Squirrel attacks people at Florida senior center, hurts 3

A squirrel attacked several people inside an senior center activity room, injuring at least three.

The squirrel had gotten inside the Sterling Court Gracious Retirement Living facility in Deltona, Florida and was jumping on people, biting them and scratching them. 

"All of a sudden, a squirrel came up on the arm of the chair or swing, then he jumped up on my arm, my shoulder and then on the top of my head," explained resident Phyllis Thrush.  "The squirrel went in with me to the exercise room where other women were, and they were all screaming and hollering and trying to get the squirrel out of the room. It was a mess!"

Doctors gave Thrush antibiotics after she received injuries to her arm.  At least two other people were bitten.  

"If a person is bitten by a squirrel, they'll want to seek medical attention," said Tasha Martz, lead technician, FloridaWILD Veterinary Clinic.  "They can have bacteria on their claws from their feces and urine."

Martz said an attack like this is rare.  The last time a squirrel was diagnosed with rabies was more than 40 years ago, according to veterinarians.  The animals aren't known to harbor the virus, but they do carry bacteria, like salmonella.  Martz said when an animal does attack, it is usually when it feels cornered or threatened.

"It's thought process.  Is going to be fight or flight?  And in this case, it fought. So it attacked everyone until it was able to escape."