When most people hear “rabies,” they imagine how snarling animals foam dramatically on the lips. Although this is definitely a simplification and not always true, it is not completely false either. Rabies is a deadly and frightening disease that can affect all warm-blooded animals, including squirrels. Knowledge of rabies symptoms is important, especially when interacting with animals. Can squirrels carry rabies?
What is rabies?
Rabies (Lyssavirus) is an infectious disease that affects the central nervous system in mammals. It is transmitted through saliva a few days before death, when the animal “sheds” the virus. Rabies is not transmitted through the blood, urine or feces of an infected animal, nor does it spread through the open environment. Because it affects the nervous system, most rabid animals behave abnormally.
First of all, it should be noted that aggressive squirrels are not common, but it is possible that you may meet a caring mother when she has her children nearby. You know that these squirrels are particularly upset when you take a moment to stare down instead of running between the trees. That is why it is difficult to get bitten by a squirrel because of how close you need to get to a rough squirrel to get bitten. Squirrels are one of the fastest and most agile creatures in the desert. They can get away from you faster than you can imagine, and you must be very close to them before they bite you. There are reports of squirrel hunters that were bitten while collecting squirrels that they shot, but this is very rare. You can sit near the place where the squirrel goes, and you can accidentally touch the squirrel while resting. The squirrel can bite you, but it escapes more often.
Which species has rabies?
Every warm-blooded mammal can carry or infect rabies, but the main carriers in North America are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. Due to the increase in vaccinations for wild animals, it currently accounts for over 90 percent of all rabies cases reported.
Rabies is more common in different species in different places, but certainly not limited to these trends:
- Raccoons suffer most from this disease in the eastern United States
- Skunks are the dominant victims of rabies in the northern and south-central states, although rabies also occurs in the East.
- Bats suffering from rabies are not limited to any specific area, but are widely distributed.
- Foxes in western Alaska, parts of Arizona and Texas, and in the eastern United States are the victims more often than foxes in other areas.
- Coyotes were furiously found in southern Texas in the past, but rarely in recent years.
- Rodents (squirrels, squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs), rabbits and hares rarely get rabies and are not known to cause rabies in humans in the United States. Squirrels can suffer from the deadly roundworm brain parasite that causes rabies-like symptoms.
- The opossums are extremely resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling and swaying are part of the opossum’s routine. It aims to scare off potential predators, but it looks like rabies, and therefore people can be convinced that they see furious opossums when they are gone.
In general, you are completely safe from squirrel bites, but do not avoid medical care after a bite. Although the squirrel is almost incapable of wearing rabies, it is possible, so make sure you check yourself. Your adventures will take you to beautiful forests and trails, where you can meet furry friends, do not be afraid of these little guys, enjoy their presence and live the moment.