Ground Squirrels are fascinating little mammals, but there are areas of the world where they exist in huge numbers, which can concern some people. These rodents are plentiful in some regions, and locals wonder if ground squirrels can be harmful or dangerous to humans.
Ground squirrels are only harmful to people if they carry diseases. Bubonic plague and rabies are carried by squirrels and can be harmful. Ground squirrels are more dangerous and harmful to gardens, buildings, and plants due to burrowing than they are to people.
Ground squirrels look cute, but they are rodents that can be very difficult to manage. If you live in an area or region with a large population of ground squirrels or if you regularly come into close physical contact with ground squirrels, it is essential to know if they are dangerous or harmful.
Let’s discuss ground squirrels to determine if you should worry about them.
Are Ground Squirrels Harmful Or Dangerous?
Ground squirrels are very common in some places, and their population can grow to uncontrollable numbers very quickly if left unmanaged. This means that many people come into contact with these rodents regularly and wonder if ground squirrels can be harmful or dangerous to humans.
The truth is that ground squirrels can be dangerous for humans, as these rodents are known to carry diseases.
The diseases carried and transmitted by ground squirrels can be very serious.
Types of Diseases Carried By Ground Squirrels
The most well-known diseases that ground squirrels can carry and transmit include parasites such as; ticks, fleas, mites, typhus, ringworm, plague, tularemia, etc.
Leptospirosis is another disease ground squirrels can carry and transmit to humans. It is transmitted when the urine of infected ground squirrels comes into contact with an open wound. In humans, Leptospirosis can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, red eyes, jaundice, etc.
If you suspect that you have been infected by one of these diseases, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Rabies is another serious virus that ground squirrels can carry and transmit to people if bitten or scratched by an infected rodent. Symptoms of this condition include fever, nausea, and confusion.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection transmitted from rodents to humans through contact with their urine or feces or ingesting contaminated food. Symptoms of this condition include fever, stomach aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Although ground squirrels can carry and transmit serious diseases, it is essential to note that they are not aggressive or dangerous animals.
In most cases, ground squirrels will avoid contact with humans and other animals. Therefore, the risk of becoming infected by these rodents is rare if you take the proper precautions.
These include avoiding contact with wild animals, protecting your home from ground squirrels by sealing any potential entry points, and seeking medical attention if you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
Never touch or handle a ground squirrel, living or dead.
Other Reasons That Make Ground Squirrels Dangerous
Ground squirrels are unlikely to bite or attack humans. Still, if humans come into close contact with them, these diseases are easily spread from infected squirrels to humans. In addition, these diseases can cause death in humans if they are not treated quickly.
These rodents are also harmful in other ways.
They are active burrowers and are well-known for destroying gardens, plants, food, and buildings.
The burrows of ground squirrels are large, and the underground networks they build are extensive. These burrows are known to cause damage to building foundations, topple trees over time, and destroy gardens and lawns.
The holes and mounds left behind by ground squirrels are tripping hazards that have harmed many people and animals, especially children and livestock.
Ground squirrels utterly destroy vegetable gardens, ornamental gardens, herb gardens, and trees and is a gardener’s worst nightmare.
This means that ground squirrels are not usually directly dangerous to people. Still, their behavior and their potential diseases can be very harmful in many ways.
Should You Be Worried About Harm From Ground Squirrels?
Now that we have learned that ground squirrels can be harmful in some ways, should you be worried about danger or harm from these rodents, or can you leave them in their habitat?
While these squirrels can be harmful by spreading disease and damaging plants, trees, houses, and gardens, they do not want to come close to people. Ground squirrels are more likely to run away from you than to come close to you, and they are extremely unlike to attack or bite a person.
The transmission of disease from squirrels to people only occurs if large numbers of ground squirrels dwell within a house or if someone physically touches or picks up a squirrel.
Bites and scratches from ground squirrels picked up will likely cause harm and transmit disease. In addition, fleas carried by the squirrels that make their way onto people when squirrels are in their house also transmit disease.
All of this means that you should only be worried about ground squirrels if they are living in your house or if you are forced to touch or pick up a squirrel.
In most instances, ground squirrels are harmless and likelier to run away and hide than to come close to someone.
However, there are ways to manage ground squirrel infestations and populations if you are concerned about being in close proximity to them.
How To Manage Potentially Harmful Ground Squirrels?
The best ways to manage ground squirrels are similar to managing all rodent problems, as these animals behave very similarly to most other rodents.
Ground squirrels are deterred by pungent substances and smells, especially lavender, which can be used to deter them and keep them out of homes by spreading it around in places such as the attic and crawl spaces.
Baited traps are also a good option, as these kill some rodents and deter others. However, poison is not a good way to deal with these squirrels as it can harm several other animals unintentionally and cause severe harm to the local ecosystem.
Using other animals, such as cats or dogs, to hunt and deter the rodents works well, and so does contacting animal control services to remove the squirrels or help you to deal with the problem.
Ultimately it is only necessary to remove ground squirrels if they carry disease or if they are causing severe harm to your personal property.
Ground squirrels are usually harmless and unlikely to come close to humans. However, if you live in an area with high-ground squirrel populations, there is a risk of disease transmission and property damage.
It is, therefore, critical to take proactive measures to avoid and manage any existing ground squirrel infestation.
The best way to manage these potential issues is by using repellents and traps or contacting animal control services for help.
In most cases, ground squirrels can be left alone to live in their own habitats without causing any harm. They only need to be removed if they are causing considerable damage or spreading dangerous diseases.
- Can You Poison Ground Squirrels?
- Ground Squirrels Vs Gophers Vs Chipmunks
- Why Do Ground Squirrels Keep Dying In My Yard?