The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, January 24, 2002, Image 3

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Thursday, January 24, 2002
whind masks of innocence, some
ampus squirrels harbor violent natures
By Jesse Wright
National Ini
:rant will last
vgan in July,
je end of our f
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ng a whole ne 1 -
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■iere are residents on the A&M campus who
Bot worry about grades, tuition or parking.
H spend their days running around with bud-
;s nd scurrying up trees.
Hie University often frowns on this type of
jeous behavior and disregard for scholastic
Hicement. Surprisingly, these residents are
fcoined and adored.
hey're so cute and friendly,” said Leslie
ird, a sophomore business major, as she
Hied two squirrels chase each other around a
In front of the Harrington Educational Center,
lit behind squirrels’ cute and friendly facade
i lay vicious and cruel intentions.
In the past three years, there were not one,
t two documented cases of squirrel attacks on
Hus. This far outnumbers the frequency of
n. tiger and bear attacks at A&M in recent
ati. This staggering statistic easily makes
uiirels A&M’s number-one feral threat.
The first reported case of viciousness
cu red in January 1999. when a victim fed a
uiirel and was bit on his right thumb.
A I seemed peaceful until early November
00. when the squirrels claimed another vic-
n. i his time the unsuspecting victim tried to
H trapped squirrel. As he attempted to rescue
Hdorable animal, he was bitten on his right
inter finger.
Huh victims of these attacks recovered from
juries sustained.
ese are the only two cases on record with
e University Police Department. But from
ese two cases, it is evident that squirrels will
te the hand that feeds them or a helping hand.
However, these are only the documented
cases. Who knows how many attacks are unre
ported and viewed as "just squirrels being squir
rels?” Should students flee from these rodents in
fear for the welfare of their precious digits?
Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology and
Management Dr. Roel Lopez said students do not
have much to fear.
"If threatened, squirrels would show signs of
aggression,” Lopez said. "But they would have
to be pretty uncomfortable to attack a human.”
Lopez said he has not heard of any incidences
of squirrel attacks on campus, although he said
he was once bit by a squirrel.
So what should students do if they find them
selves bit by one of these acorn-hoarding hooligans?
"The first step is to quickly wash the area
clean with warm soapy water” said
Dr. John Focke, a physician at Beutel
Health Center.
Focke said victims should watch
the area closely for infection during
the next two to three days. If red
streaks or swelling occur. Focke said
to seek medical attention.
"Most problems that occur from
puncture wounds, such as a bite, don't
come from the bite itself, but from secondary
infection,” he said.
Focke said the danger associated with a cat
bite is far worse than that of a squirrel bite.
“A cat bite is a hundred times worse than a
squirrel bite due to all the different bacteria
involved,” Focke said.
People voluntarily own cats. Some allow cats
to live in their homes and sleep in their beds. So
is the squirrel risk really that great? Can students
and faculty safely co-inhabit an entire campus
with these furry, yet ferocious squirrels?
It is a risk Justin Goldsmith, a senior kinesi
ology major, is willing to take.
“Sometimes I'll just sit and watch the squir
rels until 1 have to go to my next class,"
Goldsmith said. "It’s relaxing to watch them run
and jump all over the place.”
Perhaps, the between-class amusement out
weighs the danger of brutal squirrel attacks.
However, the danger exists and until students and
faculty learn to fear and respect their fellow furry
campus residents, the danger will not go away.
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Vision Plan
lx: 822-2021
vlariano Castillo
lldilor in Chief
(ISSN #10 55-4726) <
/londay through Frida)
pring semesters and 11
day during the suinne
University holidays
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