My nightmare is being lived out in real life in Vermont, where a killer squirrel is on the loose -- okay, it hasn't actually killed anyone yet, but it is attacking people out of the blue. At least three people have been attacked in the last couple of weeks. There they were, going about their normal day-to-day business, when this gray rat-like creature lurched at them, grabbed on, and wouldn't let go. *shudder*
I'm an animal lover, but I HATE squirrels. I'd rather be locked in a room with a roach or a snake (I think) than a squirrel. I don't trust them and their beady little eyes behind that cute furry facade. They will do anything for food, and when they bite, they don't let go. They especially terrify me around my toddler daughter, who has already learned to yell, "Go away squirrel!" I know they see her as a large meal and are just waiting for their chance to pounce.
Oh, and they have no fear -- that's the worst part. They come up within inches of us at parks, on the street, and sometimes in my very own yard. They have no boundaries and barely flinch at our yells and swatting gestures toward them. It's no surprise to me that a killer has emerged among them. Not at all.
This is not an isolated incident either. In the UK a couple of years ago, workers at a hospital were ordered to walk in pairs, wear protective headgear, and carry an umbrella as a weapon after a squirrel attacked. In Orlando a few years back, incidentally right after we moved here, a 3-year-old boy was attacked by a squirrel on the playground of his daycare while he was swinging! When a police officer tried to help the boy, the squirrel attacked the officer too. Squirrels can NOT be trusted.
The good news is that a squirrel has never passed on a case of rabies to a human, according to Vermont Public Health Veterinarian Robert Johnson. So at least there's that, although people who are bitten usually have to go through rabies shots anyway -- something I feared more than almost anything else as a child when I learned the shots are given in your stomach (they're not anymore, but still they're shots!).
As to why this particular squirrel has gone on its rampage, officials say it may be one that was formerly kept as a pet by humans. Johnson told the Bennington Banner:
They've lost their fear of people and they go ballistic (when they encounter a person) because it's not their human. The take-home message is don't try to take care of wildlife because it's very hard to return them to the wild. A tame squirrel is a loose-cannon sometimes.
Hear that? Loose cannons scurrying about amongst us. So whatever you do, do NOT feed the squirrels ... or ever let your guard down around them. They are certifiably NUTS!
Are you afraid of squirrels? Have you ever been bitten by a wild animals?
Image via yimmy149/Flickr