Bennington, Vermont, is a historic town with a “progressive four-year liberal college” you may have heard of. It boasts numerous attractions, like antique shops, art galleries, covered bridges, walking tours. It is also home to an attack-squirrel. This is the stuff of our own college nightmares. The Bennington Banner reported from the scene:
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 Street.
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.
After a bit of Internet research, McDonald found that squirrel attacks are rare, and that since he’d not been bitten, there was little chance of a rabies infection. But the next day, the squirrel was back, attacking his neighbor, who battled it with “a blanket and a metal pole.” More people have since come forward to say they’ve also been a victim of the squirrel, making the entire somewhat humorous situation less humorous.
“I thought it was funny until I learned of two other people being attacked; then I thought it should be taken a little more seriously,” McDonald said.
A local game warden says there isn’t much to be done unless someone manages to catch the squirrel, which would then likely be killed and tested for rabies. But if the squirrel were rabid, it probably would have died already, which means…this squirrel may just be one nasty squirrel bastard.
Vermont Public Health Veterinarian Robert Johnson, who says there’s never been a case of squirrel-to-human rabies, thinks the squirrel may have been raised as a pet and lost its natural squirrel-human fear, causing it to “‘go ballistic’ when it encounters people it doesn’t recognize.”
Count your blessings you live in New York City, friends. Those sorts of things just don’t happen here.
Residents report attacks by squirrel [Bennington Banner]