Are Silverfish Poisonous? Humans/Dogs/Cats covered and More!

If you occasionally spot a tiny wriggling silverfish slipping around in your home or find one curled in the bottom of a cup, it might give you some cause for alarm, especially if you have pets or small children in the house who might try to eat the silverfish.

That might set you to wondering whether silverfish are poisonous to various animals that you might have in the home – and we’ve looked at all the answers to see whether they can pose any threat to any household animals.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Cats?

Cats are particularly keen hunters and will often pat, bat, and sometimes ingest anything that they find that moves. It’s reasonable to be worried about your cat eating a silverfish, but silverfish are not harmful to cats and even if your cat eats one, he won’t suffer any ill effects from it.

Silverfish may not look like a tasty snack to you – indeed, many people feel that they look positively dangerous – but if your cat takes a fancy to playing with them, you can rest assured that he shouldn’t suffer any ill effects from the game (although the silverfish probably will).

Your cat can safely bat the silverfish around as much as he likes, as they are not venomous or poisonous, and don’t sting. If your cat decides that he fancies making a meal of the prey, you still don’t need to worry. You may not want your cat to eat silverfish, but he won’t be hurt by doing so.

Ideally, if you spot your cat playing with a silverfish, you should probably take the silverfish away to stop the cat from eating it as cats don’t need to eat silverfish and this is not a very nice thing to do, but if you aren’t bothered by it, there is no reason to worry about your cat’s health.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Dogs?

You might wonder whether silverfish are really large enough to gain the attention of a dog, and many dogs are likely to ignore them, but not all do. Those that do interact are not in any danger of getting hurt by taking an interest, fortunately.

Silverfish are more likely to be active at night, so if your dog comes across one scuttling around, he may take an interest in the little thing.

Most dogs don’t play the way that cats do, but they may still decide to hunt a silverfish at times. This will likely result in the dog eating the silverfish, but fortunately, this is not dangerous for any party except the silverfish.

Silverfish aren’t toxic to dogs and even if your dog eats quite a few, it shouldn’t suffer any ill effects. You may want to stop your dog purely because it isn’t a very nice thought, but you don’t need to worry from the perspective of health – the silverfish shouldn’t do your dog any harm whatsoever.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Humans?

No, silverfish are not poisonous to humans. You are unlikely to be eating these things, but if you have small children and you share your home with silverfish, you might be glad to hear that your kid won’t suffer any ill effects from putting one of these in their mouth.

They also do not bite, and are unlikely to harm a child or adult if they are caught. It is fairly unlikely that your child will be able to catch a silverfish anyway (or that you will, for that matter) as they move very quickly and will dive into cracks or crevices to escape being caught.

However, it may still set your mind at rest to learn that they are not toxic to people, and if your child does accidentally end up ingesting a silverfish or two, they will not be harmed by it. Although they look alarming, silverfish have no stings and do not bite, so they don’t pose any major danger to people.

However, it is worth noting that some people are allergic to the skin that silverfish shed. These creatures shed their skin on a regular basis as they molt and grow, leaving behind tiny bits of scale and skin.

For some people, this causes an allergic reaction, so if you or someone in your household turns out to be allergic to silverfish, you will need to take action to get rid of them. A silverfish infestation can grow quickly, and you don’t want them around, especially if you are allergic to them.

Silverfish can usually be dealt with in natural ways, by using things like essential oils or diatomaceous earth, without needing chemicals or professional input.

Diatomaceous earth is not toxic to your pets or kids, but it should be applied with care, and small children should be kept away from it. If inhaled, it can irritate the lungs, and it will also dry out your skin if you touch it.

This is why it works on insects; it helps to pull out the moisture in their skin and will kill them. It is also sharp and abrasive. As well as sprinkling this, you should seal up cracks and crevices, deal with any dripping faucets or damp corners, and remove food sources regularly.

Silverfish feed on a lot of different things so the latter may be difficult, but regular vacuuming will pick up dead skin and dust and give them less to eat, as well as making their home less hospitable.

A small amount of silverfish can be peacefully put up with if nobody in the household is allergic, so don’t panic if you see one of these things wriggling around – but if you or someone in the household suffers from allergies or you start seeing a lot of them, you’ll need to take action.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Rabbits?

If your bun is permitted to hop around the house from time to time, you might be worried about him coming into contact with and possibly eating silverfish. While rabbits don’t tend to eat insects, you might be concerned – and you don’t need to be, because silverfish won’t hurt rabbits.

The chances are, your bunny won’t even pay attention to the little scuttling bugs. They may watch them if the two happen to end up in the same place, but on the whole, it’s likely that interactions between them will be minimal.

Rabbits don’t hunt, so they are unlikely to try and chase the silverfish, and the silverfish may avoid them as a potential predator (even though they aren’t), so they will probably rarely come into contact.

It is possible that silverfish may be attracted to veggies in your rabbit’s cage as a potential food source, although they are unlikely to do any harm, even if they do visit.

It may be best to move the rabbit’s cage if you think silverfish are getting in, as this will remove a food source from them and reduce the chances of the infestation growing. However, they aren’t likely to do any direct harm to your rabbit or its cage.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Plants?

how plants that repel flies

You might also be wondering whether silverfish are a potential risk to your plants. They are known for being quite destructive when they want to eat something, and they can also leave behind little yellow marks sometimes. However, they don’t pose a danger to your plants.

Silverfish are unlikely to pay attention to living plants. They may live on or around plants, attracted to the moisture in the plant’s soil, or possibly even feeding on dead plant matter, but it’s not normal for them to attack live plants.

You may notice that silverfish will pick up dead insects in the soil and munch those, and they might also eat through fungi or other particles that they find around the plant’s base or on the leaves.

You don’t need to worry, however, even if you notice silverfish down in the soil around the plant’s roots. They are not attacking your plants; they will just have found something they like to eat in the soil there.

Even if you have plants that are sensitive to insects and generally vulnerable to being attacked, it’s unlikely that silverfish will do them any harm. Indeed, silverfish may be of service by clearing the soil of dead insects and plant matter. On the whole, it’s safe to ignore silverfish in terms of protecting your plants.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Hamsters?

No, silverfish aren’t poisonous to hamsters. Hamsters might well decide to eat silverfish if they come across them, as they do snack on insects at times, and silverfish make an easy and (apparently) appealing meal if they can catch them.

It’s also possible that silverfish will be attracted to your hamster’s cage if it is somewhere they can access, particularly if you use a paper-based bedding for your little friend. They might also be attracted by the hamster’s food, fresh veggies, or water in the cage.

Silverfish may even come in on the toys or food that you bring for your hamster, so don’t be too shocked if you find them in there. They are very small when babies, and can be quite invisible as they only gain their metallic shine as they get bigger.

A silverfish won’t do your hamster any harm, either by living in the cage or if the hamster eats it. They are not toxic to hamsters, and also aren’t known to carry any diseases that could harm your hamster or make it sick.

The only possible thing that might cause a problem is that they are high in protein, and if your hamster manages to catch and eat large quantities of silverfish, it could gain weight quickly. Overweight hamsters are not healthy, so this is best avoided if possible.

Clean the cage out and remove silverfish from the bedding. You may also want to change the bedding for one that they find unappealing, at least temporarily. Try to keep the cage clean and pick up and remove bits of food your hamster is not eating to maintain good hygiene levels.

It’s pretty unlikely that silverfish are going to cause any issues for a hamster, but you may not want them in the cage anyway, so do some hamster housekeeping and make it nice and tidy on a regular basis to keep your fluffy friend safe.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

Silverfish aren’t poisonous to guinea pigs, and the chances of your guinea pig eating a silverfish are very low indeed, as guinea pigs are herbivores and do not generally consume insects of any sort.

Guinea pigs will probably just ignore any silverfish they encounter, while silverfish will ignore or run away from guinea pigs. It is possible that, like with hamsters, they will be attracted to the bedding or food source of a guinea pig pen, however.

You should check your guinea pig hutch regularly for silverfish, especially if you have them in other parts of the house. They may not pose a threat to guinea pigs, but you still might not want them camping out in their home.

You can discourage them by keeping the hutch very clean and tidy, removing old bedding and uneaten food on a regular basis, and ensuring there are no damp spots. These are all important aspects of guinea pig care anyway, so they should be done whether or not there are silverfish guests around.

Don’t worry about your pigs eating silverfish, or being bitten or stung by them – it won’t happen, and the two can probably coexist fine if you aren’t bothered by it, though large infestations should be addressed.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Birds?

No, silverfish won’t poison your birds, even if the birds eat them. Whether your birds will or won’t see them as prey depends on the kind of bird, but they shouldn’t suffer any ill effects if they do decide they look like a tasty snack.

It is probably fairly unlikely that your bird will eat silverfish anyway. Silverfish are generally more active at night than during the day, and since birds usually sleep at night, they may not interact very frequently.

Silverfish may well decide that your bird’s aviary is a great place to live, however. There will be plenty of food, and it is also quite humid. There are also likely to be dark spaces to hide in. Silverfish might eat bird droppings, or may be attracted to their food bowl, wooden perches, bits of paper, etc.

Removing silverfish from your bird’s habitat may prove a challenge, as obviously you cannot use chemicals or insecticides where your bird lives. If you do not want silverfish in your bird’s home, there are a few things you can try.

First, minimize the amount of paper and wood in the cage, as these will attract silverfish. Second, try to reduce the humidity levels. This may be a challenge, however. Give the cage a thorough clean, making sure you pay attention to any cracks or crevices.

Next, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around, removing the bird in the meantime so that there is no risk of them inhaling the dust. This earth should be safe for birds, and will hopefully deal with the silverfish.

Alternatively, you could try something that many insects dislike the scent of, such as orange, peppermint, lavender, or lemon oil. Always check that the oil is safe to use around the bird. It is best to remove the bird while you set the treatment up, and then return it to its cage later.

Are Silverfish Poisonous To Small Animals?

You might be wondering, more generally, if there are any small animals that are harmed by eating silverfish – and the answer is, it doesn’t seem like it. Silverfish aren’t toxic, and they do not sting or bite, so it’s not thought that they do harm to any creatures, even small ones.

Whether you have mice, other little rodents, or small cats, dogs, or other pets, silverfish are not likely to pose any sort of threat to them, even if your pet decides to eat the silverfish. Silverfish may be attracted to the bedding or food supplies for your pets, but they won’t do them any harm.

It isn’t thought that they hurt any creatures, in fact. Their main defense is to run away and hide, so they should prove harmless to any other animals – unless the animal eats too many and becomes fat! The only danger silverfish pose is to books and other household items which they eat.


As we have seen, silverfish are not poisonous to any other creature. Although they look like stinging centipedes and many people are afraid of them, they are actually totally harmless, besides being destructive to books and furnishings.

If you have silverfish in your house and you’re concerned about your pets or small children, you can relax; they won’t do them any harm, even if the pet/child eats them (though this is best avoided, especially for children!).

Silverfish infestations can become quite damaging to property, however, so you should keep an eye on things. While a few silverfish are unlikely to do any noticeable damage to your household, a large amount could wreak havoc, and will need to be dealt with, using natural means if possible.

For more info on silverfish check out the links below:

Are Silverfish a Sign of a Dirty House? The Surprising Answer

What Attracts Silverfish In The House? 7 Unlikely Examples

I’ve seen one silverfish should I be worried?


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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