How Does a Rabies-Infected Squirrel Behave?
If you’ve ever been attacked by a stray squirrel, you may wonder how does a rabies-infected squirrel behave. The signs of rabies infection are similar to those of humans, but they may not be as obvious as in people. Rabies-infected squirrels display aggressive and confused behavior, exhibiting symptoms of fever, weakness, and even paralysis. The most obvious sign of rabies-infected animals is excessive saliva and foam in the mouth, which is indicative of a severe infection.
One of the most common signs of a rabies-infected squirrel is erratic behavior. Squirrels do not generally fear humans and will rarely bite you, but their erratic behavior can indicate the presence of a rabid squirrel. If you encounter a squirrel on your property, make sure to keep your distance and contact a trained professional immediately.
You can tell if a squirrel has rabies if it suddenly becomes aggressive towards you. It will often walk in circles and act erratically. It may also approach you, assuming you are offering them peanuts. A squirrel with rabies may also show other signs of the disease. Its behavior is unpredictable, but the signs of a rabied squirrel are usually the same as a squirrel with a common disease.
A rabid squirrel will exhibit aggressive behavior and sneeze. The animal may run around in circles, lose its ability to swallow saliva, and disorient itself. A rabid squirrel will also exhibit erratic eating and sleeping habits. Rabies symptoms are not visible when a squirrel is initially infected, but if they occur at a later stage of the disease, rabies treatment can be performed on the animal.
signs of aggression
The humane society urges people to monitor squirrel behavior for any changes that may indicate that a squirrel is rabid. Squirrels are not known to be particularly aggressive animals, but suddenly showing aggressive behavior may indicate that they have rabies. A squirrel’s aggressive behavior will be more noticeable if it is bitten repeatedly, and should prompt a trip to the veterinarian.
Despite being intelligent animals, squirrels are not usually aggressive toward humans. Generally speaking, if a squirrel feels cornered or threatened, it will go on the offensive. It may even attack you to protect its young. However, a rabid squirrel may act aggressively even if it doesn’t have the disease. This is because they can’t understand why they’re attacking you and therefore may be confused as to what’s going on.
In addition to the above signs, you may see an animal with rabies acting erratically and stumbling in their gait. You may also notice an aggressive squirrel approaching you, assuming you’re giving it food. It’s important to note that a squirrel can act aggressively even without rabies, because they usually assume that humans are giving them peanuts or other food.
rabies transmission through bite
Rabies is a highly contagious disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mammal. Although most rabies cases are caused by exposure to a rabid dog, a rabid squirrel can also transmit the disease to humans. The CDC reports that 90 percent of exposures to rabies in humans occur through bites from infected dogs. Despite this, most human fatalities from rabies are due to exposures to rabid bats and squirrels. Thankfully, the wounds caused by rabies from bats are small and may not be visible enough to prompt medical attention in most cases.
Rabies symptoms usually start about two to eight weeks after exposure to the disease. However, this incubation period may vary, depending on the location of exposure. Early symptoms of rabies include fever, headache, and pain at the site of exposure. However, once an infected individual shows signs of the disease, the patient will rapidly develop a severe neurological illness. Symptoms may include agitation, confusion, paralysis, and difficulty swallowing. Once the symptoms of rabies are evident, the patient is usually dead within a few days.
symptoms of rabies infection
The signs of rabies infection in a squib can include aggression, confusion, trembling, loss of balance, and increased body temperature. The symptoms of rabies can progress to paralysis and death if left untreated. Treatment should begin with the initial steps of rinsing the bite area. Depending on the severity of the infection, rabies can lead to paralysis or sleep disorders. Rabies symptoms can also include excessive saliva production, abnormal behavior, and trembling.
Other signs of rabies infection in a squirrel include gait abnormalities or staggering, and the animal may approach you aggressively. It is important to seek medical attention if a rabid squirrel bites you or runs in circles. The squirrel may also foam at the mouth due to a paralyzing of the throat. Be sure to seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of these signs.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.