Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Squirrels Attack!

A Bennington neighborhood is being stalked by a renegade gray squirrel, but a Vermont state veterinarian says it's possible the animal is upset because it's homesick for the people who raised it.

At least three people on East Street in Bennington say they've been attacked by a squirrel over the last few weeks.

Kevin McDonald said he was shoveling snow recently when a squirrel jumped onto him. "All of a sudden I felt something on my back and shoulders, scratching," McDonald said.

McDonald said the day after he was attacked he saw a neighbor battling a gray squirrel. He later learned that another person on the street had also been attacked.

One possibility is that the squirrel was raised by humans and then released into the wild. "They've lost their fear of people and they go ballistic (when they encounter a person) because it's not their human," Johnson said. Another possibility is that the squirrel suffered some sort of injury.

"The take-home message is don't try to take care of wildlife because it's very hard to return them to the wild," Johnson said. "A tame squirrel is a loose-cannon sometimes."