Another reason not to keep squirrels as pets: A fun little brain infection called Bornavirus

Variegated Squirrel 3

Photo credit: budgora 

Watch out: This cute little guy, who’s native to Central America, could be harboring the deadly “variegated squirrel 1 bornavirus,” which appears to cause a slow, awful-sounding death from encephalitis, at least among three variegated squirrel breeders in Germany, reports Live Science and the European equivalent of the CDC:

“During the prodromal (symptomatic) phase, which lasted for two weeks or longer, the patients presented with fever and shivering, fatigue, weakness and walking difficulties. Due to increased confusion and psychomotor impairment they were admitted to neurology wards where they developed ocular paresis (<–weakness and paralysis in the eye muscles, causing things like crossed eyes and double vision). They rapidly deteriorated within a few days and died after some time in intensive care, despite mechanical ventilation.”

Ouch. We here at Squirrels, Squirrels, Squirrels want to remind readers that yes, while squirrels are abundantly charming and cute, they aren’t great pets for many reasons, including their rare-but-entirely-possible ability to transmit bornavirus to people.

Finally, an excuse to mention Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Ann...

Paul Rudd at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Annual Breakthrough Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure why this is news, or even in existence on the web.

But, in the interest of keeping my readers informed, especially my lady friends, here’s an awkward squirrel encounter by actor/Jayhawk heartthrob Paul Rudd:

He just pulled out a flattened squirrel,” Rudd said, of his buddy finding a dead squirrel in his couch.

Oh no! Large fluffy fox squirrel threatened by sea level rise

I work for an environmental non-profit, and I know all too well the hazards of escalating carbon emissions and the resulting climate change.

English: 1993-2010 sea level trends(mm/year). ...

Sea level rise: you’re awful. This is data for 1993-2010 sea level trends (mm/year).

Extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy. Ocean acidification wreaking our coral reefs. A shrinking polar ice sheet. Rising sea levels consuming coastlines. Lots of sweat at inappropriate times.

But I had no idea any squirrels were under threat, too. Precisely, the totally adorable yet oddly named Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Already endangered — thanks to its range that overlaps with some of the most populated areas on the planet (the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard) — this poor sub-species of the American Fox Squirrel doesn’t have the best long-range prognosis for survival.

Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps.

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps?

Delmarva Fox Squirrel (Chincoteague NWR)

Seek higher ground, squirrel friend. (Chincoteague NWR) (Photo credit: stinkenroboter)

Sigh. Well, anyway, here’s the details:
Delmarva animal among most threatened by sea-level rise, group says