SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KSBW/CNN) - A mother squirrel and her three babies have been relocated by California animal rescuers after officials say the squirrel bit at least four people.
Charlotte Nolan-Reyes rescued a baby squirrel her daughter named Emily and nursed it back to health, but one year later, Emily started causing problems in her Santa Cruz, Calif., neighborhood.
Emily and her three babies were living in a grapefruit tree, and in recent weeks, residents say the mother squirrel became aggressive, attacking and biting people as they passed by. At least four people were victims.
"I’ve seen passersby. The squirrel would jump on them or, you know, assert its dominance,” said Red Townsend, who works nearby.
Nolan-Reyes’ landlord posted a sign Friday that read, “Warning! Beware of aggressive squirrel! Stay clear!”
Later that same day, crews with the Santa Cruz Fire Department, Santa Cruz County Animal Services and Native Animal Rescue used a ladder truck to safely remove Emily and her babies.
The mother squirrel bit volunteer Bill Snell with Native Animal Rescue on his thumb for his part in the rescue effort.
Officials say the four squirrels will be relocated to a safe spot at Native Animal Rescue, where Emily can raise her children. Once the babies get old enough, the animals will be released in the wild away from any urban area.
Small rodents like squirrels have not been known to transmit rabies to humans and are almost never found to be infected with the disease.
It’s believed Emily’s aggressive behavior was simply the result of the mother trying to protect her newborns.