If you are a home, business, or rental property owner, you may face the prospect of having to address an animal infestation of some type, as well as animal infestation cleanup. Indeed, odds are strong that you’ll face such a situation at some point in time. In Southern California, the most common types of infestations of this nature involve rats and mice. With that said, with some regularity a person experiences a squirrel infestation and the necessity for appropriate squirrel infestation cleanup. With that in mind, there are some basic facts and factors to bear in mind when it comes to squirrel infestation cleanup.
Are Squirrel Droppings Dangerous?
A main question is whether squirrel droppings present a danger to humans. Rat and mouse droppings can carry highly dangerous pathogens that are capable of causing serious illness and disease. The simple answer to the question about the danger of squirrel droppings is that they can carry certain types of pathogens that do have the potential for causing disease.
There are two types of bacteria that can be found in squirrel feces. These are leptospirosis and salmonellosis. Leptospirosis actually can be found both in squirrel feces and urine. This bacterium can infect humans via direct contact with squirrel feces or urine. It can also contaminate food and water and infect a person through one or another of these “vectors.” (A vector is the vehicle through which a dangerous pathogen or germ can be transmitted to a person.)
A leptospirosis infection can result in milder flu-like symptoms. While unpleasant, in the end in this type of less serious infection, an infected person recovers with relative ease. With that said, there are a small number of leptospirosis infections that cause serious illness. Specifically, in the case of a serious leptospirosis infection, a person can end up with severe respiratory issues. In rare cases, a leptospirosis infection can prove fatal.
The second type of disease-causing pathogen that can be found in squirrel droppings is salmonellosis. A salmonellosis infection typically results in unpleasant although not particularly serious consequences. These include nausea, fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Fatal salmonellosis infections are extremely rare.
An infection caused by the salmonellosis bacterium oftentimes is called “food poisoning.” The reason this is so is because a person typically contracts a salmonellosis infection when squirrel feces or urine contaminate food or water. It is also possible to contract the salmonellosis bacterium through direct contact with squirrel feces or urine. There is evidence to suggest that if dry squirrel droppings that contain salmonellosis are disturbed, the possibility exists for this bacterium to become airborne. Thus, it is possible that a person could contract salmonellosis by breathing in aerosolized squirrel feces dust containing this bacterium.
There are a trio of other health hazards associated with squirrels in some instances:
A person is not a risk of contracting rabies through contact with squirrel rabies. That requires direct contact with a rabid squirrel, via a bite or scratch. Having said that, rabies in squirrels is extremely rare. Indeed, it is so rare that if a person enters an emergency room because of a squirrel bite or scratch, the treatment protocol doesn’t include testing for rabies as a general rule.
Direct contact with squirrel feces can result in the spread of fleas or ticks to a human. In the United States, fleas are perceived as less dangerous than ticks. Fleas from squirrels typically prove highly irritating but not likely to be disease vectors as far as humans are concerned.
On the other hand, ticks do provide a rather significant health hazard for humans. Ticks found on squirrels or even on or near squirrel feces may carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What that means is that it is the disease most commonly transferred to a human from something else.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Skin rash (known as erythema migrans)
Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
Identifying Squirrel Droppings
Squirrel droppings look similar to rat feces, although they tend to be slightly larger. In addition, squirrel droppings are a bit lighter in color than rat droppings. Squirrel feces have rounded ends and rat droppings have pointed ones.
Rats and mice defecate wherever they happen to be at the moment. On the other hand, squirrels defecate in specific locations, creating what oftentimes are referred to as latrines. Thus, when you have a squirrel infestation in your home, business, or rental property, you will find droppings in piles at different locations in the space in which the animal or animals are harboring.
Squirrel Infestation Cleanup and Removal of Squirrel Droppings
Because squirrel droppings can contain pathogens that theoretically can become airborne and infect a person involved in the cleaning process, the first step to take in eliminating or removing these feces is to saturate them with a sanitization agent. There are products of this nature that you can purchase at home improvement centers like Home Depot. In addition, you can prepare an appropriate solution on your own. This can be accomplished by blending 1-part chlorine bleach with 9-parts of water.
Once you saturate a pile or latrine of squirrel feces with sanitization solution, let it soak for about 20 minutes. At that juncture, you can more safely remove the feces from the contaminated area in your home, business, or rental property.
Place the squirrel droppings into a sturdy bag or other type of container that can fully be sealed. You need to pay attention to local ordinances regarding the manner in which squirrel feces can be disposed of. You very well may be able to dispose of them through your solid waste or trash pickup system.
Once the squirrel droppings have physically been removed, you will want to use the sanitization solution again. You will want to apply the solution to the contaminated areas. In this instance, you can leave the solution in place to dry.
If a stench lingers from a squirrel infestation, that also needs to be addressed. There are powerful deodorization agents that typically make the most sense for address odor associated with animal infestation.
Because there is some health risk associated with this animal infestation cleanup involving squirrels and squirrel droppings, you may want to consider the benefits of hiring a professional. A skilled, experienced squirrel infestation cleanup company can safely remove this waste from your residence, thoroughly sanitize and deodorize the premises, and restore your home, business, or rental property to a fully usable condition.