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squirrels losing hair

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From: Gary Tesinsky
City:
Chicago, IL
We have been feeding our back yard squirrels for the fall and winter and we noticed that a few of them have missing fur. One has a patch missing down his back and under both arms. Also another has some missing on his whole chest. They are all eating and seem to have a good appetite. We feed them a variety of nuts ( walnuts, pecans, hazlenuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds). They also have fresh water daily. We do not feed them with feeders, we place the nuts in several places on the ground. They do not all congregate there, they each will grab a nut and go and eat it in a seperate area away from each other. My question is, is this mange or are they molting their fur early? I live in Chicago IL and it has been unseasonably warm here this winter. I have searched online and everything they say about mange is bad and that it is fatal. Can a squirrel overcome mange on it's own? And also with us feeding them, does this give them a good fighting chance?

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
The hair loss you have observed could be a result of several conditions. Notoedric mange, caused by a mite, is one possibility. Sometimes the hair loss can be fatal due to exposure in the winter. However, full recovery of squirrels has been observed in many cases. Access to clean water and a good food supply will help. 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.

 
From: debra dobler
City:
mount prospect, IL
Two squirrels have moved into a bird house in our back yard. One now has a large patch of missing fur on his back by his nect. Could the bird house be infected with mites?? What can we do to try and save the squirrel?? We don't know if it is the female or male but think one might be pregnant

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
Yes, birds often carry mites and if the box has been used recently it could contain mites. Though use of the box and the missing fur could be unrelated events. Are there any other squirrels in the neighborhood that are losing fur? Is it possible to take the box down and clean it with a 10% bleach solution?

 
From: Mary Jo NIeson
City:
Livonia, MI
I started putting diatomaceous earth in the areas where they feed. On their fur it will kill fleas, ticks and other kinds of bugs. NOt sure about mites but its worth the try. If they have worms and eat it this can help rid them so I sprinkle it in the area and on the feed. They werent deterred by it. My winter feeders looked good but these scraggly ones have been coming in this last few weeks.

 
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