Can People Catch Squirrel Diseases?

Flying, tree, and ground squirrels can carry a number of diseases transmissible to humans. These members of the rodent family are carriers of tularemia, leptospirosis, and other illnesses common in rats and mice. Ground squirrels in the southwest have also been known to transmit bubonic plague, an infection resulting in fever, gangrene, and skin lesions. In fact, several parks and campgrounds in this region have been closed for treatment as a result of plague-infected squirrels. The furry pests are also prime vectors for ringworm, fleas, and ticks, each of which carries its own health risks.

How are Squirrel Diseases Transmitted?

While humans can catch a few squirrel diseases by drinking contaminated water, handling carcasses, or being bitten, most illnesses associated with the pests are passed through parasites. Ticks and fleas infected with plague, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, and several varieties of ehrlichiosis get an easy ride into backyards in squirrels’ fur. As the rodents often nest inside attics and wall voids, parasites may even find their way into homes. Squirrel disease symptoms vary, so anyone who has had contact with these pests should get in touch with a medical professional.


Strong climbers and diggers, squirrels are masters of infiltration. Not only does this make them one of the most common yard pests, but also one of the most difficult to deal with. The best way to avoid picking up squirrel diseases or parasites is to avoid attracting them. Trim branches that hang over roofs to make it harder for tree squirrels to enter attics, or cover garden plants with wire cages and squirrel-proof bird feeders to deny them food. Upon finding any carcasses, young, or adult pests in the yard, avoid touching them. For safe and reliable removal, trust the professionals at Trutech.