has happened and it is possible for all warm-blooded small mammals — just like squirrels — to both carry and transmit the rabies infection.

It takes just one bite for the virus to be passed on, and squirrels have the ability to pass this on to any other warm-blooded mammal it comes across, including domesticated animals — cats and dogs — to people and other wildlife. Saliva and other moist, biological material is the culprit. If a squirrel were to bite you and break the skin, the virus would make its way from the squirrel into your bloodstream. You will then be infected with the rabies virus. If a squirrel licks its claws and then scratches you, breaking the skin, the virus could still find its way from the saliva on the claws into your bloodstream.

Rare, yes; but still a very big concern.

Who’d have known that squirrels could be quite so deadly? It certainly makes you think twice about letting that furry-tailed friend steal the nuts from your bird feeder, doesn’t it?

Go back to the Squirrel Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Squirrels guide.

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