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from The Hudson Gazette

    Squirrel traumatizes visiting senior in case of jump-and-run

A recent run-in with an over-friendly red squirrel traumatized a senior citizen who was visiting a home in Hudson Heights when the little critter decided to attach itself to her like a mini fur coat.

Requesting that she not be identified, she told the Hudson Gazette she first saw it on the screen door as she was leaving. First she cut her hand trying to get it to move. Then the squirrel jumped on her shoulder as she went out. "It was really scary," she explained. "I managed to get it off me, only to have it then try to run up my pant leg. As I tried to shake it off, I fell and cut my arm. I was screaming, but there was nobody around. It was jumping all over me like a cat and I really had to fight it off."

Even as she got up and went to her car, the squirrel still followed her like a puppy, right to the car door. Unable to get medical attention that day, which was a Sunday, or the following day which was Victoria Day, she cleaned the cut herself and then got a proper dressing when the Medi Centre re-opened.


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She was not bitten by the squirrel, she stressed, and did not have to worry about rabies. However, she said she was concerned that there are people who treat wild animals as pets, as this young squirrel evidently had been. "People should not try to befriend wild animals," she added.

By coincidence, a spokesperson at Madonald College's wildlife hotline, Mary-Anne Hudson, had seen the squirrel at Le Nichoir. It had obviously been hand-fed, she said. Although she found it "sweet and friendly", it was also very persistent, she agreed. "Once you feed them they became habituated. "It's not a good idea. We get lots of calls from people with good intentions, kidnapping babies and trying to raise them by themselves. It is difficult as you really can't replace the mother."

Le Nichoir founder Lynn Miller, who ended up having to deal with the squirrel, said its behaviour was improving and it should be able to be released back into the wild. She was not happy, however, that the squirrel had been dumped on the doorstep of her centre. "We were put in a very difficult situation," she added. In the final analysis, the experts agree. Whether it is baby squirrels or baby birds, the best mother is the real mother.

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