Why Do Squirrels Lose Their Hair?There are three primary causes of hair loss in squirrels. If you see a squirrel with bald patches, you can assume that it is for one of these reasons:
- The squirrel may have inherited a gene from its parents that causes patches of skin with hair follicles that do not function or are completely absent. In this case, the squirrel has not lost its hair. In the affected areas of skin, it never had any in the first place. Though the animals affected never have normal hair growth, it does not appear to have an adverse effect on them.
- The most common cause of hair loss in squirrels is dermatophytosis, which is a fungal infection. It is a temporary condition; eventually, the infection is fought off by the squirrel's immune system. The hair grows back, and the squirrel suffers no long-term ill effects. Fungal infections are more likely to occur during damp weather. They cause the hair to break off close to the root. However, while the spot on the squirrel's skin appears bald, there is actually a fine stubble over the skin that is shorter than the squirrel's normal hair.
- Furred animals like squirrels are susceptible to hair loss due to a condition called mange. It is caused by a parasitic infestation by small, eight-legged creatures called mites. To survive, the mites burrow under the skin of the squirrels. In addition to hair loss, this causes irritation and redness of the skin, which later becomes darkened, thickened, and drier than it used to be. The species of mites that cause mange in squirrels don't spread to any other species.