Squirrels can’t drink water from a creek because it’s too salty and too acidic, but the critters are ingesting enough contaminants that their water may become contaminated, according to a study published in the Journal of Toxicology.
The findings suggest that squirrels could become a new target for waterborne pathogens in the wild.
Squirrels are the world’s largest terrestrial vertebrates, with an average weight of more than 30 pounds and a long life span of between about 40 and 65 years.
It takes about 200,000 to 300,000 years to develop a squirrel from a single male, according a study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
“The more exposure a squirrels is exposed to in its environment, the more vulnerable it is to disease,” lead author of the study, University of Minnesota researcher Michael W. Czolinski, told The Associated Press.
“It’s a really hard question to answer.
The number one factor is how much exposure is present in the environment, and then you need to consider the amount of that exposure that the squirrels are getting.
It’s just a really, really hard thing to answer.”
Czolinksi’s research is the first to show that the presence of contaminants in squirrels’ drinking water could increase their risk of developing a type of cancer called cryptosporidiosis.
“There’s not a lot of data that shows that squirrel drinking water is a safe drinking water,” he said.
“So the best thing you can do is to get them drinking water that’s not so contaminated and not too polluted that they’re at risk for developing cryptospora, which is a serious illness that affects the lungs.”
While most squirrels don’t develop cryptospecies, the research suggests that some species do.
Squirrels are especially susceptible to cryptosperm infections because their bodies contain fewer genes that control the growth and development of their eggs, according the U,S.
National Academy of Sciences.
In the U.”s., the highest risk for cryptosportiosis is for squirrel-housed ponds, where squirrels can drink water for weeks or even months without being exposed to contaminants.”
In ponds, they’re basically exposed to very high levels of contaminants.
This is a major environmental issue,” he added. “
If they were drinking their water from the street, they’d be getting 100,000 microgram per liter.”CZolinski said squirrels may also be at risk because their drinking water isn’t filtered.
“This is a major environmental issue,” he added.
“It is a problem that needs to be addressed.”
Czekolski said the study provides new information about how squirrels become infected with cryptospray disease, which affects about 1,500 species of birds, including ducks, geese, squirrels and rabbits.
The researchers used fecal samples from squirrels collected between December 2010 and March 2011 in Wisconsin and North Dakota.
In addition to waterborne contaminants, the researchers also looked at the urine of the animals and determined how many bacteria and viruses were present.
Squid fecal microbes can be identified with the use of a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that has shown promise in the identification of bacteria in fecal matter.”PCR is really good at identifying the bacteria and it can be used to look for the specific genetic changes that have caused cryptosparies, but we haven’t had enough data to do that,” Czekolsinski said in an email.
“PCR can identify specific genetic mutations that cause the disease, but it can’t tell us what causes it.”