Are Earwigs Harmful to Cats?

Are Earwigs Harmful to Cats

Earwigs are pretty scary looking little critters. They have those sharp pincers, long antenna, and can be easily mistaken for a cockroach out the corner of the eye.

If you have earwigs in your home or garden you’re probably wondering – are earwigs harmful to cats?

You might even be wondering if they can hurt you!

The short answer is no, not really.

I’ve been nipped a few times by earwigs, and while it doesn’t feel great it’s not that painful.

Most importantly they look a lot more dangerous than they really are. They don’t possess any venom or anything like that, they just give a little nip with their pincers to defend themselves.

This doesn’t mean your cat won’t get an unpleasant surprise if they are sticking their noses in places they shouldn’t however.

But a nip on the nose is the worst that can happen.

If you’re interested to know more about earwigs, please read on. They are interesting little critters!

What Are Earwigs and Where Do They Live?

Earwigs have been around since the Triassic period like a lot of insects, so that’s a testament to how good they are at surviving.

While you never want to see these little insects in or around your home, they aren’t dangerous and it’s not often you’ll see them indoors.

They typically live in dark and damp places outdoors. This is why it’s not common to see them indoors (unless you have damp and dark places indoors!)

If it’s particularly dry outside and food is scarce the most common places you’ll see them is around your cat’s water bowl, on cold tiled floors, so the bathroom of kitchen mainly, and around pipes.

There are reportedly more than 1,000 species of earwig all over the world. The most common types look like the one in the image, long with a brown body, those distinctive pincers, and reddish heads.

You can tell male and female earwigs apart if you’re interested. The males have curved pincers, while the female’s pincers are straight.

Something interesting I found out from doing some research for this article that I never previously knew – earwigs have wings and can fly but rarely do!

They feed on plants, seeds, other insects, and will feed on bits of debris and dead animal matter.

Are Earwigs Harmful to Cats? – No

As mentioned above, although earwigs look like they can do some damage with their pincers they don’t pose a threat to cats (or humans).

They don’t carry any venom and don’t sting. The worst you can get from one is a small scratch or little pierce holes where they nip you.

They aren’t aggressive, they will typically only use their pincers to nip at predators or when they feel threatened, and it really doesn’t hurt very much.

Because they are so small the only place they can really get a good nip on a cat would be on their face or ears as this is where they have the least fur protecting them.

I imagine the worst that can happen would be an overly curious cat getting nipped on the nose while investigating or trying to play with an earwig.

Nothing a little fussing and a couple of treats won’t solve I’m sure.

If you’re interested in learning more about cats and insects check out these posts:

Why do cats eat flies?

Can cats eat grasshoppers?

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