Are Squirrels Really Dangerous To Humans and Pets?

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It can’t be denied that squirrels are adorably cute. It’s great to see a squirrel near the house. They are wild creatures that have never been exposed to humans and have never been domesticated. Are squirrels dangerous because they are wild animals?

No, most of the time, squirrels aren’t dangerous. However, squirrels are wild animals, and the behavior of wild animals can be unpredictable. If they feel endangered or are guarding their young, they can attack. 

There are many reports of squirrels attacking people and hurting them. While rodents seldom carry rabies, a squirrel can. Rabies can make squirrels attack humans. This blog post will teach you all the reasons why squirrels are dangerous.

When and Why Do Squirrels Turn Dangerous?

  • Naturally, there isn’t a single dangerous species of squirrel that exists. 
  • But they are wild animals, and if you or another animal makes them feel threatened, they may get dangerous and bite to protect themselves. 
  • As a general rule of thumb, it is best not to attempt to pick up squirrels. This may make them feel threatened, and as a result, they will act dangerously toward humans and other animals to defend themselves.
  • Some squirrels, such as black squirrels, have high testosterone levels, making them dangerous in a defensive mood.
  • Squirrels may also go dangerous when they feel dangerous around their young ones.

Are Black Squirrels Dangerous?

Yes, black squirrels are dangerous. The black melanistic squirrel’s aggressive tendencies are well-documented. It is thought that they have more testosterone, which makes them more dangerous in defending their territory and more aggressive when doing so.

Black Squirrel
Black Squirrel

The hybrid theory of squirrel melanism argues that the offspring of two different squirrel species get good features from each parent, making them dangerous, stronger, and more challenging.

Black squirrels can become more aggressive and territorial when food is scarce, like in the winter. Black melanistic squirrels may be more aggressive and dangerous and even win fights because their testosterone levels are higher. The additional testosterone gives them more mass, making them faster than other squirrels.

Are Grey Squirrels Dangerous?

No, grey squirrels are not dangerous to humans. Since grey squirrels often associate humans with food, they sometimes come close to people. Some people worry that they will be assaulted, but it is common for a squirrel to attack.

Grey Squirrel
Grey Squirrel

However, grey squirrels are known to carry a variety of diseases. However, only a few are humanly threatening. The most dangerous thing about grey squirrels is that they can pass on and spread a virus called squirrel pox (SQPV). Tularemia, typhus, plague, and ringworm are some of the most prevalent. Grey squirrels can spread diseases like rabies through bites and direct contact.

Are Flying Squirrels Dangerous?

Flying squirrels are not dangerous to people but can be hazardous to one’s property. Squirrels can cause significant damage to homes by gnawing through wiring, pipes, drywall, and insulation if they find their way inside. Flying squirrels can cause damage from both fire and water.

Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel

Flying squirrels are some of the most accessible wild animals to tame because they are friendly and curious and carry very few diseases.

In the United States, there has been an outbreak of typhus that has been linked to flying squirrels. Since 1976, there have been 30 cases of the disease in the United States caused by Rickettsia prowazekii, the bacterium that causes epidemic typhus (11-3).

Are Red Squirrels Dangerous?

It is generally known that red squirrels are more belligerent than their grey relatives. They have a strong sense of territory and are very protective of their young and their food. They can attack humans, other animals, or even other red squirrels.

Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel

On the other hand, if red squirrels are widespread in the area in which you live, then your home may be more at risk from them. However, the red squirrel population has decreased to 140,000 since the early 1900s.

But red squirrels don’t hurt plants because they are essential to the environment, especially in forest ecosystems. Their most important role in the forest is determining the types of plants that can grow there. According to Twining JP, author of Royal Open Society, they have the odd behavior of burying seeds, their primary food source.

Are Rock Squirrels Dangerous?

Yes, rock squirrels are dangerous. It has been said that the rock squirrel, native to Mexico and the Southwest, is “the most dangerous animal” for most visitors to the Grand Canyon.

This is due, in part, to the fact that rock squirrels are prevalent throughout the area. However, appearances can be deceiving. They are notorious for biting people for no reason other than pointing at them.

Rock Squirrel
Rock Squirrel

Rock squirrels have also been blamed for spreading the bubonic plague to people. Because of this, property owners and public organizations shouldn’t let them stay in places where they could put other people in danger without being necessary. 

Are Ground Squirrels Dangerous?

Yes, ground squirrels are dangerous. Many home gardeners find ground squirrels one of the most problematic rodent pests they face. When there are large numbers of ground squirrels, there is a greater risk that they will have diseases that are dangerous to humans.

The bubonic plague is a big problem because the fleas that live on ground squirrels can spread the Yersinia pestis bacteria to humans, pets, and other animals. 

Ground Squirrel
Ground Squirrel

The ground squirrel is prone to plague, which has caused entire colonies of ground squirrels to become extinct. Numerous plants, both those that provide food and those that are only decorative, are harmed by ground squirrels. Grains, nut trees, and fruit trees are especially at risk.

Are Baby Squirrels Dangerous?

No, baby squirrels are not dangerous, but they are adorable. Regardless of its species, a baby squirrel poses no threat to people or animals. They are not difficult, but they do cause problems. Baby squirrels can bite and chew through electrical wires, make holes in your siding to get into your attic, and eat through your home’s insulation. Squirrels can also chew through PVC pipe left out in the open.

Baby squirrels have very sharp claws that could accidentally scratch someone. They can bring diseases like typhus and leptospirosis with them. They can also get fleas and ticks. Most of the time, you shouldn’t touch wild animals because they are dangerous.

Damages Caused By Dangerous Squirrels

  • Dangerous squirrels can badly damage the inside and outside of your home.
  • Squirrels are known to cause damage through their habit of eating and gnawing.
  • Squirrels may enter a space as small as a golf ball and cause damage to the yard and house.
  • Squirrels can get into your attic by chewing through the soffits, fascia boards, siding, wood, and metal in your home.
  • Once they have gained access to your home, squirrels will damage your attic by gnawing on cables, tearing up insulation, and defecating.
  • There are many ways in which squirrels can severely damage a garden or outdoor space. They frequently are seen gnawing on the bark of trees and shrubs and digging in lawns for nuts.

Are Squirrel Bites Dangerous?

If the squirrel has rabies, it can be dangerous if it bites you. If this isn’t the case, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about squirrel bites. You should take the following precautions if a squirrel bites you:

  • Scrub the cut with a mixture of water and soap.
  • Use some rubbing alcohol on the area or some hydrogen peroxide, and then disinfect it.
  • Dress the wound by using a bandage.
  • If you are worried about how the area where you were bitten is doing, you should see a doctor.
  • These will keep the wound from getting infected, which could get moderately dangerous if it isn’t taken care of properly.

What Dangerous Diseases Can Squirrels Transmit?

Few squirrel diseases are dangerous to humans. Tularemia, typhus, plague, and ringworm are frequent. Infected squirrels can transfer infections through bites or another contact.

The following is a list of five diseases that squirrels may be carriers of:

  1. Salmonellosis is caused by the Salmonella bacteria, which can be found in droppings. Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
  2. Lyme disease is an inflammatory condition that can cause nerve pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. This condition is transmitted by the ticks that squirrels carry.
  3. Tularemia is an infectious disease affecting the lungs, skin, and lymph nodes. It can also affect the eyes.
  4. Symptoms including fever, jaundice, headache, and vomiting characterize the bacterial infection known as leptospirosis.
  5. Rabies is a virus that can be transmitted to humans by squirrels through biting or scratching, even though this is not very common.

Tularemia, typhus, and plague can all be fatal if left untreated. Squirrels can develop rabies, although it’s unusual.


In the end, if you feed squirrels, they may come up to you but won’t attack you immediately. If you catch or harm them, they’ll bite, scrape, and become dangerous. Squirrels are not dangerous to people but can be dangerous to one’s property.

Squirrels can do significant damage to residences and may cause diseases. Safety should always come first, no matter how cute and fluffy they look. Squirrels have very sharp claws that could accidentally scratch someone. They can bring diseases like typhus and leptospirosis with them.


Twining JP, Ian Montgomery W, Price L, Kunc HP, Tosh DG. Native and invasive squirrels show different behavioral responses to the scent of a shared native predator. R Soc Open Sci. 2020 Feb 26

Lilly MV, Lucore EC, Tarvin KA. Eavesdropping grey squirrels infer safety from bird chatter. PLoS One. 2019 Sep 4.

Majerová K, Gutiérrez R, Fonville M, Hönig V, Papežík P, Hofmannová L, Lesiczka PM, Nachum-Biala Y, Růžek D, Sprong H, Harrus S, Modrý D, Votýpka J. Hedgehogs and Squirrels as Hosts of Zoonotic Bartonella Species. Pathogens. 2021 Jun 1;10(6):686