Doomsayers have been known to argue that one of the signs that the end times are near is when the animals rise up against us, attacking with fearsome tooth and claw. If you accept that thesis, you might want to get right with your lord and steer clear of Novato, as a recent rash of unexplained squirrel attacks might make that Marin County city the epicenter of the apocalypse.
But you don't have to take my word for it! Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society tells KPIX that the agency has been hit with a wave of reported squirrel attacks. Most recently, a squirrel burst into Novato's Pleasant Valley Elementary School, where it ran up a teacher’s leg and bit her on the shoulder.
"The teacher grabbed the critter and threw it off of her," KPIX reports. "Then, it scurried across the hall into another classroom where it bit one child and landed on the shoulder of another."
The rodent was eventually subdued by the school janitor, but by the time Bloch's colleagues arrived to take the beast into custody, it had escaped and remains on the loose.
And Pleasant Valley isn't the only Novato squirrel attack site. According to Bloch, "in a particular neighborhood in Novato there have been eight victims" of squirrel aggression. So what's the deal with Novato? Why there? Is it the real life Hellmouth?
Probably not, says Alison Hernance, a spokesperson for San Rafael-based Wildcare, which offers veterinary care for injured wild animals and seeks to educate humans on how to coexist with our furry or feathered friends.
"If a wild animal gets an idea that humans provide food," Hernance tells KPIX, "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 become aggressive." So perhaps Novato is home to more squirrel feeders than other locales, leading to greater concentration of spoiled, demanding, and angry squirrels?
Before you ask, it's unlikely we have a Cujo situation here: The Center for Disease Control says that squirrels "are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States."
KPIX confirms, saying that though "both the student and teacher who were bitten are seeking medical treatment...So far, there is no indication the squirrel had rabies." Just a wicked case of entitlement, it seems.