Do Squirrels Carry Disease?

red squirrel

What Diseases Do Squirrels Carry?

There are a number of valid reasons why some people don’t want squirrels wandering through their gardens and homes. Sure, they look cute and fuzzy, but do squirrels carry disease?

Squirrels are a member of family Sciuridae, where rodents also belong. Like the rodents, these bushy-tailed creatures carry diseases, too, which they might transfer to humans. Yes, as little as they are, they can be more troublesome than you might think.

Here are some of the diseases that can be carried by squirrels:


People are always worried about the possibility of squirrels carrying rabies because it can be dangerous and life threatening. Yes, squirrels can get infected with rabies, but it is not common for a squirrel to spread the disease. When squirrels are infected with rabies, the symptoms can be quite noticeable such as sensitivity and excessive drooling of saliva. And like any other animals with, squirrels with rabies can transfer it to human through biting and scratching.


Squirrels can carry parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites. These parasites can be dangerous because they can be a reason for several health conditions such as Lyme disease, Encephalitis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Your best way to keep you and your family safe from the diseases a single squirrel may spread is to keep them off your home and your garden. Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed so no squirrels can enter.  You can also consider hiring a pest removal company to ward off any pest infestation in your home – including squirrels.

Bubonic Plague

Bubonic Plague is an infectious disease that can be transferred through the bite of an infected flea. When a squirrel bitten by a flea carrying the plague enters your property, it can transmit the disease in record time to you and your time. Also known as the Black Death, the plague had caused millions of lives in Europe during the Middle Ages. This disease also occurs in the US from time to time, so be careful when dealing with squirrels wandering in your home.


Tularemia, or popularly known as the rabbit fever, is an infectious disease caused by a certain bacterium called Francisella tularensis. This disease can be transmitted to humans when a sick or dead squirrel infected with the disease comes in contact with humans.


It is a bacterial infection that affects both humans and animals. The infection can be transmitted to humans from drinking water contaminated with urine or fecal forms of infected squirrels. It can also transfer to humans when an infected squirrel’s urine comes in contact with open wounds.

Squirrel Pox

Squirrel pox is a type of viral infection and is commonly found in red squirrels with a mange or scabs. However, other squirrels are also vulnerable to this very resilient virus; only, they do not display outward symptoms. Squirrels may exhibit visible tumors on its skin, loss of body mass, and eventually death.

How to protect yourself from diseases carried by squirrels?

Are you familiar with the famous cliché, “An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure”? Well, this is specifically true when it comes to protecting yourself against the diseases brought by squirrels. Though, not all of these diseases can be transmitted to humans, you cannot be complacent\. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid coming in contact with squirrels at all cost.

  • Check your attic, since this is the area of your home which they like to reside in, for any holes or entry points and seal it.
  • Make sure to cover your vents and chimneys with screens or caps too.
  • If you need help in removing these creatures out of your home and garden, then call professional wildlife removal experts in your area.
  • Aside from removing unwanted animals in your property, they can also sanitize your home to make sure that you are safe from the diseases they carry.

Whether you choose to call a local pest removal company, or opt for more natural repellent measures, it’s important to know as much about squirrels as possible! Squirrels can also cause damage to your home, so know as much about them as you can, and enjoy the wildlife where it belongs, and not in your attic!