Vicious squirrel brutally attacks at least five people in Brooklyn.

[CONTENT NOTE: graphic image of squirrel bite injuries]

And here I was thinking I could enjoy a lazy, relaxing Sunday morning but nooooooo. As soon as I fired up my laptop this was the first thing I saw in my feed:

Prospect Park ‘aggressive’ squirrel attacks spark concerns of rabies exposure

At least five people were attacked by an “unusually aggressive” squirrel in Prospect Park, and the Health Department is urging anyone who’s recently been bitten to seek medical attention for potential rabies exposure.


A 7-year-old girl suffered multiple bites from a squirrel attack in Prospect park on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Credit: Andres Guerrero)

All of the attacks happened at the same area of the park, near the entrance at Parkside and Ocean avenues, according to health officials. In one incident, the rodent sunk its teeth into a jogger, who has not yet been identified, and in another a 7-year-old girl suffered multiple bites.


Prospect Park South resident Andres Guerrero said he was walking with his 7-year-old daughter near the Parkside Avenue entrance between 6 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, when a squirrel randomly started biting her arm.

“I called 911 because she was bleeding,” Guerrero said. He noted that he and his daughter were not carrying any food when the attack happened.

“We went to emergency room. She had a rabies shot – she had big bites. We have to go back to the emergency room for more shots.”

The shock of the attack continues to upset his daughter, he said.

“She is not OK. Every night, she’s crying and scared. ‘Please papi, help me, the squirrel is coming, a big one.'”

While the bites themselves are certainly traumatic, without prompt treatment a rabies infection will nearly always result in death:

The period between infection and the first symptoms (incubation period) is typically 1-3 months in humans. Incubation periods as short as four days and longer than six years have been documented, depending on the location and severity of the contaminated wound and the amount of virus introduced. Initial signs and symptoms of rabies are often nonspecific such as fever and headache. As rabies progresses and causes inflammation of the brain and/or meninges, signs and symptoms can include slight or partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, and hallucinations, progressing to delirium, and coma. The person may also have hydrophobia. Death usually occurs 2 to 10 days after first symptoms.

And treatment is no joke, either.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people receive one dose of human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period. The immunoglobulin dose should not exceed 20 units per kilogram body weight. HRIG is expensive and constitutes most of the cost of post exposure treatment, ranging as high as several thousand dollars.

Whew! Good thing we have such excellent universal single-payer health care in the US! And even if we didn’t, what’s a few grand? Pretty much everyone’s got that much lying around.

If the cost isn’t painful, the treatment sure is:

As much as possible of this dose should be injected around the bites, with the remainder being given by deep intramuscular injection at a site distant from the vaccination site. The first dose of rabies vaccine is given as soon as possible after exposure, with additional doses on days 3, 7 and 14 after the first.

Well that sure sounds like fun for a seven year old. Might as well just skip that trip to Disneyland.

And here’s the kicker: that fucking squirrel is probably not even infected with rabies at all.

The health department has not identified any rabid animals in the park or in Brooklyn this year… There has never been a report of a squirrel with rabies in New York State since it began tracking rabies cases in 1992.

There have also been no known cases of transmission of rabies from squirrel to human.

“This is an isolated incident,” the DOH said in a statement.

Sure, sure. Because no one’s ever seen that kind of behavior from squirrels before. And this statement is contradicted by the NYC Health Department’s own data:

The agency receives roughly 70 reports of squirrel bites each year, and the cause is usually because a person was feeding the animal.

SEVENTY?! JFC. Also, for the millionth time:


“This animal has exhibited extremely unusual behavior and we are urging anyone who has been bitten by it, including any pets, to go and see your doctor or veterinarian,” DOH Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement.

Just don’t forget to bring your wallet, and/or remortgage your house first.

At least Commissioner Bassett gets the important part right:

“Most squirrel bites occur when someone attempts to feed the animal. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and never feed wild animals.”

Say it with me now:


There are only two bright spots in this whole shit show. First, if that squirrel really did have rabies, it’s probably already dead.

Second, in a mere eleven years or so, that seven year old little girl will make an outstanding battle-hardened general in the Death to Squirrels army.



  1. RationalismRules says

    “I called 911 because she was bleeding,”

    What, take her to an emergency room myself? But there’s blood! Don’t you have to send an ambulance for that?

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    Stop! Never apply a pressure with a paper napkin when a ride in an ambulance is possible.