Every now and then, a very local, very strange story bubbles to the surface of the miasmic media pond that makes you wonder what else you’re missing out on. The story of a man in Germany that was so terrorized by a baby squirrel that the police were called is an example of this par excellence.
As regaled by several places, including BBC News, officers were requested to the man’s location in the city of Karlsruhe, after he vociferously complained that a very small mammal was chasing him down the street and refusing to leave him alone. When the police arrived, they witnessed the behavior in question, and presumably weren’t entirely sure how to handle it.
Fortunately, little action was required: the squirrel “abruptly fell asleep” and was then “taken into custody.” He has since become the police department’s mascot, and they have named him Karl-Friedrich.
He’s now being looked after in an animal rescue center, which is lovely. As it so happens, he found himself sharing a “cell” with two other squirrels that had been obtained that same day under similar, but police-lacking, circumstances.
So what’s the deal? Why would a squirrel engage in such behavior? A lot of speculation depends largely on what type of behavior little Karl-Friedrich was engaging in: attacking, or merely pursuing, the man.
According to The Guardian – which gets bonus points for having “driving me nuts” in their article’s URL – squirrels can follow a person around when they are in need of food, particularly if they are young and something unfortunate has happened to their parents. The man consumed by panic, then, was possibly seen by the baby squirrel as a surrogate parent of sorts.