Understanding Wildlife Risks: Do Squirrels Carry Tetanus ?

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Squirrels are adorable, fluffy animals that run across cities, backyards, and parks. Although you see them frequently, few individuals are conscious of their potential for harm. Now the question is, Do Squirrels Carry Tetanus?

Yes, squirrels do carry tetanus as it is among the main issues associated with a squirrel bite. The bacteria Clostridium tetani penetrates the body and generate a toxin that causes painful muscle contractions, resulting in an infection called tetanus. 

Since spores of tetani bacteria are everywhere in the environment and they mostly live in soil, and dust, so there is a possibility that they can carry tetanus. Read the article below if you are interested in learning more about this disease in squirrels. Along with this squirrels may carry rabies.

Is Tetanus A Disease?

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Yes, tetanus is a disease of the nerve system that is caused by a bacterium that generates a toxin. The condition causes muscle spasms, especially in the neck and jaw muscles. Lockjaw is a popular name for tetanus.

Tetanus consequences might be fatal if they are severe. The neck and jaw muscles commonly lock, as a result, making it challenging to open the mouth or swallow.

The bacteria usually reside in soil, dust, and animal feces. They enter the body through skin breaks, most frequently cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.

Manure, dust, and other environmental elements can all contain tetanus bacterium spores. The spores become bacteria once they enter the body. The spores can enter the body through skin that has been ruptured, usually due to wounds from infected objects. Certain skin breaks are particularly susceptible to tetanus bacterium infection.

Can Squirrels Transmit Tetanus?

Squirrels Transmit Tetanus

Yes, squirrels can transmit tetanus. Squirrels may seem incredibly adorable to observers, but you must avoid approaching them since they can be violent and harmful.

They have a lot of diseases in their saliva, which can also be tetanus. If they hurt you, you might need a tetanus shot from the doctor.

Tetanus, as you are aware, is one of the main problems connected to a squirrel bite. It is a bacterial infection that has the potential to cause significant neurological damage.

A squirrel bite may carry the potentially fatal infection tetanus, which is hazardous and contagious.

Ticks from squirrels can also carry tetanus, which can then be passed to you or your pet through biting. If you try to handle a squirrel, it may bite you and give you tetanus if it feels threatened.

Can You Get Tetanus From Squirrel Scratch?

Squirrel Scratch

A squirrel scratching you might cause an extremely painful and severe cut. You can easily get cut by a squirrel’s sharp teeth as they have a built-in defense mechanism if you try to grab them.

Additionally, the animal can be carrying an illness that you could contract through scratch. So the question is can you get tetanus from squirrel scratch?

So yes there is a possibility that you can get tetanus from a squirrel scratch. Because it can break the skin, the infection can invade the skin causing tetanus.

Also, the bacteria typically reside in soil, dust, and animal waste, and when you get a squirrel scratch, they enter the body through skin breaks.

Your skin can bleed excessively from scratches caused by squirrel nails tearing into it. In addition, scratch or bite wounds may develop into bacterial infection sites that can easily transmit tetanus. It is usually a good idea to have a squirrel scratch examined by a medical practitioner.

Do You Need A Tetanus Shot After A Squirrel Bite?

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Yes, a tetanus shot after a squirrel bite is needed. Tetanus shots, which can be a genuine agony, may be required if you have not had a booster injection in five years and your cut feels unclean from the bite.

As mentioned earlier, tetanus can result from a squirrel bite that causes the skin to split. A person with a squirrel bite that breaks the skin needs to see a doctor. However, squirrels can carry and spread several diseases, making their presence occasionally dangerous.

If the wound has broken your skin and you have not had your tetanus shot in a while, you could need one. Tetanus is a dangerous but uncommon illness that, if left untreated, can be fatal.

The bacteria that might cause tetanus can enter your body through a skin wound or cut.

Can Tetanus Go Away On Its Own?

Tetanus may or may not go away on its own. Considering that it is a bacterial infection-based disease. The bacteria are typically found in soil, dust, and some animal feces, such as in squirrels. 

Frequently, burns or puncture wounds allow bacteria to enter the body.

A poison produced by the bacteria harms nerves resulting in significant muscle spasms. Tetanus can be fatal if it is not treated. Without treatment, symptoms might go away or they might get worse.

Your healthcare provider will look for certain signs or symptoms, such as lockjaw, to assist in the diagnosis of tetanus. If the illness spreads to other parts of your body, you will need to receive treatment in a hospital.

Antitoxin may also be given to block the toxin from spreading throughout your body. A bacterial infection can be treated with medicine, as can pain. You might also receive a dose of the tetanus vaccine from your doctor.

How Do You Get Rid Of Tetanus?

Cleaning the wound

Tetanus that has already developed frequently results in death even with professional care, hence prevention is crucial.

The two main ways to prevent tetanus are vaccination and adequate wound care.

Tetanus can spread through a wound if the skin is broken in any way. It is advised that you get a tetanus booster if the wound is clear and you haven’t had one in the last ten years.

If you haven’t received a tetanus booster shot in the last five years and the wound is filthy or tetanus-prone, your doctor will probably advise getting one.

Tetanus can be avoided by completely cleaning the wound, which is the second essential part. Cleaning the wound itself and the surrounding region with soap and water is an option.

It is crucial to clean out any visible dirt and particulate matter from the lesion to prevent tetanus and other bacterial infections of the wound.

How Long Does Tetanus Bacteria Survive?

Tetanus Bacteria

Tetanus bacteria are typically found in soil and animal manure since they can survive for a very long time outside the body. The bacteria can swiftly proliferate and emit a poison that damages the nerves and causes symptoms like the stiffness of muscles and spasms if they enter the body through a cut.

The spores can live and spread for more than 40 years in the soil. Additionally, they can be present in a collection of settings that germinate and create a poison that enters the bloodstream if they come into contact with a wound deeper than oxygen can penetrate.

In addition, the spores are remarkably resistant to heat and common antiseptics. They can endure an autoclave for 10 to 15 minutes at 249.8°F (121°C). The number of spores in manure-treated soil may be significant. Additionally, spores are present in contaminated heroin and skin surfaces.


So we have concluded that this bacterial infection can seriously harm a person’s neurological system and be very bad for their long-term health. And as a result of the scratch caused by the squirrel, you face the possibility of contracting an illness like tetanus.

Additionally, the squirrel’s strong, pointed nails can easily cut into your skin, causing a great deal of discomfort. Tularemia, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease are some other diseases that squirrels can transmit to humans. Therefore, it is probably advisable to avoid touching a squirrel in any circumstance.

Therefore, as we have seen that squirrels typically live in soil and dust, while tetanus bacteria spores are found everywhere in the environment. So there is a possibility that they might spread the disease.


Tetanus: A literature review– British Journal of Anaesthesia