Like other animals, squirrels are vulnerable to itching, making them uncomfortable. It can also affect their activities because they cannot move around freely.
Why Do Squirrels Itch So Much? Squirrels itch so much because of allergies, parasitic infections, the molting process, grooming behavior, skin infections, mites in their fur, skin dryness, and dermatitis.
Separating the infected squirrels from the healthy ones is necessary because skin infections are transmittable through physical contact.
Why do squirrels itch?
Itching in squirrels commonly occurs from parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. These social creatures bond with their other family members, increasing the risk of spreading disease.
Allergies are common in squirrels; they frequently scratch their bodies with sharp paws. In addition, they rub their body with hard surfaces to make them feel comfortable.
Allergic reactions are common in these animals because of their natural habitat. They can get allergies because of dust and dirt mites in their furs.
Dirt mites are microscopic species present in the dirt, and they come in their contact while digging soil for food storage.
They are food hoarders and move in trees, grass, plants, and flowers to find suitable food. Plant-based sources contain the pollens that trigger allergic reactions.
Allergens are naturally present in decayed logs, damp environments, and tree cavities; these animals regularly come in contact with these structures.
In addition, they can also get allergic reactions after eating different foods that are not suitable for them.
Removing the dust, debris, and pollens from their furs is challenging because these animals have sharp claws that can scratch your skin.
It is better to take help from nearby veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation experts for their treatment. You should provide them with supportive care so they can cope with allergic reactions and recover soon.
Parasites, including fleas, ticks, and lice, affect the squirrels, and they excessively scratch and groom their body to relieve the itching situation.
These animals can carry fleas and ticks that can affect humans. These parasites bite the squirrels and transmit worm infections into their body.
These are also harmful to humans because squirrels can also transmit parasites to them. They can also get fleas infection when they contact the infected animals.
Those living in wild areas are more at risk of infection because of infested rodents and other mammals. These parasites can move quickly from one place to another, making the squirrel’s hair the new host.
In addition, they can also carry these parasites from the infested environment. Flea eggs and pupae are present in the areas where infested animals live.
Squirrels lice are tiny insects of brown color and do not have any wings. These reside in the head region and tail of these animals. These can stick to the skin surface underneath the furs to suck blood.
These can also cause severe itching reactions, and these rodents always scratch their body to reduce the irritation. Sometimes, they start running in circles for no reason due to this issue.
Parasitic infections are also common in their young ones because of poor supportive care and contact with infested species. Using flea or tick shampoo and wiping off their furs with them is better.
Molting means squirrels regrow the hair on their body twice a year. Red and gay squirrels undergo the molting process twice a year.
They excessively itch their body during molting season. The shedding and detachment of the old furs lead to discomfort and irritating situation.
In addition, the issue also comes because of dry and flaky skin in this season. They also scratch their body because developing new follicles for hair growth irritates them.
Squirrels itch their body as part of their grooming process. Sometimes they do not need the help of humans and other species members for grooming.
Grooming is the natural behavior of these animals, and they use their paws to remove dust and debris from their fur. In addition, they also remove the parasites and fleas from their furs.
Moreover, grooming also helps them to maintain their body temperature and allows better blood circulation. However, these animals’ normal cleaning behavior is to keep their furs free from dust, debris, and parasites.
Squirrels can also get skin infections when they come in contact with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. These infections can occur when they eat contaminated food from their surroundings.
In addition, the issue also occurs when they come in contact with the feces of these microorganisms during soil digging. The issue also comes when they collect the contaminated material to build their nest.
Bacterial infections are common in these animals, leading to redness, intense itching, and skin inflammation. The risk of diseases increases because of the surrounding environmental conditions.
They are more vulnerable to skin infection when they live in damp and poorly ventilated areas. The wet environment promotes bacterial and fungal growth.
Squirrels with weak immune systems are more susceptible to skin issues because immune cells cannot fight foreign pathogens.
Presence of mites
Mange is a common disease in the squirrel, which can lead to fur loss and itching. Small mites get stuck in their furs and cause these problems. These are microscopic mites, and you cannot see them with the naked eye.
These can infest these animals’ skin and hair follicles, leading to skin irritation, and they scratch their body to get relief.
Mange is a common disease in these animals which can also lead to body sores. Direct physical contact with the infected species causes these diseases.
These can also get the mites when they nest with the infested material and at vulnerable places. These mites stay in the same environment longer, and other animals can carry these mites.
Severe mange infection also leads to crusty patches on their skin and skin inflammation.
Itching is common in squirrels because of skin dryness. The dry patches on their skin lead to irritation and allergic responses. Bacteria, parasitic and fungal infections lead to skin dryness.
In addition, skin dryness can also occur because of dermatitis, which is skin inflammation. Moreover, certain weather conditions also lead to skin dryness.
Squirrels itch in winter and in cold environments because of dryness. The species that live in cold environments are more susceptible to skin-related problems.
How do squirrels itch?
Squirrels use different methods to relieve itching symptoms. They use their sharp teeth to scratch different body parts, including the head, neck, and abdominal region.
In addition, they also use their claws to get rid of itching on their different body parts. Some of their species rub their bodies against hard surfaces, including rocks, tree trunks, and walls.
Moreover, they also flick their tail when they feel irritation in it. You can also see their rolling and stretching movements sometimes, and they do these to alleviate the symptoms.
They stretch or roll when they feel itching in the hard-to-reach body areas.
What type of squirrels itch so much?
Gray squirrels itch so much because of the excessive furs on their body and their bushy tail. The fur density on their tail is more because of their breed type and genetic variations.
The excessive fur on their body provides the best hosting environment for the parasites. These can stick with the underneath skin and suck the blood for nutrient requirements.
The excessive hair on their body is the host for different parasites. In addition, dust, mites, and pollens can also enter inside and cause allergic reactions.