Woody Pope/Shutterstock.com

There have also been reported instances in which squirrels have jumped out of trees and attacked the victims.

Picture strolling down the sidewalk when something hits your back like a hairy softball and starts furiously gnawing your flesh. That unsettling experience could be yours if you visit Novato, California, where eight people have been mauled by squirrels (or perhaps “squirrel”) in the past two-and-a-half weeks.

The Marin County government and Marin Humane Society are warning residents to be on the lookout for angry squirrels in Novato, a city about 25 miles north of San Francisco. “The attacks have sent several people to the hospital. Squirrel teeth are sharp!” emails Lisa Bloch, a humane-society spokeswoman.

This week, her organization put out a media alert full of astonishing rodent-rampage reports. It reads, in part:

The attacks are described as a squirrel suddenly running up to the victims, crawling up their bodies, and biting them in various areas (hands, legs, arms, head). There have also been reported instances in which squirrels have jumped out of trees and attacked the victims. …

While officials cannot say with certainty whether the attacks are all from the same squirrel, it is the most likely scenario. Officials suspect the squirrel was hand-raised and therefore lost its natural fear of humans. Residents should never feed wildlife. Intentional feeding or knowingly providing food to wild animals in Marin County is prohibited.

The attacks have all taken place in the vicinity of Sutro Avenue and Vineyard Road, which looks like a fine place for squirrels to mount ambushes:

Google Maps

The humane society says that rabies in squirrels is rare, but people who got bit are nevertheless receiving anti-rabies drugs “as a precaution.”

Top image: /Shutterstock.com. H/t SFGate

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  2. Design

    How We Map Epidemics

    Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

  3. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  4. Environment

    Where Light Pollution Is Seeping Into the Rural Night Sky

    Artificial light that floods the night sky is thought to be only an urban phenomenon. But when you adjust for population, the picture is dramatically different.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

×