Monday, March 21, 2011

And now, on top of everything else, a rampaging rodent

The world is full of frightening news right now. Still, most of it doesn't have an immediate effect on the majority of us. But out of Bennington, VT, comes a story of a risk that's much closer to home:

An East Street man said he was minding his own business and shoveling snow away from the side of his house when he was attacked.

"All of a sudden I felt something on my back and shoulders, scratching," said Kevin McDonald, of 15 East St.

It was a gray squirrel, said McDonald. He threw the animal off, but twice it jumped back onto his arms, delivering more scratches. Finally, it ran up a tree and McDonald retreated to his house.

The victim was relieved when he found out that since he hadn't been bitten, he wasn't at risk for rabies. (In fact, a Vermont public health vet tells the AP that there's never been a case of a squirrel transmitting rabies to a human.)

So he thought nothing of it till the next day:

when his wife reported hearing yelling from across the street. He said he looked to see his neighbor with a blanket and a metal pole battling a gray squirrel not unlike the one that attacked him the day before. Later, he would learn that a woman on the same street had also been attacked.

The local game warden seems to deny responsibility for solving this problem, saying there's not much he can do unless a victim can corral the perpetrator. And the reporter who wrote the original article is a bit bemused that this story has gotten worldwide coverage, especially now.

But the widespread interest makes perfect sense to this blog. Only some of us live near a nuclear meltdown or United Nations airstrikes. But cute furry rodents? Take a look out your window - and watch your back.

Thanks for the tip to reader LD. And if you see a squirrel that looks like that photo by Flickr user practicalowl, it's TOO CLOSE.

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