The Cutest Animals Who Carry Diseases

By Sarah M 7 months ago

Raccoons ... (Cute If You Ignore the Rabies)

Image Source: Reddit
I wonder if like me, your social media algorithm has become 90% videos of raccoons being cute and silly? If not, I truly pity you. You can imagine my shock, finding out that my new dream animal companion is actually the most common species to carry rabies?!

Beavers Too? DAM!

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Oh come on, leave these little guys out of it! They just want to mind their own business and build their dams and look ADORABLE doing it, right? Right?? Yeah, turns out even our cute friends the beavers carry endoparasites that can transmit giardiasis and tularemia to humans!

Plague Riddled Prairie Dogs

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It feels impossible for these cute creatures to be capable of infecting someone - we've all seen the sweet photos of them cuddling with their friends! Despite their adorable little faces and sociable nature, prairie dogs are actually carriers of the potentially fatal 'sylvatic plague'.

Rabbits (And Their Ringworms)

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For many of us, rabbits were our first pet and we feel a warm sense of nostalgia when we see these adorable animals hopping about in the wild. However, the next time you see one, you might want to bounce in the other direction as they are carriers of tularemia, ringworm and pasteurellosis!

(Oh) Deer (Oh) Deer

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Surely Bambi can't be carrying around any diseases? What is the world coming to?! Sadly deer can suffer from chronic wasting disease, foot and mouth disease, tuberculosis and 'blue tongue'. There have also been two cases of deer parapoxvirus transmitted to humans in the US.

Squirrels- Big Tails and Bigger Infections!

Image Source: Reddit
If you have ever put out bird food or tried to enjoy a picnic with one of these little guys near by, you will know how sneaky squirrels can be; and these cute creatures are known to carry LOTS of diseases. Don't let one bite you as it could result in ringworm, typhus or even tularemia!

Chicks ... Cute, Fluffy and Full of E.coli!

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A tiny, harmless little chick might seem like the perfect animal to let your small child hold... but do not be fooled by their adorably fluffy exterior! As your little one's immune system is still developing, they could contract diseases like salmonella and E.coli.

Chipmunks (Alvin's Got Salmonella)

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If you see a wild chipmunk scurrying down the road, please resist the urge to pop it in your pocket and take it home as a new friend! They may have a cute little body and kind eyes but these rodents carry the bacterial infection 'plague', hantavirus and salmonella.

Possums (Carrying More Than Just Their Babies)

Image Source: Reddit
Please don't try and tell me possums aren't cute - I will vehemently defend them and I do have all day. They may be famous for carrying numerous babies on their back but they also carry a crazy amount of diseases like leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and relapsing fever to name a few!

Sea Otters - Cuddly Yet Dangerous!

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There is absolutely nothing cuter in this world than two little otters holding hands whilst they sleep so they don't float away *weeps*. However, not everything about these affection-loving animals is quite so adorable. Otters can carry rabies, canine hepatitis and even flesh-eating parasites!

Guinea Pigs

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It's unthinkable to me that a creature with those little eyes and who communicates with those cute tiny squeaks could possibly be disease ridden! However, our favorite pet guinea pig could be carrying salmonella, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and a form of tuberculosis!

Bats

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Look, we all know bats are still a touchy subject after *cough* COVID *cough*; but other than potentially causing a worldwide pandemic, these cuties are also carriers of many other diseases. Our furry winged friends are long-term hosts for rabies, Marburg virus and Ebola.

Mice

Image Source: Reddit
These sweet little animals divide opinion; some of us squeal with glee when we see their little ears appear, others are more likely to jump on the couch and scream in fear! One thing is for sure, the scary thing about them is the typhus, plague and HPS they may be carrying.

Foxes

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It will never not feel exciting to see that famous shock of red fur run past me at night or catch one sniffing about my front lawn on the ring camera. However, don't be fooled by the fox's majestic features and fluffy tail, they also harbour lungworm, heart worm and flukes.

Cats

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Not me side eying my cat from over my laptop screen after learning what diseases she could potentially give me...I know, I know YOUR cat would never do that to you but in truth, our feline friends can carry toxoplasmosis, rabies, campylobacteriosis and roundworms.

Skunks

Image Source: Reddit
Why is something so smelly just so freaking cute?! I could gaze lovingly at these little stinkers all day, with their adorable button noses and signature stripe. However, I'll try not to get too close, as a scratch or bite from a skunk could result in rabies or hepatitis!

Turtles

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Our beautiful and wise friends the turtles are another one to watch out for...tiny turtles have become a worldwide trend over the last few years but be safe! These cuties carry salmonella which is easily passed on to kids who are handling or kissing them.

Geckos

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It is very common for amphibians and reptiles to carry salmonella bacteria in their digestive system. We are very unlikely to contact it from them in the wild, but some of them are so cute we have brought them into our homes. Watch out when cuddling and kissing your adorable pet gecko!

Seals

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I could look lovingly into a seal's big glassy eyes all day! These adorable creatures may look completely harmless as they bob about in the sea or recline on the beach, but don't be fooled! Contact with a seal's faeces could give you giardia which leads to diarrhoea!

Sugar Gliders

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If reincarnation is real, I want to come back as an adorable little sugar glider; it just looks so fun, eating snacks and taking flight all day! Sadly my dream animal may be infected with leptospirosis which can be passed onto humans and cause kidney and liver problems.

Monkeys

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I will never tire of watching nature documentaries about monkeys ... why are they just so bloomin' CUTE?! You may dream of a baby monkey climbing on your shoulders and giving you a big hug but if they bite you, you are at risk of herpes B virus and rabies!

Porcupines

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Why oh why would the universe make a creature with a face that cute, but with spikes that sharp?? As adorable as these spikey animals are, like all mammals they can contract and carry rabies. However, the biggest risk to humans is still being quilled!

Frogs

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I simply refuse to believe our springy little friends the frogs could harm us in any way! If you see one of these cute amphibians hopping out of a nearby drain, think twice before picking it up; frogs often carry salmonella which can make us humans very unwell.

Sea Lions

Image Source: Reddit
The adorable sea lion may have a few differences from their fellow pinnipeds the seal, like their loud bark and cute little ear flaps! However, like seals they can be carriers of diseases like influenza, herpesvirus, adenovirus, calicivirus and poxvirus.

Rats

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If you think of 'diseased' animals, the first name at the tip of your tongue is probably the rat. We are taught from a young age to fear these rodents but they can actually be lovely, affectionate and very clean pets. However, like other cute rodents they can carry numerous diseases.

Cows

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For some people cows are merely a source of food but many of us consider them a majestic and honestly, incredibly cute animal! Don't be deceived by their adorable 'moos' and often docile nature though, cows can be carriers of many diseases like chlamydiosis, leptospirosis and ringworm.

Puppies

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They may be man's best friend and woman's cutest companion but sadly like many other animals, your sweet new puppy could be a carrier of disease. Your pooch may carry bacterial infections like salmonella and brucella or viral infections like norovirus and rabies.

Miniature Goats

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If there is one way to make an already loveable animal even cuter, it's to make it mini! Despite their adorable exterior, these miniature cuties carry the same diseases as many other sheep and goats like ringworm, rabies, contagious ecthyma and campylobacteriosis!

Hamsters

Image Source: Reddit
They are one of our favorite animals to have as pets, even if their squeaking and running about does keep us up all night! They may be tiny creatures, but they could well be full of diseases like pseudotuberculosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and ringworm.

Lizards

Image Source: Reddit
Is there any image cuter than a tiny lizard sticking out it's tongue? I'll wait.As sweet as these lovely reptiles may appear to us, there are many diseases they may be carrying that can be passed on to humans like botulism, leptospirosis and salmonella.