Attacking squirrel menaces Novato residents
Eight people were attacked by what is believed to be a human-raised squirrel in the Pleasant Valley area of Novato between Nov. 13 and Friday, the Marin Humane Society and the Marin County Department of Public Health said.
Five attacks occurred around the intersection of Sutro Avenue and Vineyard Road, Marin Humane Society spokeswoman Lisa Bloch said.
A squirrel ran up to the victims, crawled up their bodies and bit the victims in the arms, legs, hands or head, and there have been reports the squirrel jumped out of a tree and attacked the victims, Bloch said.
The victims include a child and a teacher at the Pleasant Valley Elementary School and a person in a garage. The other people were bit or scratched outdoors, Bloch said.
Marin County Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Lisa Santora said those who were bitten received three rabies shots as a precaution even though the likelihood of a squirrel having rabies is extremely low.
Santora said if the squirrel that attacked the person on Nov. 13 had rabies, it would have died by Nov. 27.
Officials believe the lone squirrel was hand-raised and lost its fear of humans, Bloch said.
Bloch urged residents not to feed wildlife and to reduce their homes’ and gardens’ attractiveness by removing bird feeders and cutting back trees that hang over roofs or are close to telephone lines.