A Bit of a Bite

Now, some of you may be thinking that based on the title of this post that squirrels are evil and aggressive animals. This is not the case. I understand that these posts are about “the dark side of squirrels,” but I swear, squirrels really aren’t evil… just… just read the blog.

Getting bit by a squirrel really isn’t common, at all, but it does happen. Just as people get electrocuted by their toasters and fall into toilets , people also get bit by squirrels every so often. In fact, it is so rare to be bit by a squirrel that one squirrel bite occurs for every 100 dog bites and for every 10 human bites (I personally find that to be a creepy statistic but that’s what the source indicates so I figured I would include it.)  Realistically, squirrel bites only occur when you trap the creatures in a corner and harass them, or if you feed them and hold the food in your fingers rather than in your palm. But, if you do get bit by a squirrel, there are some steps you should follow in order to assure that the accident is handled in a safe and proper manner.

The first thing you should know when dealing with squirrel bites is that it is very uncommon for squirrels to carry rabies. Generally, animals that tend to carry rabies (raccoon, possums, etc,) are enemies of the squirrel, meaning that squirrels avoid these animals at all costs and very rarely does the disease spread to them. With this being said, it generally is not necessary to contact animal control unless you are beginning to clearly display signs of rabies.

Initially after being bit, it is a good idea to quickly wash the wound with luke-warm water and disinfect it with alcohol. After doing this, if you are still feeling uneasy about the accident, it may also be a good idea to take a trip to the hospital… which is apparently becoming more and more common for victims of squirrel bites. I say this because as of October of 2015, there is now a unique medical code for reporting a squirrel bite. You see, when you go to the hospital, depending on the illness or injury you have, there is a specific code to record it in medical records for reimbursement purposes. For example, when a patient shows up to a doctor’s office with the flu, the medical code is ICD-9-CM 487.1. For a squirrel bite, the code is W53.21XA. Isn’t that neat? I personally find that to be pretty entertaining. 

So, I think that’s about all you really need to know about squirrel bites folks. Don’t go around harassing squirrels and you should be able to avoid this situation entirely. So… just don’t harass them (AKA try to catch them. I know it’s tempting. Just don’t do it. Trust me, I would know.)

I’m kidding I haven’t tried to catch one more than once.

5 thoughts on “A Bit of a Bite

  1. Good to know I probably will not get rabies from a squirrel bite because going to this school, one weekend I am bound to try and catch a squirrel, probably not in my right state of mind, but in the back of my mind i’lll think to myself, “I can’t get rabies from a squirrel so who cares if I get bit.” Oh and btw I tried doing the squirrel call and no squirrels came running towards me but one did glance up at me.

  2. I was actually thinking about the abundance of squirrels on campus right as I clicked on your blog post. I was outside typing up my blog before class when multiple squirrels scurried by, ravishing the trash can. Anyway, I was hesitant to read on and find some disturbing facts, but again you provided very funny and intriguing facts (minus the one squirrel bite for every 10 human bites). I also wasn’t aware that hospitals had those certain codes, especially for a squirrel bite (but they might also have one for a horse kick too). Keep me updated on these random/bizarre/hilarious squirrel facts!

  3. My mom is a doctor and I’ll definitely tell her about the special medical code for squirrel bites, as I’m sure she’ll get a good laugh out of that. I also find it a bit disturbing that I am 10x more likely to get bit by a human than a squirrel… Also, like Takara, I was unaware of the fact that squirrels don’t often have rabies (although my preconceived notion is that if anything furry and wild bites me I’ll get rabies and die) so this post was just chalk-full of information I never knew I needed to know until now.

  4. The title of this post threw me off a bit. I expected an example of a horror story involving a squirrel bite, but was quite surprised to see an informative piece on what to do if bitten by a squirrel. While this is great knowledge to have, I hope I don’t have to use any of it soon. I also find that statistic highly offsetting as I would have never expected the rate of human bites to exceed dog bites, but hey some people are weird out there. The fact that squirrels have their own medical code is something I would have never expected either. Once again, you’ve delivered an entertaining post about squirrels. Keep up the great work!

  5. As usual, I loved reading your blog! The title was a little unsettling and I was afraid you were about to describe a Jaws like incident with a squirrel. Thank God you didn’t! I learned a lot from this post and I find that I will most definitely use it in a conversation one day. For one, I though squirrels did carry rabies…now I know that my initial fear of them was completely false. And the fact that it gets its own medical code is so cool! I hope to be a doctor and write it down one day.(:

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