Despite hype, black squirrels will not kill

Derek Lenehan

“They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh,” the BBC reported last week.

A pack of black squirrels in the town of Lazo, Russia, chewed a stray dog to death. Witnesses claimed that the dog was barking at the squirrels when the pack descended from tree branches and attacked, according to the BBC. Hunger was being considered as a possible cause for the incident.

Could an attack happen at Kent State?

Probably not, said Steve Renner, supervisor for the Grounds Department, and 27-year veteran of the Kent campus.

Kent’s black squirrels rarely, if ever, eat meat, Renner said.

“Generally they’ll go through Dumpsters, mostly looking for things like bread or candy,” he said.

While the squirrels can be violent, their aggression is limited to their own kind.

“They’ll be territorial to other squirrels, sometimes, but I have never seen them chase a human or other animal. Besides, we have squirrel control on campus. We have hawks,” Renner added.

Steve Dotterer, coordinator at the Office of Student Health Promotion, said he had never heard of any cases of squirrels attacking humans.

“The one issue I’d be concerned with, in the event of an attack, would be rabies,” he said.

The Humane Society of Portage County’s Web site features sections of the municipal code regarding animals. The code regarding wild animal attacks echoes Dotterer’s concerns of rabies. Section 14.13 states:

ƒ-S It shall be the duty of any person bitten or scratched by any wild animal to report the fact within twelve (12) hours to the health officer and/or the attending physician.

ƒ-S Any wild animal that bites or scratches a person shall be killed at once (without unnecessary damage to the head) and the brain examined for evidence of rabies.

Contact news correspondent Derek Lenehan at [email protected].