Help For Your Backyard Wildlife
Each year around this time I start getting inquiries from people who are spotting
squirrels at their feeding stations that have lost
their hair - yes, bald! There are two more common skin conditions that can cause hair loss in squirrels.
One such response is caused by a mite that feeds on the blood of the squirrel by burrowing into its skin. This aggravating condition is called Sarcoptic Mange and does resolve with treatment. The mite causes tremendous itching which leads to a red crusty irritation that can be observed on the skin.
The other condition is called Dermatophytosis (this is NOT ringworm) which is caused by a fungus that attacks the actual hair shaft causing it to become dry and brittle leading to hair loss. The characteristic that distinguishes Dermatophytosis from Sarcoptic Mange is the lack of skin irritation/sores that are seen in mange.
Dermatophytosis is commonly seen near Winter’s end and beginning of Spring. It is rarely fatal and most squirrels recover on their own although YOU can speed the recovery along with good nutritional support. Because this condition is caused by a fungus, feeding chunks of raw coconut and coconut oil can be beneficial as it contains Lauric and Capric Acid which are antifungals!
“Chip” was released at Wild Again 2 years ago but still frequents the feeder and appears to be staying very healthy as indicated by his thick coat.