Can Squirrels Get Rabies?

Yes, squirrels can get rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans and animals like squirrels. In this article, we will explore the possibility of squirrels contracting rabies, the risks associated with it, and how to prevent the spread of this disease.

Understanding Rabies

Rabies is a deadly viral infection that primarily affects mammals. It is caused by the rabies virus, which is usually transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. The virus attacks the central nervous system, leading to inflammation of the brain and ultimately causing severe neurological symptoms.

Can Squirrels Contract Rabies?

While squirrels can contract rabies, it is relatively rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), small rodents like squirrels are rarely found to be infected with rabies. This is because squirrels are not typical reservoirs for the virus, unlike raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes.

However, it is important to note that squirrels can still become infected if they are bitten by a rabid animal. If a rabid animal bites a squirrel, the virus can be transmitted, and the squirrel may develop rabies.

Transmission of Rabies to Squirrels

The most common way for squirrels to contract rabies is through the bite of an infected animal. If a squirrel is bitten by a rabid animal, such as a raccoon or a bat, the virus can be transmitted through the saliva of the infected animal. The virus then enters the squirrel’s body through the wound, potentially leading to rabies infection.

Symptoms of Rabies in Squirrels

Identifying rabies in squirrels can be challenging as they exhibit similar symptoms to other diseases or injuries. However, some common signs of rabies in squirrels include:

  • Unusual aggression or irritability
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Paralysis or weakness

If you observe a squirrel displaying these symptoms, it is crucial to avoid contact and report the sighting to your local animal control or wildlife authorities.

Preventing the Spread of Rabies

Preventing the spread of rabies is essential for both human and animal safety. Here are some measures you can take:

Vaccinate Your Pets

Ensure that your pets, such as dogs and cats, are up to date with their rabies vaccinations. This not only protects them from the disease but also prevents them from potentially transmitting it to other animals, including squirrels.

Avoid Contact with Wildlife

It is important to avoid direct contact with wildlife, including squirrels. Do not attempt to feed or handle them, as this can increase the risk of exposure to rabies or other diseases. Teach children to appreciate wildlife from a safe distance and not to approach or touch them.

Secure Your Home

Seal any openings or gaps in your home, such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces, to prevent wildlife from entering. This reduces the chances of encounters between your pets and potentially rabid animals like squirrels.

Report Suspected Rabid Animals

If you come across a squirrel or any other animal displaying unusual behavior or symptoms associated with rabies, report it to your local animal control or wildlife authorities. They can take appropriate measures to assess the situation and ensure public safety.


In conclusion, while squirrels can contract rabies, it is relatively uncommon. The risk of squirrels transmitting rabies to humans is low, but it is still important to exercise caution and avoid contact with wildlife. By vaccinating pets, preventing contact with wildlife, and reporting any suspected rabid animals, we can help reduce the spread of rabies and protect both humans and animals.

Similar Posts