Why Does One Squirrel Have Very Little Hair?
In the winter, dandruff and dermatophytosis are the three most common reasons why a squirrel has very little or no hair. These conditions are often caused by fungal infections that attack the hair shaft at the skin line. This infection results in a mild itch and eventually results in the hair falling out and leaving the animal with a bald spot. Scratching also spreads the infection to other parts of the body.
In the winter
If you notice a bald spot on a captive squirrel, it is likely due to dermatophytosis, a fungal infection. The fungus attacks the hair shaft as it emerges from the skin. The result is brittle hair and patches of bald skin. It is not fatal, and it usually clears up with warmer weather. The first thing to do is provide nutritional support for the squirrel, as it has very little hair in the winter.
When it comes to color, a squirrel’s fur is mostly black or grey. Grey squirrels have a salt-and-pepper coloured fur with a black guard hair. Black squirrels have uniformly glossy black fur. Their fur is usually very similar to the color of black or grey, and one may even be a mix of both. Its coat is quite short in the winter, but it does not grow very long in the summer.
The gray squirrel has excellent eyesight and excellent hearing. The two large hind feet are the best places to look for the furry animal, but if you can see it from your window, you might be lucky and see it running across your lawn. You might even catch it jumping and scurrying. And that’s just the beginning of the fun! Gray squirrels also have great eyesight and a great sense of smell. They often use their keen sense of smell to find buried acorns.
During a dermatophytosis infection
Squirrels suffer from hair loss in the form of patches of baldness caused by fungal infections in their skin. Infected squirrels lose their hair, often in patches on the sides of their body. During the course of the infection, their immune systems build up to protect them against further infections. Once they’re clear of the fungal infection, their fur grows back normally. The good news is that these infections aren’t infectious to humans and are not transmitted by the faecal matter.
Red foxes are particularly susceptible to sarcoptic mange, a condition in which one squirrel has very little hair. The skin becomes thick and wrinkly and a foul-smelling crust forms. The fungus can also cause blindness. In some cases, red foxes die of sarcoptic mange.
During a dandruff infection
Fungal infections are responsible for most of the squirrel fur loss. They are usually characterized by patches of very short fur and will eventually grow back normally. Squirrels do not contract human diseases and usually recover quickly from this infection. In the meantime, you can help your squirrel by feeding them raw coconut, which has anti-fungal properties. However, be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of infection in your squirrel.
The condition is spread by the infected squirrel to other squirrels. Once the infestation becomes severe, the entire animal becomes bald and the affected squirrel may even bite humans. However, the good news is that treatment for dandruff infection is easy and can be easily done at home. You just need to find a treatment that works and you’ll be good to go!
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.