What Causes a Squirrel to Bite – What to Do if Bitten?

what to do if bitten by a squirrel

Squirrels are found almost everywhere, right from urban to rural areas across every nation.

No matter where you reside, you are bound to find squirrels around you.

These bushy-tailed rodents are usually peaceful but in rare condition may bite humans.

Squirrels are not aggressive by nature but will generally bite humans when they are threatened or tried to catch.

In case you get bitten by a squirrel, the very first step should be to wash the wound properly with water and soap at home.

Though in rare cases, you may see squirrels carrying illnesses. Hence, you should also pay a visit to your doctor or an emergency room.

Although the bit of squirrels isn’t very dangerous, in order to avoid all the above things, you should prevent getting bitten by a squirrel in the first place.

I will discuss more about how to prevent a bite later in the article.

And, what to do in case you are bitten by one and what are the diseases which squirrels are likely to carry.

Let us first check…

What Causes a Squirrel to Bite?

Squirrels are harmless creatures and don’t hate humans. Their bite is very rare.

But they can get easily scared and hence they don’t come too close to humans.

At the same time, squirrels are known for their sharp teeth and sturdy jaws which they use to crack nuts and acorns.

Squirrels use their teeth to bite only if humans interact recklessly with them.

The two major behaviors to prevent are:

  1. Feeding squirrels
  2. Getting close to baby squirrels

Feeding squirrels

One of the major reasons why squirrels bite people is because they try to feed them.

While feeding, people may often get too close to the squirrels which may make them uncomfortable.

Often if the squirrel is eating its morsel, it may bite your skin or fingertip unknowingly.

Plus, they are slightly short-sighted and may mistake your finger for food. Yes, they can even bite your finger off if you are not careful.

Also, if you get too close to the squirrel while feeding, it may get spooked and lash out.

So, all in all, feeding a squirrel with your hands is a risky business. It is also not good for animals as they may harm you or someone else.

Animals that get trained to get food from the hands of people may end up getting more aggressive.

Behavior towards baby squirrels

Like other animals, squirrels can get aggressive if they feel that their young ones are in any kind of danger.

In case you come across a cute baby squirrel, don’t try to touch them or pick them up.

Baby squirrels are said to be quite brave and they may approach humans and climb their legs.

Under such a situation, the mother squirrel may get aggressive and bite you.

So, when baby squirrels are around you, be cautious. You don’t have to be scared of them, but being cautious is recommended.

Make sure you also treat the squirrels in your neighborhood well, especially if you find one to be pregnant.

What to Do if You are Bitten by a Squirrel?

Squirrel’s bite can feel like painful bites that can even draw blood from your fingers, hands, or other body parts where they have bitten.

Fortunately the bite isn’t a serious issue – its not poisonous and it will not kill you.

Unless the squirrel that have bitten you is sick, you need not worry about getting the infection.

So, if you are bitten, the very first thing to do is be calm.

Once you feel OK, make sure you find yourself a nearby restful place to sit and treat the wound.

These are the guidelines you should follow next:

Step 1 – Wash

Mix some mild liquid soap into lukewarm water and clean the wound nicely.

Make sure you wash the wound properly so that there are no chances of infection left behind due to the saliva or blood.

Step 2 – Disinfect

Now disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.

You should be cautious while using it as there are health professionals who suggest that these chemicals may be tough on your skin and slow down the healing time.

However, if you have been bitten by a squirrel, you will be safer if you get the wound fully disinfected.

Step 3 – Cover the wound

Now you should just cover the wound. If the wound is small, then a band-aid is recommended.

If the wound is serious, you should use a gauze or towel to wrap it.

Covered wounds heal quicker and you have less chances of getting infected.

So, make sure you cover the bite till it gets fully healed.

Step 4 – Visit the hospital

There are slight chances of catching a disease from a hard squirrel bite. So, you may also like to visit the hospital.

However, it is tough to say that you have got any disease or not till it has fully grown.

If you choose not to go to a doctor after getting bitten by a squirrel, make sure you go through the warning signs of a squirrel bite.

If you notice any of the symptoms (like itchiness, redness, pain, soreness, inflammation, or swelling), then immediately seek medical help.

Flu, fever, or chills after few days, can also be the signs of infection, so make sure you seek the help of a doctor instantly without any further delay.

DO YOU KNOW: What does it mean if squirrel bites you in dream?
According to many astrologers, dream of a squirrel biting you is an indication of someone close deceiving you in life. It may also mean that you will be having some form of disagreements with your friends on the main issue.

Few Other Meanings When You Dream About Squirrels

Killing a squirrelDenotes your unfriendly nature
Dead squirrelInfluences you to move forward with your present plans
Scared squirrelYour finances being at risk
Baby squirrelPromises luxury, brotherhood, and amorousness
Flying squirrelYour desire for freedom
Giant squirrelThe extra emphasis you are putting on a certain aspect of your persona
Squirrel eatinghappiness in family life
Talking squirrelYour ability to do the best
Black squirrelThere is hard work for you ahead
You chasing squirrelYour inclination to acquire wealth
Feeding a squirrelThe truth of gaining comfort only through hard work, diligence, and prudence
Source: theastrologyweb.com

What Diseases Can You Get from Them?

Squirrels usually don’t transmit diseases, but in rare cases, you may get some diseases transmitted if the animal is severely infected.

Some squirrels may carry diseases like Rabies which may not show any signs till they are fully set in.

This can also be tough to treat.

Squirrels may also carry the following diseases:

  • Typhus
  • Tularemia
  • Encephalitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Roundworm brain parasite

So, it’s important that you treat their bite just like other wounds by washing and bandaging as soon as possible.

Some squirrels can get aggressive and can bite severely without being provoked due to the disease or pain they are suffering from.

If this has happened to you, ensure to mention the situation to the doctor at the time of treating squirrel bite.

What to Do if Squirrel Bites

What to Do if a Squirrel at Home Bites Your Pet?

Many times, the pets in your home chase and fight with squirrels for fun when they see them in the yard or attic.

This is when your dog or a cat can get bitten by aggressive squirrels.

If a squirrel has bitten your pet, then it may be tough to decide it was provoked or unprovoked.

Hence, first thing to do here is check if your pet is vaccinated properly.

Secondly, ensure that you wash the wound marks of the pet with soap and water and then disinfect it.

If you are tensed about the risks involved with a squirrel bite, then just carry your pet to a vet and ask them to be checked thoroughly.


Types of Squirrel Repellents You Can Use to Avoid the Bite

Squirrels can be extremely dangerous for your garden in spring.

They can come inside and can bite you or your pets if they get violent.

To keep the hostile squirrels away what you can do is try some repellents that can work to repel the squirrel away.

Remember, scaring the squirrels using a scarecrow or dummies generally does not work as they are very smart to judge these kinds of tricks.

IMO, its best to use:

1- Ultrasonic devices

Squirrels are afraid of ultrasound waves.

While the ears of humans cannot hear the sounds emitted through these devices, rodents can easily hear them.

Most of the time, they cannot bear these sounds and will avoid the places where these devices are installed.

So, to avoid them from coming and biting you can install ultrasonic pest repeller devices at places such as garages, attic, gardens, etc where they are mostly seen.

2- Specialized sprays to repel squirrels

Repellent sprays that can repel squirrels away are often used in garages where these critters are found to chew and ruin your car’s upholstery along with other parts and accessories like tubes, gadgets, or wires.  

These vehicle sprays will generally contain natural ingredients like rosemary or peppermint essential oils that squirrels cannot tolerate the smell of.

You can also use these liquid sprays and repellents with pungent odor in your garden to protect your plants, trees, vegetables, and flower bulbs from squirrels.  

3- Devices with motion sensors and LED flashlights

Squirrels are among the noisiest types of rodents that make high-pitch voices for communicating with one another.

Unlike, rats that are more active at night, you will hear their noises during the day as they are most active during this time.

On the contrary, they can be repelled using larger devices (like Hoont Motion Activated) that come with motion sensors and LED flashlights.

As soon as the rodents approach the location where these devices are installed, the LED flashlights or a stream of water turn on which scare the squirrels.

Since these devices work on batteries or solar panels these can be used in your gardens, backyard, or any other location.

Other Related Questions:

Do all squirrels bite?

There are over 200 species of squirrels found all over the world.

Ground squirrels, flying squirrels, gray squirrels, fox squirrels, and tree squirrels (also called pine squirrels) are the most common names that are known to be a trouble for most homeowners.

However, regardless of the type of squirrel, they will bite or attack only to defend themselves from the predators or when they feel threatened.

Among all these popular types, bushy-tailed gray squirrels are the ones that people keep as pets.

Some of these tame pet squirrels are also seen to bite their owners when they are threatened.

What do squirrel teeth look like?

Like other rodents, squirrels also have four large incisors – two on the bottom and two on the top.

Of all the teeth squirrels have, the four front teeth never stop growing.

These are the sharp teeth that they use to continuously gnaw and chew the things (like plastic, wires, metal, etc).

This also means, if you want to keep a squirrel as a pet, you will need to give them the things they can always chew.

And that’s the unusual behavior you can’t get rid of.

Squirrels also possess 8 sharp molars that they use for grinding the foods such as nuts and seeds.

What do squirrel bite marks look like?

Since squirrels are known for their “chewy” nature, it’s not uncommon for you to see their paws and bite marks in areas they are nesting.

Unlike the paired tooth marks of voles and mice that are very small, squirrels tend to leave larger bite marks where they chew or bite.

Many times, homeowners who want to avoid the marks of their chew on their trees, prefer keeping a squirrel feeder for them to feed on.

This way squirrels would not damage the plants or trees in the garden and get attracted to the feeder.

The Conclusion

Although not dangerous, squirrels often in rare situations, may bite humans and pets.

Some squirrels may be the carriers of diseases like roundworm brain parasites which can make them highly aggressive and harmful.

So, make sure that you deal with them safely and do not get too close to them unless it’s your lovely pet.  

If bitten wash the wound and get instant medical help especially if you see the warning signs.

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