Here's what I think: Domesticated Squirrels
I happened upon an article on MSN entitled "Winning the squirrel wars" - this piqued my interest because for years now I have felt that squirrels have become increasingly bold and no longer fear human presence. This has disturbed me and instilled a quite fear in me that a squirrel might attack at any moment.
As if I didn't already fear the practically domesticated rodents, the article in question added another threat that had not occurred to me. Firstly, I did not know that squirrels are in the rodent family though now that I think of it it make sense. I guess I thought that, while scary, they were closer to the cute and cuddly mammal family. So, no big surprise, finding out that they are rat cousins added to the irrational rising fear. Secondly, and related to the first, squirrels may carry diseases such as rabbit fever and ringworm- both transmittable to humans. So coming across a squirrel I not only have to worry about their bite but the possibility that they will infect me with disease.
A few years ago I was visiting Rexburg, Idaho and was on the BYU-Idaho campus waiting for my boyfriend to get out of class. I found a particularly lovely bench under a tree in the courtyard outside of the library and sat there waiting patiently. Suddenly a blur zipped past me where I sat on the bench. Tentatively, I looked around to see what it was. There sitting just behind me was a squirrel. I jumped up immediately with a yelp- probably making an arse of myself in front of the strangers that passed. This was my first indication that the squirrels were becoming too comfortable with human-kind. But at the time, I passed it off as crazy Idaho squirrels and that in my lovely home state of Iowa something like this would never happen.
Wrong. While on a run sometime later here in the comforts of my hometown, a squirrel came upon the side of the sidewalk. I figured as I ran closer I would frighten it and it would scurry away. Not the case. As I got closer the squirrel maintained his position and I noticed that it was non other than a black squirrel! Very sinister indeed. The squirrel stared me down as I ran, diverting from the sidewalk to give the squirrel a wide berth. It was then that I recognized the true threat of the squirrel, and now MSN is on to them as well.
Be on alert, they're everywhere!