And now … killer squirrels?

As if the news from Washington about Trump’s rampaging goons wasn’t bad enough, we now have to deal with the possibility of rampaging killer squirrels in New York City.

At least three people in Rego Park, in the borough of Queens, have been jumped upon and bitten by the possibly deranged squirrel in recent weeks. The tree-based rodent’s reign of terror has made some people in the area afraid to go outside without being armed with pepper spray or other anti-squirrel weaponry.

“A few people are quite scared,” Micheline Frederick, a local resident, told Guardian US. Frederick was herself targeted by the squirrel in a bloody attack on 21 December, when she was holding her front door open for furniture movers.

Frederick’s lengthy solo struggle with the squirrel – the furniture movers fled inside her house to safety – was captured by her neighbor’s security camera. The footage shows blood on Frederick and nearby snow. Frederick suffered bites to her arms and hands, with her little finger badly gnawed on by the animal.

“I had my hand around its body and I could not get this thing off,” she said. “It was angry, vicious and incredibly strong.” She eventually shook it off, only for the squirrel to run up a tree and stare at her. Frederick had to seek medical treatment and has had a round of rabies shots in the unlikely event the squirrel was carrying the virus.

Several other neighbors have also been attacked, with Frederick having to scream a desperate warning to a woman who was chased down the street by the squirrel. “These squirrels are aggressively going after people,” resident Vinati Singh told WCBS.

Killer rodents can be extremely deadly and are notoriously difficult to combat as this video shows.

The question is whether New York City has any holy hand grenades at its disposal to deal with this problem.


  1. jenorafeuer says

    Hunh, my first thought was ‘check for rabies’ (it’s a lot more common here in Ontario than it is in New York) but apparently squirrels almost never have rabies. A friend of mine who was doing prospecting work out near Kirkland Lake had to get a full rabies vaccination set because he looked down one day to find a fox chewing on his boot… while his foot was still in it.

    Based on one possible option is that the squirrel is a mean drunk that’s angry the people it’s running into aren’t feeding it like the ones in the park.

  2. StonedRanger says

    Oh for heavens sake. Did they outlaw carrying tennis rackets in NY? Come on folks, its a two pound tree rat, just punt those suckers.

  3. johnson catman says

    StonedRanger @3: Squirrels are fast and they are smart. You would never get your foot close to punting one.

  4. kestrel says

    As the opening photo caption suggests, feeding squirrels, or any wildlife, can be a really bad idea. The squirrels become habituated to handouts and the next thing you know, they are preemptively going after the hands. I know -- it’s super fun to feed animals. I get it. But these are not cute pets, they are wild animals. They are not going to behave as though they are starring in a Disney film just for the sake of someone’s fantasy. Just for the record, feeding some domestic animals out of your hand can lead to people being bitten as well. The animal is not actually trying to be mean or bad; they simply associate hands with food. Some are just way more pushy than others.

  5. xohjoh2n says

    They’re not “deranged squirrels”, they’ve just been following the news recently and have decided we have to go.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 jenorafeuer
    my first thought was ‘check for rabies’
    Same here. I live in Southeastern Ontario, once in the running for rabies capital of the world.

    @ Intransitive
    I forgot that Iris lives in New York.

  7. John Morales says

    Only time I travelled somewhere with squirrels, I found them cute as.

    I’ve never had any probs with magpies, either — when I was temporarily dogless and catless, they used to sit on my shoulder to get tidbits, and even bring their families along.

    (But magpies are smart! They can tell who’s who)


  8. John Morales says

    [um, sorry.
    Looks like my first link above is deprecated — I copied it from my browsing history]

  9. jenorafeuer says

    Yes, I seem to recall we ended up discussing rabies briefly over at Respectful Insolence years ago…

  10. says

    DonDueed 2 -- As I mentioned in a top secret cable to Crip Dyke, DTS Central has been monitoring the Rego Park attacks. You know what happened when the besieged residents called the city for help? They were told to HIRE THEIR OWN TRAPPER to catch the motherfucker(s). Which they did. So far no luck.

    StonedRanger 3 -- Hahaha good luck with that.

    blf 13:

    The mildly deranged penguins suggests Iris is actually in league with the killer rabbitsquirrel…


  11. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 Intransitive
    Uh, those are groundhogs. Having been in the occasional standoff with a groundhog and me armed only with a pitchfork, I recognize them quickly. Besides, beavers would be using their tails in place of brooms.

    @ 16 jenorafeuer

    I seem to recall we ended up discussing rabies briefly

    Very likely, I think I remember a discussion there. Possibly about those idiot movie stars smuggling a couple of dogs into Australia?

    Did I sound absolutely paranoid? If so, that was me. People who have not lived in the rabies belt of Ontario are so blasé when someone mentions rabies. I, probably, know half-a-dozen or more people who have had rabies shots.

    In the days before cellphones I have stopped at a farmhouse and asked the people to call the MNR to report a fox behaving erratically in the daytime.

  12. Silentbob says

    (Groucho Marx voice)

    Huh. I heard they gathered nuts, but this ridiculous.

    (/ Groucho Marx voice)

  13. Silentbob says

    @14 John Morales

    Same. My inlaws feed the local magpie couple, and the latter always bring the kids to introduce them to the human convenience store. A different set of kids each year. When visiting or housesitting the feeding routine has often fallen to me.

    Magpies are very lovable because as Morales says, they are smart, having no problem recognising individual humans and remembering them.

    But also… their song. This isn’t a bird that tweets or caws. Magpies sing. Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown up with them, but to me the sound of a lone magpie singing can send shivers down the spine:

    When the whole family gets together they do it in unison, like a freaky feathered barbershop quartet:

    Yes, they do swoop, but it’s not senseless. It’s only in the season when they’re protecting their nest from the local large mammals.

    And there may be something in what Morales says parenthetically: Not a word of a lie, just the other day I was walking along the street and another pedestrian ahead was swooped by a magpie, and had to run for cover. As I walked past the same tree I was expecting the same treatment. But nothing. The magpie just sat and looked at me as if to say, “You are a friend of the magpies. Go in peace.” X-D (I swear -- true story.)

  14. mailliw says

    @22 Silentbob

    But also… their song.

    That had me really confused until I realised you were talking about Australian Magpies. European magpies just make a chack-chack-chack call. The Australian Magpie is not closely related to the European one. which is a corvid. Crows may be very intelligent, but as far as I am aware there are no singing ones.

    North American Magpies are also corvids -- and look very like European ones.

  15. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    “North American Magpies are also corvids — and look very like European ones.”

    And sound like them too. I also was confused by Silentbob’s description until I read your explanation. We do have crows who swoop to guard their nests though--it happened to our bass player when a pair of crows nested in a tree right near the driveway to his work. He had to stop walking past it for a few weeks.

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