Spring weather brings increased squirrel attacks – mcb

Liz Tubman

A recent wave of squirrel attacks has threatened students on the Lawrence campus.
The warm spring-like weather of the past couple weeks has drawn out various campus wildlife — the docile bunny rabbits so familiar to students during winter term are now joined by squirrels and birds.
Unfortunately, the appearance of these creatures has also caused an alarming amount of animal attacks on students, particularly by the squirrels, which seem to be especially vicious this year in comparison to seasons past.
“Usually we only have about three or four reported squirrel attacks on students during the entire spring term, but this year I’ve already had eight students come into the health center with squirrel-related injuries,” reported Nurse Carol.
“I’ve treated some pretty nasty cuts and scrapes in the last week, and there were two students who needed to be hospitalized.”
The squirrels on the Lawrence campus have become increasingly acclimated to living in close contact with humans, which seems to have brought out some of their more aggressive characteristics.
In recent years their population has skyrocketed as well, causing a shortage in living space for these normally quiet and friendly animals. Both of these factors have contributed to the squirrels’ unprecedented behavior and lashing out toward students on campus.
One of the recent victims, a junior, was attacked last week but was willing to share his incredible experience with *****The Lawrentian.*****
“I was just walking to my class in Main Hall one morning when I heard this high-pitched screeching noise that seemed like it was coming from up in a tree. I looked around because I thought it might be a bird or a student, when all of a sudden this flying ball of fur flew out of nowhere and landed right in the middle of my face!” he explained.
“The damn thing started scratching and clawing me and I started screaming for someone to help me. I tried as hard as I could to pull it off but it wouldn’t budge. Finally someone must have hit the crazy animal with a stick because I felt something smack my face even harder and then everything went black.”
The student says that the next thing he knew he was lying in the Health Center, his face covered with blood.
“I couldn’t feel my nose at all and my cheeks were throbbing,” he says. “It was the worst experience I’ve ever had.”
These vicious attacks have prompted Dean Truesdell and President Beck to issue some safety precautions and warnings for students during the dangerous spring months.
Students are advised to use the following tips when strolling around campus:
1. Walk only on the paved paths. Students should stay off the grass and as far away from large trees as possible. Squirrels typically enjoy sitting in the tree branches while watching for their next victim and usually attack from these positions.
2. If you must walk across Main Hall Green, walk quickly and silently. Students should avoid making any loud noises or changing directions quickly on their way to class or across campus.
3. If you see a squirrel in your path and it rears up on its hind legs or begins jumping forward in an agitated manner, DO NOT STOP! Turn and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
In the event that students are attacked by a squirrel, they are advised to get to the Health Center as quickly as possible. If a student witnesses an attack and the victim is unable to make it to the Health Center, they should call an ambulance immediately.
As our student victim said, “You never think that walking across Main Green can be a matter of life and death.

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