How to Survive a Rabid Squirrel Encounter

Categories: The Environment

RabidSquirrel.JPG
Willingham's Taxidermy
Squirrels aren't a rabies vector species. That doesn't mean they can't mess you up.
Sherri Johnson's condo butts up against a wooded creek a few blocks from Presbyterian Hospital. She likes to keep a few cats around, strays really, to keep the raccoons and possums and other creek denizens from making themselves too comfortable on her property. It works for the most part, but the cats weren't messing with the squirrel that found its way onto her porch last Wednesday night.

"I get home, it's about 9 o'clock ... and there's an animal that's making screaming and barking and crying sounds," Johnson told me on Monday.

Moving closer, she discovered that it was a squirrel on the doorstep of her upstairs unit, but it wasn't the adorable scampering type, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Rather, as she described it in an email to Unfair Park, it was "rabid, ferocious, insane and attacky, ... which sounds funny until you get one."

Johnson walked halfway up the stairs and the squirrel charged.

"It had pink foam on itself and was acting crazy, crazy, crazy," she told me. "I know I sound like a wimp, but it was obviously rabid."


So Johnson hung back and called 311, which told her that the city doesn't do rabid squirrel calls. She got no answer when she called animal control, and a dispatcher told her Dallas police only respond to calls of loose dogs. The sheriff's department said much the same thing. The woman manning the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife's emergency line told her to find an after-hours emergency exterminator, but she couldn't find one that was open.

Finally, she called her landlord. He didn't really believe there was a rabid squirrel but he came anyway, to humor Johnson. When he showed up and decided the squirrel was rabid, he shot it with a pellet gun on the fourth or fifth try. The whole ordeal took a solid three hours, and it got Johnson wondering: If neither the city, county, nor state will respond to a rabid animal call, just what, short of frontier justice, is one supposed to do when one finds a rabid squirrel on their porch?

After calling the state and county health departments, I checked with city spokesman Frank Librio. Seems that 311 operators should have directed Johnson to 911 Wildlife, the company to which the city has outsourced its wild animal calls since February.

"That's how it's supposed to work," said owner Bonnie Bradshaw. Then, the company would have sent someone to cage and remove the animal.

Bradshaw just wasn't sure the squirrel Johnson encountered was rabid. Maybe it was a scared youngster or a mother protecting her young, or maybe had some other sort of disease. Squirrels simply aren't a rabies vector species, meaning they seldom get rabies and have never been known to transfer it to humans.

"Any warm-blooded mammal technically, in a laboratory setting, could get rabies," Bradshaw said. "But the reality is, it would be extremely unlikely."

That's good as far as it goes, but Johnson is pretty damn sure that the squirrel was rabid. The body's gone, so we'll never know for sure, but what else could make a rodent so ferocious, insane and attacky? (Too much Fox News, perhaps?) Also, as Johnson reminds us in her email: "(fyi: rabid squirrels are FAST)"



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30 comments
gabbahey
gabbahey

Sounds like Rocky got into something he shouldn't have, or was exposed to something (West Nile spraying in her area?). A few years ago, there was a squirrel who exhibited this type of behavior once on my property, I thought it might have been inadvertently poisoned or something (gotten into some antifreeze or a pesticide), which I'd be inclined to believe this is what was actually wrong with that lady's squirrel.

daingerfield1950
daingerfield1950

Isn't that special, once again a city employee not knowing how to help.  Get an 8th grade education and work at city hall for the rest of your life.  But back to the problem.  Hell yes any wild animal can transmit rabies if they have it when they bite you, you masses of city bred imbeciles.  I live in North Carolina now and don't have to put up with any how cutenes involving stinking squirrels.  Ask any real men how they would handle squirrels in the attic, knawing on wires and crapping everywhere.  True, a 22 is probably better but a 1,250 fps pellet gun will not make the sound of a gunfire cartridge.  Using hollow point pellets will mess a squirrel up nicely.  Trying to trap a supposedly rabid squirrel, what a laugh.  Live by the maxim of shoot, shovel and shut up.  I asked a deputy sheriff and was told that as long as they were varmints and potentially dangerous, they didn't care what I did with them.  When you stick your hand into the goo that was your best kitten's face, you will know what to do. 

Albert
Albert

There's a video on liveleak of a squirrel tearing up a snake, little buggers have some balls.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

First, a pellet gun is a poor weapon for putting down a squirrel.  A .440 or .22 are better choices.  If rabid, there are other rabid creatures out there, so they should have sent it in for testing.  And this comme soft

 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Think it found someone's meth stash

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Retarded murderers, psycho baby mutilators, airborne neurotoxins. drunk and naked Randy Travis, Nation of Islam institute and rabid squirrels;  ....and we ain't even gotten to John Wiley Price. 

 

What the fuck is this blog and city coming to?

anonymous
anonymous

Like the article says, squirells can technically get rabies, but they never carry it or transmit it.  It's because any animal that catches and bites a squirell to give it rabies is going to kill it too....so, they die before they get infected and can transmit. 

 

Kuddos to the gritty journalism UP...please do a story about a water skiing squirell tomorrow : )

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

...pellet gun, 7 iron, hiking boot, swerve while driving. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Are you sure it was some Cruz tea party supporter?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @daingerfield1950 I adore squirrels.  Out to the park I go with nuts to feed them and the little sweeties come right up and eat out of my hand.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Albert I'm sure there's a video of a squirrel's balls and snake

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

those would be illegal to discharge in the city.  Perhaps a pellet gun would be too, but the report would certainly be more discrete.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

@anonymous Thier is something squirrelly about ur post.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @anonymous I didn't know squirrels where that dainty. One bite and they are dead. Wow. I wonder why there are so many of them then? You sure are not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you?

Albert
Albert

 @Montemalone 

 

 

If it appeared drugged, crazed and violent, it was probably looking to occupy something.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Squirrels are cut  until you have one constantly gnawing on the wood on your house and then you have to replace supporting 4x4 boards on your deck.  I fed the squirrels too and when I quit, that's when they started gnawing.  They haven't stopped yet and I've tried everything to get them to quit.  They are knocking everything over and breaking my potted plants.  

anonymous
anonymous

 @GuitarPlayer  

Ummm, well, I'm right....

 

Don't believe me GuitarPlayer?  See link below when you get back to your parents garage that you're living in tonight and have access to a computer...no need to apologize.  

 

BTW GuitarPlayer - If you scoffed after reading my remark about living with your parents and said to yourself Whatever, my roomate and I live in our own apartment (you can also substitute "apartment" with "house"), that means you're still a looser, assuming you're older than 23.  If you're younger than 23, you get a pass.

 

http://newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/vet00/vet00089.htm

 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk

 @Albert You just can't help yourself, can you?

 

Must be exhausting to be such a doctrinaire.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

 @1dailyreader Read the advice above.  Go to Academy and get a Gamo pellet rifle.  I prefer the heavier pellets to the ones daingerfield1950 references, though.  They work on rabbits as well as squirrels.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @anonymous From your link, dumb ass....."All mammals can get rabies, but for squirrels and other small mammals, only a few cases have been seen."Rare but not unheard of. That is EXACTLY what is in this story. Do yourself a favor and read the fucking links you post. What a dumb fuck you are...... 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @anonymous Wow. You mentioned my parents garage a few times. I feel so small now. Dude you are relentless...........but still a moron.

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