NOVATO (KPIX 5) - A badly behaved squirrel got into a kindergarten classroom in Novato and caused quite a ruckus.
Pleasant Valley School principal Dana Sadan sent a letter home to parents in November explaining how the aggressive squirrel ran up the 2nd grade teacher's leg and bit her on the shoulder.
The teacher grabbed the critter and threw it off of her. The squirrel then scurried across the hall into another classroom where it bit one child and landed on the shoulder of another. Finally, the school custodian arrived and managed to remove it from the classroom.
"The squirrel sneaked into the hall, into the open door and bit the kid and [the teacher]," said Charlotte Miller, a young student at the school.
By the time The Marin Humane Society arrived and tried to locate the squirrel, it had taken off into the open space area near the school.
"It's a very unusual behavior for squirrels," said Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society. "We've been receiving several notifications of squirrel attacks, actually. In a particular neighborhood in Novato there have been eight victims."
Novato officials said there has been a spike in squirrel attacks in recent weeks. They blame the aggressive behavior on humans who try to feed them. Once the squirrels associate people with food they become more prone to aggression.
"I should have never pet that squirrel," said Kennedy Francis, one of Miller's classmates. Miller couldn't believe her friend's revelation.
"You did?!?" said Miller.
"I feeded it - I pet it. What?" Francis asked.
"Don't leave any food on the ground!" said Miller.
"I won't," replied Francis.
"I mean your food AND my food," Francis added.
The school sent messages to all families explaining the attack and reassuring everyone it was an isolated event. They also warned students not to feed the animals.
"If a wild animal gets the idea that humans provide food, somehow they get it in their head that all humans provide food. Which means they go up to all people and then when they don't get food from everyone, they can become aggressive about it," said Alison Hermance of Wildcare.
Both the student and teacher who were bitten are seeking medical treatment. So far, there is no indication the squirrel had rabies.
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