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Wild Animals/skin lesions on squirrels


We have seen a juvenile gray squirrel with raw periorbital lesions (bilat) and bilat. raw lesions of both ears, resulting in the near destruction of both ears and near blindness.  A few round ulcerative looking lesions on tail.  Today saw a healthy adult with an oval 1 x 1/2 inch ulcerative type lesion on the abdomen-no central crusting on lesions of either animal.  Juvenile is debilitated but eating today (we supplied nuts/seeds).     Live in McLean, VA.  Sounds like what writer Candace described.  Trying to rescue the sicker one but no luck again today.  Can send pics if needed.  Concerned this is an infectious disease.  Any ideas?  Thanks.  Cheryl Alston, M.D.

Dear Cheryl

Without seeing and examining the squirrel, it's nearly impossible to guess what this could be.  It sounds like mange, which is quite treatable with selamectin (Revolution), but it might also be a bacterial infection or even a dermatophyte/ringworm fungus.

If you can capture the squirrel, it will be a lot easier to treat or at least get him to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who can help the little guy.  You can find a rehabber near you via this link:

Hope that helps.


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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