‘Bloodthirsty’ squirrel attacks 18 people

A squirrel’s reign of terror over a sleepy Welsh village has been brought to an end after it bit 18 residents leaving some too scared to leave their homes.

Nicknamed Stripe the grey squirrel was finally caught in a humane trap and handed to the RSPCA by Corrine Reynolds who had been feeding it from her garden in Buckley in North Wales.

It came after more than a dozen locals reported being attacked by the rodent with some posting gory images of bloody bite marks and deep scratches requiring tetanus jabs amid the two-day “rampage”.

The squirrel was also accused of biting dogs, cats and chasing people down country roads.

The attacks were ended when Ms Reynolds set out a cage in her garden leaving a handful of peanuts, Stripe’s favorite snack, as bait.

<p>Corinne said the squirrel’s behaviour deteriorated rapidly </p>

The RSPCA came and picked the squirrel up from Ms Reynolds’ home, transferring it from her cage in her bathroom to stop it from escaping.

But the animal welfare charity said it had no choice but to put Stripe down as it is currently illegal to release a grey squirrel back into the wild.

Ms Reynolds told The Standard of her sorrow after the squirrel she nicknamed Stripe, after the vicious baddie from Gremlins, was euthanised.

The 65-year-old said: “I’m relieved I caught him because my grandson who is only two plays in the garden and had to stop because it’s not safe.

“But I’m sad because I’m an animal lover and because of me this squirrel lost his life. I know people don’t like grey squirrels but they are all gods creatures to me.

“But although I see him several times a day in my own garden his behaviour over the last three days gave me cause for concern. He in diving for me running to me fast as soon as he saw me.

“I think my bite wasn’t too bad because he knows me but when I saw the others all over Facebook.

“I was shocked and realised I had to get him caught before it was a child. Those teeth could bite right through a child’s tiny finger.

“I still think he had underlying issues like a tumour 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 so he knew there was always food in my garden.”

<p>He went nuts: Corrine laid a squirrel trap using his favourite snack as bait </p>

On the Buckley Residents Facebook group, Ms Reynold warned Stripe had bitten as many as 18 villagers in his spree.

The tight-knit community was alerted to the rampage when a resident posted a blurry image of the animal standing on a fence as a warning.

“It has also attacked my two Bengals (cats) who fear nothing,” she said.

“I dare not go out of my house, as it’s lurking.”

“I went out to my dustbin in the garden when the squirrel ran at me for the second time … it’s attacked half the street.”

She said: “I love animals, would never hurt one, but this one is probably poorly to behave in such an aggressive way.”

Another Buckley resident Scott Felton, 34 also reported being bitten, saying: “I was just having a fag by my back door and it jumped on me.”

“I thought it wanted feeding but it bit me before I even had a chance.”

“I wouldn’t normally put something up like (post onto Facebook) but it was just so random and it well hurt. Had to go to the hospital to get a jab. Not that I wanted to.”

<p>Caged: Stripe wasn’t getting away this time</p>

An RSPCA spokesperson told The Guardian: “We were incredibly sad to have to put this squirrel to sleep but were left with no choice due to changes in legislation in 2019 making it illegal to release grey squirrels back into the wild. We do not agree with this law and opposed it, but legally we have to comply.”

The British Pest Control Association says that grey squirrels (sciurus carolinensis) are invasive pests, not native to the UK.

They were first introduced to the UK from North America in the 1870’s, as ornamental additions to high-class estates and country homes.

Introductions continued until the 1930’s, when the damage they can cause was finally acknowledged and it became illegal to release grey squirrels into the wild.

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