Is squirrel feces dangerous to touch or breathe?

If you plan to get rid of squirrels in your attic you should be prepared to deal with their feces as well. Squirrels take a spray approach when eliminating waste thus it is normal to find their droppings spread over a wide area. The feces might carry harmful bacteria. You should always wear protective gear when dealing with them.

Distinguishing squirrel feces
Squirrel and rat droppings are almost identical. It is important to be aware the feces are from which animal before handling. Characteristics you should look out for in squirrel feces are:

• Rusty brown/reddish/light brown color
• Thick pellets with rounded edges (rice shaped)

Health risks posed by touching squirrel feces
Many rodents including squirrels can be a source of leptospirosis and salmonella infections. Leptospirosis normally manifests as a mild flu-like illness characterized by headaches, fever and pains along with chills. The mild form of the disease is most common and can be treated with antibiotics. Salmonella is a well known disease commonly referred to as food poisoning. It also occurs in its mild form but in some cases it may lead to death. The best way to avoid infection is by observing proper hygiene practices such as washing hands before meals.

Health risks posed by breathing squirrel feces
Squirrel feces may contain spores or bacteria that become airborne when disturbed. Breathing in the contaminated air might expose you to the risk of contracting tularemia. Tularemia is spread by light bacteria called Francisella tularensis whose mode of transmission is air. Tularemia is a dangerous disease and can be life-threatening. Its mild forms can be treated with antibiotics.

Removal of squirrel feces
It is advisable to call the local department of sanitation or animal control who are trained in the best ways to handle the feces. In some instances where you have the option of removing the droppings yourself you should wear protective gear to prevent skin contact with the poop. Wear a mask in order to prevent contraction of airborne diseases. Pick the feces with a shovel having long handles. If the infestation has been bad you may consider using a powerful vacuum cleaner then you can finally put the waste in a plastic bag for the county to collect.

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