squirrel droppings

Are Squirrel Droppings Dangerous? What You Need to Know About Squirrel Poop

What Does Squirrel Poop Look Like?

It’s not easy identifying squirrel poop; there is nothing distinctive about them. Often, people will confuse squirrel poop with rat poop. However, one way you could distinguish the two is by their location. Most of the time, squirrel poop will be found at the base of a tree where they are nesting, or under bird feeders.

Squirrel Droppings vs Rat Droppings
Squirrel Droppings vs Rat Droppings

Squirrel poop is often characterized by oblong pellets that are usually about 3/8 inches long and about 1/8 inch in diameter. They have rounded tips with a slight bulge at the center with some size variance. Fresh squirrel poop is dark brown, and they will turn lighter as they age. It’s quite difficult to distinguish them from rats’ feces. The only difference is that squirrel poop will be fatter, and will over time change colour by growing lighter.

While there aren’t several factors that can distinguish squirrel poop from other rodents that can invade your home, it’s important to note that squirrel poop will be a fraction narrower and longer. Chances are it will have a similar colour and shape to other rodents, but a distinguishing factor is, it will be slightly elongated and oval.

In case your household has been invaded by squirrels, you are likely to have a larger number of droppings to deal with compared to other rodents. Squirrels are busy animals, and they will often take a scatter approach when it comes to emptying their bowels. It’s also important to note that squirrels are susceptible to both external and internal parasites, therefore, once you start to notice their poop in your household, it may be a wise idea to take protective measures when clearing out their poop. It is recommended that you wear gloves and a face mask to avoid inhaling parasites that might be looming in their droppings.

The Danger of Squirrel Feces

One of the major reasons why you should let a professional squirrel removal expert in Canada handle your squirrel problem is the very real risk of contracting diseases from squirrel feces and urine. Squirrel droppings are a fertile breeding ground for a variety of disease-causing organisms.

Leptospirosis: is a bacteria found in rodent feces and urine and can be transmuted to humans through contaminated food or water. Symptoms vary from mild, with flu-like symptoms to severe resulting in serious respiratory issues and even death.

Salmonellosis: can be transferred to humans through inhalation or by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces or consuming contaminated food or water. Fatalities from salmonellosis are extremely rare. Common symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

Ticks and fleas: although not strictly found in squirrel droppings, these animals often bring in ticks and fleas which easily transfer to human and pet hosts. Ticks are especially dangerous since they cause Lyme disease. Symptoms include stiffness, nerve pain and inflammation of the spinal chord or brain.

Rabies: rabies cannot be transmuted by coming into contact via animal droppings but is still a concern. Rabies in squirrels is extremely rare so much so that getting bitten by a squirrel doesn’t typically trigger rabies protocol in the emergency room. Still, any warm-blooded animal has the potential to carry and spread the disease via scratching or biting.

Squirrel Droppings

squirrel poop and squirrel infestation in attic
squirrel poop and squirrel infestation in the attic

In case you bump into rodent droppings in your household, you want to learn to distinguish the different types so that you can best proceed to trap the culprit. Without the knowledge of what rodent is dropping you are dealing with, it can be extremely difficult to find the best method to trap a rodent. Different rodents will need different trapping techniques, and your job will be a lot easier if you know who you are trapping.

In case you don’t live in an area with rats, but you bump into a bunch of pellets with rounded edges that are scattered all over and about 3/8 inches long, then it’s likely the droppings of a squirrel. Squirrel droppings vary, and they can be a little difficult to distinguish from rat poop.

Squirrel droppings are often a fraction narrower and longer than your normal rat poop. In case you find these under the feeder, in your attic or at the base of trees in your garden, they are likely to have been left by a squirrel. Squirrel poop is a potential health risk to those living around them. This is because squirrels are susceptible to both internal and external parasites. Therefore, living in an environment that is exposed to their risk can potentially harm human beings.

It’s advisable that you immediately get rid of the droppings once you spot them. Remember to always wear protective clothing when handling squirrel poop. Alternatively, you can contact your local wildlife removal service to help you with this task.

Identifying Squirrel Droppings?

Once squirrels get into your household or property, they will leave behind scattered pellets of their droppings everywhere. This often causes odour problems that’s a potential breeding site for mould. It’s also a potential pathogen and health risk, and its odour often contains pheromones that will attract other squirrels to your property. When squirrel poop and urine mix, they form a thick sludge that can leak through the drywall onto your ceiling. However, do not attempt to touch or clean squirrel poop without consulting your local wildlife removal expert or at least wearing protective clothing.

Squirrel droppings are a little difficult to identify, one of the reasons is because they closely resemble the features of other rodent droppings. They can, however, be identified as small brown pellets, that have rounded edges and are about half an inch in length. They will grow a shed lighter as they age, turning chalky in appearance.

Squirrel Droppings Identification

Squirrel droppings measure about 1/8 inch in diameter and 3/8 inches long. Since squirrels have a limited diet, the poop tends to be a consistent colour, usually black, brown or red although the colour becomes lighter with age.

The droppings are cylindrical-like pellets, bulging at the center and leading out to smoother pointed ends. Squirrels also tend to make latrines or a dedicated space where they will defecate consistently. You are more likely to find squirrel droppings in clusters rather than strewn all around the property as is common with rats. You will find the latrines near where the squirrels like to feed such as under the bird feeder or around where they are nesting such as the attic for indoor invasions.

Squirrel Droppings Vs Other Pest and Rodent Droppings

It may also be useful that you are able to identify other common household pests through their droppings to increase your chances of positively identifying the pest.

Squirrel Droppings: cylindrical shape and smooth, pointed edges, about 1/8 inch diameter and 3/8 long, found in clusters, black/brown/red colour that lightens with age.

Rat Droppings: rats have the highest amount of droppings compared to other pests and differ slightly depending on the species of rat. Norway rat feces is about ¾ inch long, rectangular shaped with blunt ends. The droppings are more likely to be scattered over a wide area and in clusters of about 20 or less. Roof rat droppings are about ½ inch long, sausage-shaped with pointed ends. Are more likely to be strewn randomly rather than clustered.

Mouse Droppings: about 1/8-1/4 inch long, pellet-shaped with seed-like appearance and strewn all over the house with a high concentration near food sources and nesting place. Feces are black or brown in colour and may have one round end and the other pointy or both ends pointy.

Bat Droppings: bat droppings are rice-shaped with segments and tend to be in a pile under where they are nesting. The feces break into a powdery substance when crushed and does not harden, unlike other pest’s feces. You may also find bat poop stuck to walls.

Squirrels are busy animals, and they will seldom stay in one location, meaning their droppings will be scattered all over. Normally, you will be able to find their droppings in areas where they eat. In case you identify any of these characteristics of droppings in your property, you have a squirrel invasion. The best line of action to take is to call a wildlife removal expert to help you trap and safely remove the pest.

squirrel droppings and poop danger infographic
squirrel droppings and poop danger infographic

How to Clean Squirrel Droppings – Step by Step Instruction

Squirrel droppings present a serious health risk and spread diseases including leptospirosis, Salmonellosis and tularemia. The cleaning process may seem excessive but it is important you take every precaution to protect yourself and your family from potential infection and contracting disease. Some of these pathogens can be inhaled so full protective gear is necessary before cleaning.

It makes sense that you first evict the animals and wildlife-proof your home before cleaning otherwise you will have to repeat this process endlessly.

Step 1: Preparation

Wear protective gear including rubber gloves, plastic bags or booties over your shoes, a face mask and a disposable jumpsuit as an extra precaution.  Open all the windows in the room for ventilation.

Step 2: Clean-up

Pour plain water in a spray bottle and spray down the feces and let it soak for about 20 minutes before cleaning. This is to prevent particles from becoming airborne while you clean. Pick up the large pieces by hand and place in a plastic bag. Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction to clean the rest of the poop. Clean the area thoroughly.

Step 3: Repair Damage

Depending on how bad or the location of the infestation, you may need to repair the damage. Squirrel feces and/or urine in your attic insulation almost definitely mean you need to replace it, especially for large infestations. Squirrel pheromones may have also soaked deep into your insulation. The pheromones can be picked up for up to a kilometre and signals to other wildlife an ideal nesting place. You may soon have wildlife attempting to break in and causing serious damage especially if you have squirrel-proofed your house.

Step 4: Disinfect

You may clean the area with a mixture of household bleach and water although an enzyme-based cleaner or antimicrobial spray works better. Use a spray bottle or fogger to disinfect. This step is crucial to kill any bacteria or fungi left behind by the wildlife.

 Step 5: Deodorize

Finally, spray the space with a latex-based kill stain to prevent the odours from spreading. This is especially important for attic infestations where the HVAC can quickly spread odours throughout your house. The agent locks in the odours.

Call a professional wildlife removal service in Toronto to clean up after a squirrel nest. It is highly likely that your insulation needs replacing. The animal droppings and pheromones are almost impossible to remove from insulation. A professional can clean and disinfect the area safely and manage any repairs that may be needed. Most importantly, the expert seals your home with galvanized steel mesh or metal flashing to keep wildlife out permanently. Err on the side of caution and hire a professional to clean up, squirrel droppings can be toxic.

Can you get sick from a squirrel?

Despite what many people believe to be nothing more than a nuisance that is no help to the earth, squirrels are not as bad as many people might think. These wild creatures are not much different than other animals that people might keep as pets. Some people do keep squirrels as pets instead of the usual dog or cat see the video below.

Squirrels are rodents after all and therefore being to the same family as the popular pet hamster, gerbil or guinea pig. That being said, however, is the plain statement that a squirrel is an animal. It must be remembered that any person can get sick from coming into contact with any animal. After all, many people become sick after coming into contact with other sick people as well.

So squirrels are no different. Although coming into contact with a squirrel proves no greater or lesser chance of getting sick when compared to getting sick from coming into contact from any other animal, the threat is still present. For example, squirrels, like any mammals, have hair. The issue with hair is that certain bugs can make nests in-between hair follicles. Such common hair nesting bugs include lice and ticks. These types of bugs pose a threat as they bite the skin under the hair which can cause itchiness, rashes, and eventually a harmful infection. Plus, like any animal species, squirrels can also contract various forms of dangerous bacteria.

One form of dangerous bacteria that squirrels have been known to contract and pass to humans is salmonella. Salmonella is a very dangerous form of bacteria. This form of bacteria can infect the person itself by invading the organs that are associated with the digestive system. This includes the stomach and intestines. This can occur either directly, such as a human coming into physical contact with the salmonella bacteria itself. Also, a human, or any animal, can come into contact with the salmonella virus by eating food or drink water that has become contaminated by the salmonella bacteria. So call Squirrel Control if you need with squirrel infestation in Toronto or the GTA.

Article Updated: January 27, 2020

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