The nut-hoarding squirrel is a common sight in suburban areas, where its fluffy tail and spasmodic sprinting are generally perceived as harmless. But for one Welsh village, the creature has taken on sinister connotations.
According to the Evening Standard, residents of Buckley, Flintshire in North Wales spent the Christmas holiday being attacked and intimidated by a tiny terror nicknamed Stripe. (Yes, after the demonic character of Gremlins fame.) Over two days, the squirrel was said to have lunged at up to 18 people and numerous pets without provocation, biting to satiate its inexplicable bloodlust.
Stripe was a regular visitor to the backyard of Corrine Reynolds, who told the outlet that the squirrel was typically passive up until recently. When she began hearing reports of local squirrel attacks on Facebook, she feared it was him.
“I dare not go out of my house, as it’s lurking,” one resident wrote. Others complained the squirrel chased them down the street, that the attacks “well hurt,” and that a trip to get a tetanus shot was needed.
When he finally attacked her, Reynolds knew that it was Stripe who had broken bad.
“I was shocked and realized I had to get him caught before it was a child,” Reynolds said. "Those teeth could bite right through a child’s tiny finger. I still think he had underlying issues like a tumor or growth because to change like that in a matter of days was not normal.
“It was nothing to do with the food because I have a well-stocked squirrel feeder here," Reynolds continued, "so he knew there was always food in my garden.”
Knowing Stripe would eventually return, Reynolds set out a trap and then called animal control to retrieve him. Unfortunately, the squirrel had to be euthanized in order to adhere to local laws prohibiting releasing gray squirrels back into the wild.
It’s not known whether Stripe was suspected of having rabies, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control states that the disease is extremely rare in small rodents.
While Reynolds was sad to hear of Stripe’s fate, she told The Guardian that “I feel it is now safe to go to my garden.”
[h/t Evening Standard]