My husband and 14 year-old son recently shared a popular YouTube video with me that they thought was hilarious. It’s the one called “Little girl plays with dead squirrel,” where an adorable little girl cuddles a dead squirrel while her dad videotapes and her mom looks on both mortified and amused.
I have to say I found it pretty funny, maybe that makes me weird and a bit warped but I’m guessing most parents could see their own young kid as the one cuddling the dead’and surprisingly injury-free’animal. We spent the rest of the day imitating the way the little girl says "squeal" instead of squirrel. As she flops it around, pats it with her hands and then cuddles it up to her neck you do start to wonder though, “Yikes, is that a rabies risk? Could she get some sort of disease?”
According to George Bubenik, a professor of Zoology at the University of Guelph, probably not. "If the animal did not bite the child before it died, I would not be too concerned," he explains. From the video it’s clear it was the family dog that did the squirrel in and not some sort of disease, and amazingly there are no telltale signs of the event on the poor little dead guy (ie. red stuff oozing out of him). “Most animal diseases are not transferable to humans. However, as demonstrated by Swine Flu, it can happen so I would watch the child for any signs of illness.”
Have your kids ever had a run-in with a dead animal? What did you do?
*With files from Melissa Greer, Best Health intern extraordinaire