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Squirrels At Alabama Park Not Shy

January 17, 2014, 2:58 PM

Squirrels At Alabama Park Not Shy
MOBILE, AL -

Here's a story from our sister station WKRG.

If you visit Bienville Square, you know it's not your typical walk in park. There are hundreds of squirrels scurrying and scampering about and if you have food... Beware.

I got a bag of peanuts just to see how friendly the squirrels really are and to my surprise, they were all over me. Jumping on my legs and eating the peanuts right out of my hands.

These squirrels weren't waiting to be fed. They were taking the food.

"The squirrels are overwhelming and definitely not shy," said Nicole McCaffrey.

McCaffrey and her daughter visit the park a couple times a month. While her daughter prefers to chase the squirrels, I found one couple making a pit stop to capture the moment.

"We are going to Florida for a vacation. We stopped in specifically just for this purpose. Astonishing. Absolutely astonishing. It's intimidating at least a little bit," said Britt Langheld, from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The A and M Peanut shop sits adjacent to the park and stays busy with people buying food to feed the squirrels. The store has been in business for over 60 years and the owner says the rodent population is growing.

"It seems like this year its more than ever. I'm not real sure why but there's a lot of them out there," said Deborah Deguire.

But nature has its own way of controlling the population. We spotted two hawks scouting their next meal.

It's important to note that if you hand feed the squirrels, there's a chance you could get nipped. My photographer was bitten, and so was I. The bite broke my skin. I was concerned. After consulting a veterinarian, my fears settled, well, a little.

"If you look them up online the potential diseases that they carry are scary, but no. About the worse you could expect is ringworm. They have the potential to carry rabies. In other words they can become infected with rabies, but there has never ever been a case of rabies passed to a human. So as a practical matter your risk is zero," said John Bentley with Bel-Air Veterinary Hospital.

Good news to know if you plan on feeding these furry friends anytime soon.

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