Why Squirrels Roll in Dirt?

Do you ever wonder why squirrels roll in dirt?

Well, it turns out that these furry creatures engage in this peculiar behavior because they are infested with botfly larvae.

Botflies lay their eggs in squirrel dens, and the larvae enter their bodies, causing subcutaneous lumps, irritation, and itching.

Rolling in the dirt helps squirrels find relief and scratch the itch.

In this article, we will explore the behavior of squirrels rolling in dirt, the effects and recovery from botfly infestations, safety precautions, and professional squirrel removal options.

Key Takeaways

  • Squirrels roll around in the dirt because they are infested with botfly larvae.
  • Rolling, jumping, and biting themselves are common behaviors exhibited by squirrels with botfly infestations.
  • It takes three to seven weeks for the botfly larvae to mature and fly away.
  • Severe infestations may have some long-term effects on the squirrels.

The Behavior of Squirrels Rolling in Dirt


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Squirrels roll in the dirt to alleviate the itch caused by the subcutaneous lumps created by botfly larvae. This behavior is a response to the irritation and discomfort caused by the presence of these larvae on their bodies.

Botflies play a significant role in squirrel infestations as they lay their eggs in squirrel dens, leading to the larvae entering the squirrels’ bodies through various orifices. To relieve the itchiness, squirrels engage in rolling, jumping, and biting themselves.

While there are no specific natural remedies for relieving squirrel itchiness, the larvae eventually mature and fly away, allowing the squirrels’ skin to heal.

To prevent botfly infestations in squirrels, it is crucial to discourage them from nesting in or near your property. Botfly infestations can impact squirrel populations, causing discomfort and potential long-term effects, but squirrels generally recover from these infestations.

Understanding Botfly Infestations in Squirrels


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During botfly infestations, squirrels may exhibit unusual behavior such as rolling on the ground or biting themselves. These behaviors are caused by the presence of botfly larvae, which enter the squirrels’ bodies through orifices and create subcutaneous lumps. The irritation and itching caused by these larvae lead to the squirrels’ rolling behavior, as they try to find relief.

While most squirrels recover completely from botfly infestations, severe cases may have long-term effects. In terms of prevention methods, it is best to leave squirrels exhibiting strange behavior alone, as approaching them may result in defensive actions. Contacting a professional wildlife control service is recommended for squirrel removal.

Natural remedies for botfly infestations in squirrels are not widely documented, so seeking professional help is the most effective approach.

Effects and Recovery From Botfly Infestations in Squirrels


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If you come across a squirrel with botfly infestations, it is important to know that the larvae will mature and fly away, allowing the squirrel’s skin to heal over time.

During the infestation, squirrels may experience itching and skin irritation due to the presence of subcutaneous lumps caused by the larvae.

The botfly life cycle involves the female botflies laying their eggs in squirrel dens, and the larvae entering the squirrel’s body through orifices. Once the larvae hatch, they migrate under the squirrel’s skin, creating small breathing holes and causing the development of subcutaneous warbles.

To alleviate the discomfort, squirrels may roll around or exhibit other unusual behaviors. While natural remedies and prevention methods are limited, it is best to avoid disturbing squirrels with botfly infestations to prevent further irritation.

In most cases, squirrels recover completely, but severe infestations may have long-term effects.

Safety Precautions and Risks of Approaching Squirrels Rolling in Dirt


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When encountering squirrels rolling in the dirt, it’s important for your safety to avoid approaching them. Squirrels may exhibit this behavior due to various reasons, including the presence of botfly larvae.

Approaching these squirrels poses risks such as potential diseases and self-defense actions from the squirrels. It is crucial to take safety precautions and avoid intervention.

Squirrels are known carriers of diseases like rabies, and even if a squirrel bites you in self-defense and doesn’t have rabies, it can still expose you to other diseases.

Therefore, it is best to leave the squirrels alone and not risk injury. By avoiding approaching squirrels rolling in the dirt, you can protect yourself from potential risks and ensure your safety.

Approaching Risks Safety Precautions Potential Diseases
Squirrels may feel threatened and defend themselves Avoid intervening and risking injury Squirrels can carry rabies and other diseases
Risk of being bitten Leave the squirrels alone Exposure to other diseases
Self-defense actions from the squirrels Take safety precautions

Late Summer Behavior and Symptoms of Botfly Infestations in Squirrels


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As we discussed earlier, squirrels rolling around in the dirt can be a sign of botfly infestations. To prevent such infestations, it is important to keep squirrel dens clean and free from botfly eggs.

Regularly inspecting and cleaning squirrel dens can help in identifying early signs of infestation. Some common signs of botfly infestations in squirrels include excessive scratching, biting, and the presence of subcutaneous lumps or warbles on their bodies.

If you come across a squirrel with botfly infestations, natural remedies such as applying a soothing and anti-itch solution can help relieve their discomfort. It is also crucial to understand the life cycle of botflies and their impact on squirrel populations to effectively manage infestations.

If you wish to observe and study squirrels with botfly infestations, it is essential to maintain a safe distance and avoid any direct contact to prevent injury or disease transmission.

Professional Squirrel Removal

Contacting a professional wildlife control service is the best solution for removing squirrels with infestations. They have the expertise and tools to safely and effectively remove the squirrels and address the infestation.

Prevention methods for botfly infestations in squirrels:

  • Keep your property clean and free of debris that may attract squirrels.
  • Seal off any potential entry points to your home or attic to prevent squirrels from nesting.
  • Trim tree branches that may provide easy access for squirrels.

Identifying signs of a botfly infestation in squirrels:

  • Look for squirrels exhibiting unusual behavior such as rolling on the ground or biting themselves.
  • Observe the presence of subcutaneous warbles or lumps on the squirrel’s body.
  • Notice any signs of irritation or excessive scratching in squirrels.

Natural remedies for relieving itching caused by botfly infestations:

  • Consult with a veterinarian for appropriate topical treatments or medications.
  • Provide the squirrel with a clean and comfortable environment to minimize stress and discomfort.
  • Avoid using over-the-counter human remedies, as they may be harmful to squirrels.

Understanding the life cycle of botflies and how they infest squirrels:

  • Female botflies lay their eggs near squirrel dens or nesting areas.
  • The larvae hatch and enter the squirrel’s body through various orifices.
  • The larvae develop under the squirrel’s skin, causing the formation of subcutaneous warbles.
  • Once mature, the larvae emerge from the warbles and fly away to reproduce.

The importance of maintaining a clean and pest-free environment to prevent botfly infestations:

  • Remove potential food sources and nesting areas that may attract squirrels.
  • Keep trash cans tightly sealed to prevent squirrels from accessing them.
  • Regularly inspect and repair any potential entry points to your home to prevent squirrels from entering.


In conclusion, squirrels roll in dirt as a response to botfly infestations. These infestations occur when botflies lay their eggs in squirrel dens, and the larvae enter the squirrels’ bodies. Rolling on the ground helps the squirrels alleviate the irritation and itching caused by the subcutaneous lumps.

This behavior, along with jumping and biting, is common in squirrels with botfly infestations. The infestation typically lasts for three to seven weeks, after which the squirrels’ skin heals as the larvae mature and fly away. While most squirrels fully recover, severe cases may have long-term effects.

It is important to avoid approaching these squirrels to prevent potential injuries or disease exposure. If squirrels become a nuisance, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional wildlife control service for removal.

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