Does a hairless bear even look like a bear? Not really — in fact, a bear without hair looks like a different creature altogether. Eve, a one-year-old black bear cub, was found rooting through trash in California around Christmastime in 2017 — but on first glance, people weren't even convinced she was a bear. Hairlessness isn't a natural state for bears, obviously, but Eve had mange, and one of the primary symptoms of a severe case of mange is hair loss.
Mange is caused by a small mite burrowing into and irritating the skin. The resulting symptoms can be anything from a rash, hair loss, scabs, and itchiness. Though mange is very common in animals and can easily be treated, the problem can sometimes be fatal to wildlife since it's difficult to treat those animals.
Mange is called scabies when it affects humans. Typically, it looks like bug bites. Though it's pretty rare for humans to get mange from animals, sarcoptic mange can be passed from one to the other. Mange is extremely contagious between other animals, however. This is how packs of coyotes or dens of foxes all end up with mange. As citizens spot hairless wildlife, many think they've found a bizarre new creature or a hybrid. However, nearly any animal can contract mange, from porcupines to wolves.
This Bear Cub Is Unrecognizable Because Of Severe Mange
A few good Samaritans in California were concerned after seeing an unidentifiable creature near some trash and reached out to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After being identified as black bear cub, the department called upon the Funds For Animals Wildlife Center for help with the naked cub.
After the center agreed to take the cub, she was driven to their facility on Christmas Eve — hence her new name, Eve. Despite the fact that she's hairless, Eve was otherwise pretty healthy. She did not have infections, nor was she malnourished. Eve now gets medicinal baths to help her cracked skin heal. The center expects Eve to be in rehabilitation for at least six months, possibly a year.
This isn't the first time the Funds For Animals Wildlife Center has had an animal with mange come through its doors. In fact, Eve is not the first bear with mange that they've treated. Coyotes and bobcats have also come for mange rehabilitation. The director of the center did say, however, that Eve the bear was the only completely naked animal they'd ever hosted.
Interestingly, though, Eve's path to the center was technically illegal. The State of California has a law against capturing/interfering with wild animals, as it is a safety issue. In this case, authorities understood the little bear's pressing situation and allowed Eve to stay. The center reports that Eve is recovering well in her temporary home.
Mange Is Often Fatal To Porcupines
Animals with fur are the only ones who can get mange. A wildlife rehabilitation center in Maine reports that over the winter, porcupines are their most common patient. Just like mange in any other animal, the mites get under the skin and cause itching. However, porcupines are serious about scratching — they will actually self-inflict gaping wounds. Because of this, many porcupines with mange cannot be saved.
The ones who can be saved need six months of treatment before they can go back to the wild. The porcupines often need surgery, medicinal baths, and more, but porcupines are not exactly willing patients.
Mange Is A Gross Problem To Have
Mange is an extremely common skin disease that can be found in almost any animal, including household pets like dogs and cats. External parasites called mites can cause irritation, hair loss, itchiness, and a rash by getting into the skin. Your dog naturally has some mites crawling around, but sometimes new mites can enter the population and wreak havoc — and cause mange.
There are a few types of mange. Localized demodicosis, caused by the normal mites your dog has, is the most common. 90% of the time, a pet won't need treatment and the condition will resolve itself. Generalized demodectic mange is similar to localized, but it spreads all over the body. If your dog develops this kind of mange, you can expect it to be stinky, itchy, and be prone to infection. Demodectic pododermatitis is less common, but it's more severe and harder to diagnose. It's also difficult to successfully treat.
Sarcoptic mange is the type of mange that can be given to humans, whereas demodectic mange cannot. While all mange causes a skin problem, sarcoptic mange is particularly itchy. In humans, sarcoptic mange can present itself as little bumps.
Whether human or animal, mange is easy to treat, but it requires medical attention. Your vet can take scrapings from the pet's skin in order to diagnose the disease and treat it appropriately.
Humans Can Get Mange 'Down There'
Yes, humans can get mange too — and in some not-very-fun locations. Scabies, the human version of mange, shares all the characteristics of mange. A mite in your skin causes an itchy, bumpy rash that will last for roughly two weeks. Luckily, scabies only affects your skin — but you do want to seek medical attention.
Scabies typically doesn't show up just anywhere. It likes folds of skin or webbing, so areas like the fingers and male genitals are prone to the disease. Yes, there are pictures, but don't say you weren't warned.
Scabacides can quickly take care of your itchy condition. Be sure to wash all your bedding and clothes to prevent reinfection, as mites may remain there.