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.