Can Birds Get Rabies? Here’s What You Need to Know

Can Birds Get Rabies?

Rabies is a fatal disease that affects mammals, including humans. It is caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system and leads to inflammation of the brain. The virus spreads through close contact with infected saliva or tissues, such as bites or scratches from an infected animal.

Birds are not mammals and cannot contract rabies in the same way as other animals do. This means they cannot get sick with rabies like dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks and other animals can. However, there has been some controversy over whether birds can be carriers of the rabies virus.

Transmission of Rabies

The most common mode of transmission for rabies is through bites from infected animals. When an infected animal bites another mammal it transfers the virus via its saliva into their bloodstream which then travels up to their brain where it causes inflammation leading to severe illness or death.

In rare cases where a bird does come into direct contact with an infected mammal’s saliva or blood (e.g., if they feed on an already dead animal), they may become contaminated with the virus themselves but chances are slim due to avian anatomy.

Why Birds Are Not Susceptible To Contracting Rabies

Birds have different physiological characteristics than mammals; their body temperatures run higher than ours (typically between 105°F -107°F) making them incredibly resistant to many things that would typically affect us such as viruses like Staphylococcus aureus and even anthrax spores which are lethal for humans at lower temperatures in comparison.

Moreover, birds lack certain receptors on cells necessary for viruses like rabies to attach themselves too when invading host cells because these receptors only exist among mammals’ cell types but not within avian biology thus allowing them off-the-hook for having susceptibility risks associated with this disease altogether!


In conclusion, while there have been isolated instances where birds have contracted rabies after coming into direct contact with infected mammals, the risk is very low. Birds are naturally resistant to the virus because of their unique biology and physiology.

While it’s still important to treat any wildlife that you come into close contact as if they could potentially have rabies (just in case!), birds should not be subject to fear or unnecessary persecution for a disease that poses little threat to them.

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