Squirrels belong to the family of rats and are wild animals. Squirrels, since 1981, have been declared as vermin. So, when people spot squirrels, they like to feed them without considering the consequences. But are squirrels dangerous or just a nuisance?
Squirrels can be dangerous but not necessarily to humans directly but to their properties.
As squirrels are rodents, they have long and sharp teeth that help them to gnaw. Squirrels gnaw through walls and into homes. Due to a squirrel infestation, humans face a lot of property damage.
In addition, squirrels also carry diseases that can be harmful to humans. If a squirrel bites you or the disease gets transferred somehow, you must contact a doctor immediately.
Will Squirrels Attack Humans?
A squirrel seems like a friendly animal, but it is still important to remember that they are wild.
Although it is rare for a squirrel to attack humans, there have still been some cases reported. Squirrels can attack humans and other animals if they become agitated or feel threatened.
An aggressive squirrel can also bite or scratch. Since squirrel attacks are rare and not fatal, many people do not care to report them, which is why there is a high chance most attacks go unreported.
By nature, squirrels are calm and docile. Therefore, when humans approach squirrels, they will usually run away. However, if the squirrel feels that it is being cornered and threatened, it may choose to be aggressive to get out of the situation.
Squirrels are also protective of their young. Squirrels will attack if their babies are in danger. A sick squirrel will also display hostile behaviour towards humans.
Are Squirrels a Threat ?
While squirrels may not seem like much of a threat, they can cause serious damage to infrastructure. Squirrels have strong and long teeth, which enables them to gnaw at things. Squirrels cause a lot of damage to electrical wires and telephone lines.
When it is cold, squirrels are looking for a warm place to sleep during the winter season. Squirrels can find their way inside homes by gnawing at walls or guttering. That rustling in the loft you can hear could well be squirrels nesting over winter.
You can prevent any squirrels from invading your house by sealing all the entry points in your home. You must be careful about any small opening in windows and doors, as squirrels are small and can find their way through.
Also, ensure that you close all points of entry to your attic. The most commonplace for squirrels are attics, where they stay during the cold or to give birth.
You can also prevent squirrel infestation by sealing all vents and chimney openings. In addition, you must keep all food items in airtight jars to prevent any squirrel from entering and touching food. Also, since squirrels like to search for food, you must empty the garbage as early as possible.
Squirrels love climbing trees and are usually found on them. You can cut the trees in your area until they are at least 6 feet below your roof.
Is It Safe to Touch a Squirrel?
We spot squirrels all the time, jumping from tree to tree. These small mammals may even enter our gardens and eat from them. After looking at squirrels continuously, you may wish to touch and hold them. However, while squirrels look adorable, it is not a great idea to touch them.
Squirrels have sharp claws that can harm you if you touch them. Even if you try avoiding the claws, the squirrel can accidentally scratch you.
You need to also remember that squirrels are wild animals and carry diseases like typhus, which can transfer to you. Squirrels also carry external parasites like fleas and ticks.
If you attempt to grab a squirrel, it will become agitated and nervous as it is not used to the human touch. No matter how much you feed squirrels, it is a wild animal and will behave accordingly at the end of the day.
Therefore, it is best to only observe and feed squirrels at a distance.
Can You Die from a Squirrel Bite?
While it is rare for squirrels to bite, it can still happen. It is best if you are prepared in case you experience such a situation.
Squirrels, being wild animals, interact with a lot of other animals. Squirrels are at risk of being exposed to many diseases. Some of the diseases that squirrels carry are Lyme disease, salmonella, tularemia, and rabies. A squirrel bite will not kill you, but it can make you seriously ill if you contract one of these diseases.
Rabies is the most dangerous disease that a squirrel can pass to you. However, it is rare for humans to contract rabies from squirrels. Nevertheless, if a squirrel has bitten you, you must see a doctor immediately.
People do not think that squirrels can be dangerous because of their cute appearance. However, there have been instances when squirrels have displayed aggressive behaviour.
Squirrels are also a danger to infrastructure and property. Squirrels can attack humans and other animals, although it is rare of them to do so. If a squirrel feels like it is being cornered, it may resort to attacking.
Squirrels also attack to protect their babies or if they feel sick. Therefore, you must not touch a squirrel as it can bite or scratch you. However, if a squirrel bites you, you will not die.
However, squirrels are carriers of many diseases, including rabies. Hence, it is best to visit a doctor as soon as you can.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden