Skip to comments.Time of year for squirrels to go nuts [Florida]
Posted on 09/08/2006 12:19:46 PM PDT by dukeman
LEE COUNTY-- The state wildlife officials say they are getting numerous calls about squirrels that seem to be "going nuts," but officials say the odd behavior is actually a natural occurrence caused by a parasite.
Callers reported seeing squirrels rolling around on the ground and jumping in the air. Many say it looks like the animal have gone crazy. They also tell officials the squirrels appear to have large lumps on their bodies.
Scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say the odd behavior and lumps are caused by parasites. The lumps are subcutaneous warbles and they are caused by the larvae of insects commonly known as bot flies.
Adult female flies lay eggs near squirrel dens. The eggs hatch when exposed to sudden increases in temperature or moisture, such as when the animal grooms itself. The larvae then enter the mouth, nose or other body openings and migrate to a location just beneath the skin where they cut a little hole so they can breathe and continue to develop. This process takes three to seven weeks, depending on the species of fly and host, and causes itchy swellings that range from half an inch to one inch in diameter. After the larvae emerge from the skin, the lesions may become infected, but they normally heal without complication.
In gray squirrels, larvae are most abundant in late summer and fall, which is why people are seeing the lumps right now according to FWC wildlife biologists. They said most of the squirrels will suffer no permanent effects from the parasites, however, a few may become debilitated by heavy infestations.
There is no safety threat to humans or pets from the hosts or their larvae. The FWC said the best thing to do if you see squirrels exhibiting these characteristics is simply to leave them alone and let nature take its course. Eventually the larvae will emerge and the squirrels will continue to go about the business of being squirrels.
Global Warming, clearly (and therefore Bush's fault)
My daddy told me young... never bring home the squirrels or rabbits you shoot in late summer. They're always buggy and fulla'worms. ;)
I've seen squirrels here in the Mobile area with these bumps. The squirrels will scratch the skin hairless around the bumps.
I knew the engineer who used to run our county's landfill. He called the seagulls which always flocked around the dump "Rats with wings!"
"The lumps are subcutaneous warbles and they are caused by the larvae of insects commonly known as bot flies."
"Bot" larvae? Is there a human strain? Must be, but why do they prefer leftists? Bad hygiene?
hmm...never noticed this before.
Any risk to my dog?
I had one going crazy today running up and down the screens on my Florida room.
Actually, squirrels and rabbits are lagomorphs, not true rodents.
Something that gets on my nerves is when they refer to shrews and bat as rodents. I've heard them do this on the Discovery Channel of all places.
Don't feel bad. I thought this post was about Katherine Harris.
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