Photo of squirrel infected with mange

What Is Mange?

Mange is a parasitic disease spread by microscopic parasites known as mites. These organisms infect the skin of animals or humans who are infected. Mites come in a wide range of species. Acariasis is the medical term for an infestation of mites.

Scabies is a type of mange that a mite family causes. Scabies is also the most common term for human cases, whereas mange is more commonly used for animal cases. Mites can be species-specific or affect a wide range of hosts. Mites cause a skin condition that is extremely itchy and reddened. 1Go To Source -“Acariasis Mange and Scabies”

Learn More: Wildlife Disease List

Which Species Are Affected By Mange?

Picture of bobcat being treated for mange

Sarcoptic mange has been found in more than 100 wild and domestic mammal species. Sarcoptic mange is common in North American animals, such as:

  • Red Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Gray Wolves
  • Red Wolves
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons 2Go To Source -“Mange”

Are Humans And Pets At Risk Of Mange?

Sarcoptic mange is extremely contagious to both dogs and people. Although sarcoptic mites cannot complete their life cycle on humans, they cause severe itching until they die. Because the mite can be found in areas frequented by infected dogs or foxes, keep your dog away from these areas to avoid infection.

How Is Mange Spread?

Sarcoptes mites are transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or through an infected environment (a coyote den or fox burrow, or even dog parks or grooming facilities). Infected animals can spread mange to bedding, clothing, in foilage in the wild. Mites reproduce in those infected areas and jump onto any mammal that comes into contact with them. 3Go To Source -“MANGE AND YOUR DOG”

How Do Pets Contract Mange?

When an infected animal comes into direct physical contact with others, mites are transferred to new hosts. Larvae and nymphs can also fall off the host animal and survive for several weeks in the environment. The mites can infect a new animal if it comes into contact with a contaminated environment (for example, moving into a shared nest or den).

It’s important to note that some wildlife is exposed to mange mites but shows no signs of infection; why some animals are more affected is still under investigation. Host species, mite variety, and general host health and immunity are all factors.

How Is Mange Spread To Humans?

Scabies and mange mites are extremely contagious. Physical contact with an animal or person who has mange and sharing clothes or bed linens can spread the infection. Mites can survive on animals or textiles for days. Sexual contact can also lead to scabies or another type of mange. Those who live with someone who has mange should seek treatment because it spreads quickly. Commonalities of people who contract mange:

  • Attending Child Care Or School Facilities Regularly
  • Live In A Crowded Environment
  • Weak Immune System
  • Poor Hygiene Habits
  • You’re A Small Child
  • Live Or Work At Hospitals/Nursing Home
  • Attending Child Care Or School Facilities Regularly

What Are Visual Signs Of Mange?

Image of a dog with the mange disease

Itching, redness, and a rash are all symptoms of mange. Symptoms of mange can appear up to four weeks after mites have infested your skin. The symptoms are caused by your skin’s sensitivity to the mites’ proteins and feces. Human mange is caused by a mite that lives on the skin for 10 to 17 days.

Mange on humans is typically found in these areas of the body:

  • Breasts
  • Bottom Of The Feet
  • Buttocks
  • Armpits
  • Knees
  • Wrists
  • Inner Elbows
  • Shoulder Blades
  • Genital

How Harmful Is Mange?

When the young animal’s immune system kicks in around the age of a year, most mange cases are resolved. However, if the immune system isn’t strong enough, and depending on which of the three mange species is present, the disease can quickly become widespread, even life-threatening, with hair loss, skin reddening, and severe secondary bacterial and fungal infections.

What To Do If You Or Your Pet Has Contracted Mange?

If your pets are showing signs of mange, keep them away from people and other pets. Since these mites are highly contagious, remove all pet bedding from the home. Contact a vet and take the animal in to get checked out. The veterinarian will be able to confirm that your pet has mange and will advise on what type of treatment is required.

If you believe that you have contracted mange from a wild animal or a pet, contact a physician right away. Mange is typically not fatal in humans, but having mange comes with health risks. If a wild animal on your property is the reason why your or your pet has mange, contact a wildlife removal professional to capture the animal. Allowing an infected animal to live on your property puts you at risk of catching the illness again.



  1. “Acariasis Mange and Scabies.” The Center For Food Security & Public Health, Iowa State University, Accessed 19 Mar. 2021.
  2. PGC. “Mange.” Pennsylvania Game Commission, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Accessed 19 Mar. 2021.
  3. “Mange and Your Dog.” CVMBS News, Texas A&M University, Accessed 19 Mar. 2021.