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Squirrel with bald spots

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From: LJ Kozek
Braidwood, IL
We are avid backyard bird feeders. So we also have squirrels. We enjoy watching the squirrels in our yard. Our feeders are squirrel proof but they clean up under the feeders. We have one squirrel that has no hair on his back around his neck. Can it be mange and what should be done? He is eating well but he looks bad without all his fur?

Thanks, LJ

Extension Message
From: David Shiley
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Coles/Cumberland/Douglas/Moultrie/Shelby Unit
The hair loss you have observed might be a result of several conditions. Notoedric mange caused by a mite, Notoedres douglasi, which is host specific to squirrels, might be one possibility. Sometimes the hair loss can be fatal due to exposure in the winter. However, full recovery of the squirrel has been observed in many cases. There are also several superficial fungal diseases that can cause hair loss. Squirrels will often develop a an immune response to these infections, recover and regrow their hair. Treatment for either condition is not practical for wild squirrels. If it is still eating well at your feeder, that may be a sign that its immune system is functioning well, and perhaps on its way to recovery. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

From: Sandy C.
Bronx, NY
I too have noticed two squirrels in my back yard with several bald spots on their bodies. One of them in particular has an open wound on its face; I recall seeing the scab a couple of weeks back but now it is bloody and pretty ugly... Would you say that it is the same issue?

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Probably so. You can't be sure without testing them.

From: Lisa Guadagnoli
Des Moines, IA
for balding squirrells

Dermatophytosis is caused by a fungus that attacks the shaft of the hair where it emerges from the skin. Since it attacks the hair and causes it to become brittle, the hair breaks off at the skin line and falls off leaving a bald area, but no obvious skin irritation. This condition is common in late Winter and early Spring. The treatment is nutritional support. It's usually not fatal and the squirrel will recover from it over time. Feeding squirrels chunks of raw coconut and raw coconut oil can help, because the Lauric Acid and Capric Acid in the raw coconut oil is anti-fungal.

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