It’s no secret that chipmunks are cuddly and cute, but that’s only until they get scared or stressed. Surprisingly, they can get too aggressive when they feel threatened. You’ll be surprised at how angry these tiny folks can get!
Due to their tiny size and fragile nature, chipmunks get scared of almost everything. They usually run away when they sense danger, but in many cases, they can show aggression by biting or scratching.
But how dangerous is a chipmunk bite?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about chipmunk bites. Starting from why chipmunks bite to what to do if a chipmunk bites you. So let’s dive straight into it.
Chipmunks are wild animals, so despite their seemingly cute appearance, they don’t belong within close proximity to humans.
These tiny rodents can be too aggressive when they feel they’re in danger. They’ll likely attack by biting or scratching, and they have sharp teeth, so their bite can be too painful.
Chipmunks will usually run away when they see humans or animals nearby. They’re used to hiding in their tunnels and burrows and only get outside to hoard food. But what about those videos of people feeding chipmunks?
Well, some chipmunks get used to interacting with humans, particularly ones who live in urban or suburban areas. They spend more time in human territories such as gardens, backyards, and hedges, looking for food. So, they may be more friendly with us, but that doesn’t mean they won’t bite when things go south.
The main problem is that chipmunks and many other rodents are too sensitive and may perceive even minor movements or sounds as threats.
For example, in this YouTube video, you’ll see a girl feeding a wild chipmunk in a botanical garden. In the beginning, the girl normally approaches the cute chipmunk and tries to feed it by hand.
The chipmunk acts normally and eats directly from her hand. However, she tries to pet him gently after feeding him, when suddenly, the chipmunk bites her finger and runs away in a blink of an eye!
Chipmunks have sharp teeth, so you’ll likely feel plenty of pain, but luckily, the bite isn’t too dangerous.
Rodents usually give shallow bites, but you’ll find the wound bleeding shortly after the bite. There’s no reason to get scared, but it’s better to react quickly to prevent the injury from getting infected.
Here’s what to do if you ever found yourself in this unfortunate situation:
- In case the bite is bleeding, cover the area with a bandage and apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with water and soap for at least two minutes.
- Don’t rub or scrub the wound to avoid bruising the tissue.
- Apply an antiseptic cream or ointment to protect the wound against infections.
- Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
- Monitor the bite area for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage.
- Consult your healthcare provider to see if you need additional treatment, such as a rabies vaccine, antibiotics, or a tetanus booster shot.
Chipmunks are small rodents, so they can typically carry rabies and other viruses, pests, and diseases, such as lice and mites. However, chipmunks usually don’t carry rabies.
According to the CDC, small rodents like chipmunks rarely carry rabies and can’t transfer it to humans. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible for chipmunks to carry rabies. Why?
There’s one documented incident of a rabid eastern chipmunk who bit a 5-year-old boy in South Carolina. After analyzing a specimen from the chipmunk, it was confirmed that it was infected with rabies.
It’s worth noting that this is a one-off case, and there have been very few reports to the CDC about rabid chipmunks.
But remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. We strongly recommend you consult your doctor if any animal or rodent has bitten you.
Even though chipmunks don’t usually carry rabies, they can transmit multiple diseases, such as Salmonella, Lyme, Plague, Sylvatic Typhus, and Leptospirosis.
If a chipmunk carries any of these diseases, it can transmit it to humans through various methods, not just bites and scratches. For example, if you accidentally touch a surface on which an infected rodent has been, you might catch any of these diseases.
That’s why health officials advise people to follow certain precautions when dealing with chipmunks and other rodents:
- Avoid feeding small rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks.
- Don’t camp near rodent burrows and tunnels.
- Never get close to sick, injured, or dead rodents.
- Don’t allow your pets to explore rodent burrows and hide spots and use flea protection for your pets regularly.
As you can see, chipmunks, squirrels, and small rodents may look cute, but they’re generally unsafe to interact with.
Since they’re wild animals, their mouths, skin, and bodies can harbor various types of bacteria and viruses that can cause severe health issues when transmitted through a bite wound.
Now that you know everything about chipmunk bites, it’s clear that they’re not safe to interact with, despite their innocent and cute appearance. While the chances of getting bitten by a chipmunk are slim, you should still be cautious and know how to react if such an incident occurs.
As long as you don’t try to touch, pet, or corner a chipmunk, it will likely just run away when it sees you. They’re far too busy gathering nuts and seeds for winter to bite a random passerby.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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