Killer Squirrels take on cyclists!

2/26/09- I stopped updating this page many years ago, basically because it was attracting the wrong audience. The stories about squirrel encounters that I received from others were initially light-hearted and usually helpful, but it didn't take long for people to send me stories that centered primarily on blood & gore & taking glee in very bad things happening to squirrels.

Still, this page gets quite a bit of attention, and I'm pleased to provide these links for humane removal of squirrels from attics as well as general information on squirrels from an animal control person's perspective. Thanks to David Seeveld for maintaining those sites and providing the links.  --Mike--
 

Ok, so it was just one killer squirrel (hereafter referred to as a "KS"), and it only took on one cyclist (your faithful Webmaster). But before you dismiss this incident, consider that this is the second time your Webmaster's had an encounter with one of these nasty beasts. The first time was eight years ago, while descending on Skyline Blvd between King's Mountain and SkyL'onda. On one of the fastest straightaways, a KS darted straight out from the side of the road and threw itself right into the right-hand pedal (which just happened to be attached to your webmaster's right-hand shoe). The force of impact was considerably greater than one might imagine, and a hole was torn in the shoe. The entire event was so unbelievable I wouldn't believe it myself except that someone else I was riding with saw the entire thing.

My next encounter with a KS was on Tuesday, January 8th 1997. Descending King's Mtn Road, just past the park entrance, a KS once again darts out in front of me. This time the KS nearly succeeds in taking me down as it hit me straight on with enough force to break spokes in my front wheel! I managed to stay up and limp home.

The real question, of course, is why? Why do Killer Squirrels pick on me? I've considered that perhaps my bike should be repainted- light purple may be the equivalent of red to a bull. Or perhaps I'm just a squirrelly rider...

Interesting thing happened at the very same spot two weeks later (Feb 3rd)- riding up the hill, we notice a car stopped at the side of the road, its occupants staring into a tree. In that tree is a monstrous brownish-gray bird, sitting quite tall. My first thought was that it was a vulture, but it was the wrong shape and color. And the size, I'm told, was way too big for a Hawk (which are apparently about the size of a football, and this thing was more like the end zone!). So, it's possible, although I'm sure people will say very unlikely, that it was an eagle.

Please note that the only bird I'm really familiar with are vultures...I tend to attract them, circling overhead, anytime I'm on a steep hill on a century. I wonder why that is...

11/07/02 Lizzie sends us this link about flesh-eating squirrels in the UK (please note that external links go away from time to time, so don't know how long this one will be up)

Concerned email received 10/24/02-

I can’t believe your total disregard for life.   These are living breathing mammals who have died.  Do you have no compassion ? 

 

I am appalled at this site.

 

S Wolff
 

My reply- Nearly five years and yours is the first email of its kind.  I wouldn't rush to judgment quite so quickly on my "total disregard for life" however.  Squirrels are a serious issue for cyclists, and many have, in fact, been seriously injured and even died from encounters with them.  Making bicyclists aware of the issue is likely to save the lives of both cyclists and squirrels.
 
I have, however, made a minor editorial change in the first paragraph, making it clear that it was unfortunate that the squirrel died in that encounter.  I will also work to include a piece on how best to deal with a squirrel encounter while on a bike (which is to ride in a straight line no matter what; under *no* circumstances try and dodge the squirrel, since squirrel behavior is entirely unpredictable, and you're probably less likely to hit it, and more likely to survive if you do, if you're riding straight).
 
Or... you could be referring to something else entirely?
 
I do appreciate your viewpoint, and am not trying to make light of it.  Thanks for the email-  --Mike--

Squirrel Update 10/24/02 HOW TO RESPOND TO A SQUIRREL ATTACK-
On the road, do not panic!  If you're concerned that a squirrel is about to zip right in front of you, and you're traveling at a rate of speed that doesn't allow you to safely stop in time, your safest course of action, for both you and the squirrel, is to ride a straight line.  Don't swerve or make any other sudden maneuver, as that might cause you to crash, and, truth is, squirrel behavior is completely unpredictable.  They dart here and there, and by swerving, you could be moving into its path as likely as away from it.

Simple common sense can save both cyclists and squirrels, specifically, don't ride at unsafe speeds.  This is particularly true off-road, where you might consider that you're on their turf, and the natural order of things doesn't take into account a mountain bike flying through at 30 miles per hour.  Most places where off-road cycling is legal have speed limits, and paying attention to them is likely to be safer, and even more enjoyable, for all concerned.

Squirrel Update, 5/21/98. Riding down King's Mtn with Maria and about half a mile above Huddart Park a squirrel darts out right in front of Maria, makes a quick turn-around when it spots her, then does a two-step as it decides that maybe it's possible to go right through her spokes!  Now if this were a Rolf wheel it might be possible...but then after Maria's past, it looks like it's going to try again with me!

Squirrel Update, 04/22/98. How humiliating! The squirrel kingdom had the audacity to send a CHIPMUNK after me! Yep, that's right, a little tiny chipmunk, on the descent, right below Hudardt Park. It didn't get hit, but I felt something hit my bike as it went past. Maybe I should check my tires for bite-marks. This is getting out of hand!!!

Squirrel Update, 04/20/98. There is no doubt the word has gotten out about me. I frequently see squirrels at the edge of the road, sometimes heading out a couple feet, but none, not a single one, has continued across once they've caught sight of me.

Squirrel Update, 10/16/99.  The dreaded Black Squirrel makes an appearance behind the Redwood City Chain Reaction location!  This nefarious creature spotted me from a distance as I drove my truck into its parking space, and suddenly made a high-speed run directly at me!  I quickly fumbled for my ever-present digital camera and, just as I opened the door, it darted quickly away...but not before I could snap a photo of it in mid-stride.

Check out other rider's Killer Squirrel stories!

Killer Squirrel stops cyclist dead in his tracks

Yesterday I was at the end of a 1 hour bike ride. I went out to San Ramon and back to Walnut Creek. 10 minutes left to ride. Rolling down the street I was zipping along when through the left side of my eye I see this thing bolt across the street. This all happened with in minute.

The next thing I hear is this Eeeeeee…sound. I look down and a squirrel ran into my front wheel... (explicit description left out-  --Mike--)

Just as I went to hit my brakes my bike stopped dead. I was thrown from my bike and did a complete summersault about 6 feet in the air. Or so I was told. Maybe just thrown over the handle bars.

I remember doing the summersault and hearing my helmet hit the pavement. The next thing I know I was laying on the sidewalk with people standing around me. I had been knocked out for about 2 to 3 minutes. I guess traffic stopped and people got out to carry me to the curve.

3:30 PM in the afternoon, Main street and 2nd, busy street and all traffic had stopped. EMS, Fire Department, Police in cars and motorcycles. I was taken to the hospital with a mild concussion. It’s funny how they ask you the simplest questions and you go clueless.

What’s your name…Bond James Bond. How old are you…24…Where do you live….in a house.. What city are you in….Cozamel….. I also had a badly bruised my right shoulder and right knee. They thought I had dislocated my shoulder.

So I’m in the emergency room and the doctor comes in to get me out of that neck brace and that very hard strapped in thing they carry you in. As he and two nurses go to roll me over one yells….”Oh my god there’s bleeding from his lower back”.  It’s freaking them out and there freaking me out. Blood…I don’t fell any pain. Now I’m thinking…. not again. I fell many years ago and hurt my lower back. I was paralyzed from the chest down for two months. I had to learn how to walk all over again, very spooky.

They hurry to get me unstrapped and roll me over. The nurse say’s….Uhhhhh..it’s sticky. Oh I say…..that’s my Razberry energy gel…GU. When I landed I must have squished it. We all laughed and I felt relieved.

While waiting for X-ray a police office came in to talk to me. He told me that they have never ever seen something like this. The chip said he got the call” squirrel in bikers bike”. He said “how bad could this be so I took my time”. He told me the squirrel broke my fork..my fork. You know how much metal that is to break..it’s pretty thick. I think back and I think, that is was stopped my bike dead in it’s tracks. He was very excited and said they took pictures of it. Geee…glad I could add some excitement to your day officer.

Waiting for X-rays all I could think of was, I have several more events to complete this year and I better be able to or my time is going to be real bad because I am still going to do them.

I jacked up my right shoulder pretty good so swimming is out for I hope a week. I know I still can ride and I have a run tonight. I hope.

I have not seen my bike yet but it’s trashed. Lucky it was not my new one. That would have been really bad.

The saga continues.   Michael J

Hi, I love your site!!! I have setup a site - www.ratemysquirrel.com I was wondering if you could do some sort of article or include it in your site some how?? Any questions please let me know.

RGDS ,Jason

 
Squirrel protects turf

here is a story for you.  While golfing in the trees, i came across a couple of squirrels.  I thought it would be fun to chase them in the golf cart thinking they would scamper away. as i got closer  one did the other didn't. he simply looked up at me and continued about his business. I was about 15 feet away  as i continued toward him he not only didnt scamper away but charged at me and my golf cart. he took about three or for steps toward me as if to say stay off my turf. I of course scampered away in fear of the courage of the squirrel!
Squirrels are reincarnated mean people?
Recently I saw your web site about cyclists and squirrels.  I believe I have the answer and it is most distressing.  KS are reincarnated mean people.  When it first happened I could not believe it, but it is the truth.  A couple of years ago we were camping in a motorhome in the high Rockies, about 10,000 feet.  The first morning, at first light, something hit the roof of our motorhome and I thought a bomb had hit us.  We quickly went outside to see what was going on only to be greeted with more "bombs" in form of green pine cones being thrown DIRECTLY AT US by a KS in a very, very tall pine tree.  Those pine cones were heavy with sap and made a real mess everywhere they hit.
 
The KS ended his bombardment after about 15 or 20 minutes, but stayed in the area busily burying pine cones.  I walked over to his work area and was amazed, the KS was burying the cones in a spiral pattern around the bases of pine trees.  The cones were perfectly spaced as if there was a specific plan.  There must have been thousands of them.  The KS would scold me loudly when I approached his treasure trove, but continued burying his cones instead of throwing them at me.  I became complacent.  Then at at about noon the KS sat in a tree and ate pine cones which he threw at me after removing all the nuts, scolding all the while.  After about 30 minutes he went back to work laying in his winter stores.  He quit about four in the afternoon, the time the sun disappeared behind a mountain to the West.  If any other squirrel should enter the area the KS would stop everything and do battle until he had driven the invader out.  This was one mean, nasty squirrel.
 
All the above actions continued for eight days at which time we left.  The KS workday day and habits were so precise that you could have set your watch by them.  I have therefore concluded that reincarnation does exist and some poor unfortunates come back as squirrels.  I have known a few people who I think this is going to happen to.  Now here is the really scary part of the story--I went back to the same camping area the next year and the KS was no where to be seen.  But his stash of thousands of pine cones laid out in circular patterns were still there altho not looking quite as good as the previous year, all that work and effort for nothing!  There is some sort of message there.   By the way there is a motorcycle rally that goes through this particular area every August. 
 
Just thought I'd share this with you as you seem to be gathering stories about strangely agressive squirrels.
 
Best Regards, Bridget

Diving Swimmer Squirrel Attack!

Novemember 16, 2003, Douthat State Park, Virginia – With a light rain and temperatures in the low 40’s the day might not have been ideal for a bike ride.  However, after driving 7 hours and thinking about the trip for a week, a little foul weather wasn’t going to derail our plans.  From the Blue Suck Fall’s Parking lot we rode down the road to the start of the Stony Run trail.  Within the first mile we came to a creek crossing.  Now in warmer weather we might have been tempted to just ride straight through it.  However, with our feet already a bit cold we stopped for a minute to determine the easiest way across.  Without warning something large fell from the tree on the other side of the creek and plunged into the creek.  At first we just thought it was a tree branch and counted ourselves lucky not to have been hit.  Perhaps 30 seconds passed and we resumed our search for an easy way across the creek. Suddenly there was another splash from the creek; however, this splash was from something coming out of the water.  Immediately it became apparent that this was no ordinary tree branch which had fallen into the creek.  Whatever it was it was alive.  Some creature had survived a dive from 25 feet into one foot of water.  Not since the exploits of Danny “Cosmo” Higginbottom, had such a dive been performed.  As the creature bounded through the creek toward us we realized the danger we were in.  It was a Killer Squirrel!  Its brown fur was slicked back along its body and its beady black eyes stared at me intently.  Before I could react it was on the bank, lured to us, no doubt, by the sight of our bikes, and a thirst for warm blood.  It came straight for me and there was nowhere to go.  I moved the bike between me and the squirrel.  The squirrel obviously took this for a challenge and went into its classic attack mode.  It zigged and zagged running towards me and then off toward my riding partner.  Then it quickly climbed onto a nearby tree?  What was it doing?  No doubt it intended to regain the height of the branches to dive bomb us once again.  We sped off across the creek before it had a chance.  We got our shoes wet, but we escaped the clutches of the legendary Diving Swimmer Squirrel.  --Matt J

Heroic Efforts Save Squirrel!

Hello, this is Courtney B, and I can totally top your killer squirrel story. Yours messed up you bike a few times (being in a family of cyclers, I know that is detrimental) and banged you up a bit, yes; but my incident with these supposed "killer squirrels" wrecked my car and everything in it! Ok, the whole story.

It was a Saturday morning in August, sadly, it wasn't cloudy or rainy or even foggy. Well, I was moving into my new apartment at The University of Texas at Tyler, which is four hours away from my house, just west of Galveston. I was following my dad up there, in my month and a half old Ford Focus Hatchback (graduation present) and we were both loaded up with ALL of my stuff for school...I happened to have all of the important stuff with me, i.e. my laptop, all of my pants (EVERY LAST PAIR), my tv, my dvd player, all of my books, cd's, then there were of course my multitude of pictures, and bulletin boards that friends had made me for graduation.

Ok, anyway, so we're driving along, and we're about an hour away from UT-Tyler, so I'm getting stoked! All of a sudden, this stupid squirrel, I'd like to refer to it as a killer squirrel, darts out in front of my car which was traveling at about 80 mph (the speed limit was 70). I've always been the type who really cared about animals, and I wasn't going to hit it, and I'm almost positive that he knew that...so he just sat there and laughed at me with his evil little beady eyes! Meanwhile, I panicked, swerved to avoid hitting him, lost control of my car, went off the road, flipped end over end twice, and side over side three or four times, ended up in a woodsy area, and my car caught on fire along with all of my stuff inside.

I was really lucky to make it out alive, although none of my stuff was salvaged. I had to get a new phone, wallet (including money, driver's license, and credit cards), then all of the other stuff I mentioned before! The (I guess) good news: the squirrel did n't die... I hope you can add this to you site...to tell people to be very careful, these killer squirrels are relentless!!

Thanks!
Courtney B
Secret Squirrel Society

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Mike-

i saw this website and it fits in with our investigation, me and some people have collected evidence of a Secret Squirral Society, or SSS. Squirrals are up to something, as you should know by all of your stories on this website, they are planning something, my group of people who are working on this case are trying to figure out what it is exacly that they are planning. Ever see squirrals run into holes in a tree? not just one squirral but two or three? and let me guess, you probably think it is where they sleep or where they go to hide. That is exacly what they want you to think. With our cutting edge technology we have intercepted several fragments of squirral conversations inside and outside of there "home". this and further evidence leads us to believe that the SSS is very real. If this letter is posted on the website then i will gladly answer or listen to any comments. or you can email me at hydrogen_peroxide96@hotmail.com

Squirrel Bombardiers

The next morning we had our NEXT animal encounter! Bombing squirrels! Wewere awakened early by sounds of things landing on the ground near our tent. At first Jay thought it may be some kids tossing things our way, but it turned out to be pinecones being dropped from 30-40 feet above by an industrious squirrel. These were no ordinary pinecones either. They were still green and full of SAP and weighed as much as a baseball. When they hit the ground or our picnic table they exploded everywhere throwing pinecone shrapnel and sap in all directions covering our table and some of our things. Once we were up and out of our tent we actually had to keep our eye on the sky so we wouldn't get hit by one of these bombs. We swear that squirrel was aiming for us as we nearly got hit a dozen times as we packed up our gear and ate breakfast. We're not sure if there are any animals left to harass us on this trip unless of course the sea lions on the Oregon Coast get any big ideas.   (Jay & Erinn's Diary Entry,September 6th, 2001. Sand Point, Idaho)
An Emu???

Hey Mike,
This isn't exactly a squirrel story, but it was so preposterous and it made for an unique ride. So I was riding up at Saratoga Gap, on the fireroads. It was 4 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, so there weren't  exactly too many people out there. As I ascend the crest of one hill,  I catch a glimpse of someone going over the top of the next hill. So I kinda pedal faster to catch up to them, because it's nice to see a  human everyone once in awhile. As I get to the top of the next hill, I'm greeted by something that I really wasn't expecting: an EMU! Yes, I kid you not, there was an emu, out for a Wednesday jog through the  hills.

Needless to say, I followed the emu for awhile, which was  clearly flustered. After awhile, it trotted up a hill marked off  limits, and as I watching it wander away, I couldn't help but  think...should I call anyone? What would I say? But I just went on, with a nice big smile on my face.

-Matt Bravman, Sunnyvale

Squirrels? (Or ShapeShifting Aliens?)

As a long-time cyclist, I too have experienced many attacks by squirrels and "squirrel-like creatures".  My most experience occurred several years ago.  As I was cruising along at 20+ m.p.h. a strange looking four legged creature jumped out directly in front of my front wheel.  The result was a full speed handle bar dive and a prolonged full frontal road slide.  I attribute my survival to instinctive dive reactions learned as a volleyball player.     After collecting myself (and my bike) a limped back to the scene of the collision. My vivid recollection of the collision was a dark, skinny, four-legged creature desperately racing across the path of my front wheel and then the spill.  You can imagine my surprise at what I found at the scene of the collision.  A CATFISH.  Absolutely no sign of the creature.  The road paralleled a canal, but the banks of the canal were very steep and the canal itself was 20-30 feet from the road, much too far for the average catfish to make it's way unassisted.  In confusion, I "assisted" the catfish back to the canal and limped home. 

Every attempt to related this story has always met with skepticism and even derision, so it has mostly gone untold.  Maybe this group will be more accepting.  THE STORY IS TRUE!! In addition:  1.  I did not BANG MY HEAD.  2.  The creature I hit was definitely 4-legged.  3.  It was NOT carrying a catfish  4.  The creature was much too skinny to have had the catfish inside and regurgitated it.  5.  I was not under the influence of any mind-altering chemicals.

So WHERE did the creature go?  Where did the catfish come from?  Strange coincidence or something more sinister?

Sam
Miami
Squirrels jumping through hoops!
Mr. Jacoubowsky, take note:

Okay this should probably go back into the Falling because of critters thread, but today, somewhere near Herndon, a chipmunk jumped into my path. I felt a twang on my rear wheel--and looked left to see it departing the scene, apparently unhurt, at high speed.

My guess:  somehow, it managed to leap THROUGH the whirling death-machine that is my rear wheel, and escaped unscathed!  amazing!

(Other wildlife sightings on the W&OD:  beavers, cardinals, and my first suburban fox in many many years)

-Luigi
Packs of Squirrels?
hello: here is an interesting one for the books i was riding my bike near the lake front in Chicago and a pack of brown tailed squirrels chased me for about two blocks. The weird thing was that this was at night and at first i thought they where rats.
 
Well last night i was riding my bike again at the lake front in Chicago and i tell you these little critters are very naughty,. they hang around the lake front near Fullerton av. beach at large oak tree that is right at the front gate by the hot dog stand. every time (for the past month or so i have been chased by these squirrels) First it was a single one now its all of them i kind of think they are out to get me. The strange part here is that they don't bother any one else just me i guess there after my sneaker bar or the other stuff of goodies i carry in my belt bag. Squirrel alert to all who visit this area (BEWARE OF THE NUT EATING RODENTS).

--- jose concepcion
Reader in Kansas fools Killer Squirrels!
For years my cycling partners have made fun of me for my KS stories and have suggested that I was merely telling fish stories. But many many dead and dismembered squirrels, various broken bike parts, and layers of flayed skin later I am now KS free. "How is that possible," you ask? Observe:

The trick lies in an old adage my grandfather taught me years ago, "Know your enemy." After replacing my umpteenth drive side spoke in my rear MA3 one day as a result of an encounter with The Beast, I decided to become intimately acquainted with my archenemy. I retrieved my binoculars from the closet and headed to the nearest wooded area to observe them in their natural habitat. What I saw wasn't particularly noteworthy. Lots of chasing, nefarious dashing, and aimless gathering. It was what I heard that was gold. In a nearby tree, one of the KS's nests was being threatened by a bird, and the tenant sat on an adjacent branch flicking its tail and chattering its head off. KS within earshot stopped what they were doing, remained motionless and watched to see what the outcome would be. Eureka! That chattering sound squirrels make is a warning signal.

Here's how to apply this nugget. Learn to imitate the sound as closely as possible (similar to the TSK TSK TSK sound your mother used to use when she was disappointed in you). Next time you're out on your bike and you see a KS on its haunches with that "cycling sucker!" gleam in its eye, make this sound as loudly as you can. It may seem weird, and you may even invoke an odd glance or two but believe me, it works. The KS will either remain motionless, or dash off in the opposite direction into the undergrowth where it belongs.

Killer Squirrels in Ohio
Last year in rural areas east of Cleveland, Ohio we were a fast group of 10 riders cruising along on a flat stretch and came to a shady area with trees to the right and a farm house on the left. We should have figured it was a haven for the little creatures. We rode from the sunny part of the road into the shade and of course the eyes have to adjust to the change. Out of the trees by the side of the road, came our little daring friend. He didn't have a clue what he had come up against. 

Probably used to harassing lone cyclists and farm cats and dogs, he made a dash for the road. He didn't realize the number of wheels that he'd have to negotiate, so mid-way he made a quick turn-around the headed back. Caught between speeding cyclists, he probably just said "Let's go with it" and ran along with us, darting back and forth for about 30 yards or more. I'm sure he was terrified and confused, but that is the payback for his transgressions of the past. He finally darted out amongst the wheels again and headed back for the safety of the trees. He was one lucky little fella'. And so were we, since nobody took a fall or crossed wheels trying to avoid the assailant. I personally have almost daily run-ins with our furry friends on a bike commute through suburban neighborhoods. They see me coming and go for it. Next time I'm not going to swerve!

Where have all the Killer Squirrels Gone?

What happened to all of the KSs that used to inhabit the bike path along highway 237 between Sunnyvale and Milpitas? For years the little gamblers used to gang up on unsuspecting cyclists, especially in the chain link fence tunnel between Lafayette and North First St. Now, I see nary a one.

It must have something to do with the machismo developed among the last KSs that I saw there. One day as I was pedaling home from work, I psyched myself up to out-sprint the little beasts. As I approached the infamous KS chain link gauntlet beside the water evaporation pond, I hammered until I was cruising at 28 miles per hour… and I was passed by a KS in a zebra striped jersey that had the words 'Lion King' embroidered on the back. When he whizzed past me, he muttered some stylish comment in Italian and let loose with his best KS roar before darting into the underbrush!

Couldn't believe my eyes! Either it was a long week at work, a lack of oxygen to the brain, or who knows what. Anyway, I have seen few KSs in that location since that very day. Perhaps they were all outdone by the Cipo KS and gave up the sport?

Bart Green, San Jose
Killer Squirrels Around The World
I had seen your Killer Squirrel website before and thought it was mostly a laugh but not necessarily true but I was mistaken!! It was on the second day of a three day cycle ride from Anglesey to Cardiff, North Wales, Britain that I discovered that the KS movement is truly international.  

I had just come over the top of a long climb up through the mountains of mid-wales and was descending the other side on empty roads and hitting at least 30 - 35 miles an hour.  Up ahead I saw the dreaded KS cross the road some couple of hundred yards ahead and it was looking straight up towards me.  It was obviously calculating how long it was going to take for me to reach its position so it could time its attack just right and rip the tread off my tires with its fearsome teeth!!  Being rather smart I decided that the KS would allow for me to brake when I saw it - so I assumed an aero position and my speed shot up to 45+ mph.  As I approached the last known position of the KS there was no sign or movement.....  At the last moment the KS exploded from the undergrowth with teeth bared - but I had fooled it I was too smart! 

Instead of sinking its teeth into my front tyre and sending me sailing over the handlebars it hit my overboots and the crankarm  - there was a strangled noise from the KS when it realised its plans had been foiled (or it might have been the shock of closing its teeth on cold aluminium) and it was gone.  I looked back but there was no sign when I stopped there was nothing but a few scratches on the crankarm - the KS had failed in its attempt.  Paul S.

Squirrels with connections...
Why is your shop so far from my home on the East coast? You have some
great stuff on your web site. Anyway, just wanted to submit my killer squirrel story:

Riding down Route 719 from Hillsboro to Round Hill, Virginia on a fairly flat stretch of road I noticed a squirrel sitting on the road side looking at me coming down the road. He (I know it's a he because females aren't this stupid) started running across the road, got part way across, looked at me again and must have thought he wasn't going to make it. So he turned around, got back to the safety of the shoulder and looked at me again and apparently decided he could have made it after all. Another quick turn around, another dash part way across the road. I'm on the brakes *hard* this time because I figure I'm about to pop this squirrel when at the last second the squirrel realizes he isn't going to make it, turns around *again* -- and gets his tail caught in the spokes.

I just remember seeing this little squirrel go flying around with the wheel, feeling his tail hit the fork, watching him go flying forward, and promptly running over him (accidentally). How he didn't break every spoke in that wheel I'll never know.

Every time I rode back down that road, I always figured his family was going to come get me. They never did, but they did apparently hire a bird on my regular training route to come down and attack me two or three weeks later. That's right -- I had a bird fly into me and whack me a couple times with his wings.

Eastern squirrels at least have connections...

Sleeping Squirrels? Luckily in all my epic singletrack adventures I have not hit the cute little beasts (i ride in East/North Texas and yes everything is bigger here including the SuV's and steaks). I have hit a tree before lol and I have bunnyhopped over them sleeping in the sandtraps in Tyler State Park. But there are worse things here like coyotes, bobcats, escaped convicts and Armadillos that wait at bottoms of hills to bash road rims, cell-phone speeding drivers, and Sasquatch. Haven's seen the Sasquatch but i'll send you some pics of the footprints when i get a chance. mIke (from Dallas)
Clif Diving Squirrels?

I was with a group of bmxers and we were headed to a looong day of street riding. I had to true my wheels so i told them that I would catch up. Since I took too long I chose to take the short cut through the wood, my mistake. As i was riding a large furry blur dove from the trees, and just barely missed my front tire and fell into the creek. I could have sworen that i saw it swim away. I left as fast as I could after that. Could this be the start of new Diving Swimmer Squirrels? lets hope not.
 
Leo
Friendly Squirrels need a lift?
One Saturday morning I was riding with a friend and I told him this story.  A few weeks later he told me about your web page and encouraged me to sent it to you...

About 15 years ago when I was in High School (OK, more like 20 years ago) some friends and I cycled from the Bay Area to Southern California on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).  On the second to last day, we were worn out, hungry and probably a bit delirious.  But what happened at the end of the day was no illusion.

At one point (around Santa Monica, I think) PCH ran right beside the Ocean.  There were large boulders that separated the road from the water.  As we ride along we noticed squirrels poking their heads up from the rocks.  No big deal   Then all of a sudden I look down and see a squirrel tearing up the road right along side my pedal.  He hopped onto the top of my pedal & toe clip, rode it for a couple revolutions and jumped off.  I thought I was seeing things until the same thing happened to my friend in front of me, and again to me.  If I didn't know better, I'd think the squirrels were treating it as an "E-ticket" ride at Disneyland.

Gary R. Gleason

Squirrel never had a chance...  I came up to the Bay Area from LA last weekend, rode the loop, saw the Sand Hill Challenge, found your Sand Hill Challenge pictures, then stumbled onto the KS website. I have a KS story - not as exciting as some of the others, but it's one more point for the cyclists!

A couple of years ago we were touring down the coast on our fully-loaded tandem (total weight of riders, gear, and bike of about 450 lbs.) with some friends. We were at the front of the pack on the bike path from Marina to Monterey when a KS darts across the path making a collision course for our front tire. We're at the front of the pack - can't slow down, can't turn left, can't turn right - the KS didn't stand a chance! Just felt a little thump - the stoker didn't even notice! 

We didn't have to break our stride in the process. We didn't break any spokes. Didn't have to true the wheel. Didn't even have to clean off the front wheel afterward - all the guts were left on the path!
Brian DeSousa
, Orange, CA

Squirrels retire in Virginia
Just to let you know, I think Virginia is not only for lovers, it is
for elderly squirrels. I live in Hampton, Virginia and there is quite a squirrel population here. The thing that is most striking about many of them is that they are bald. They dont get bald on the head, they get baldon the tail, it is quite bizarre. They are also slower than the squirrels that I am used to. I am originally from up around Truckee, and these Virginia squirrels are quite a bit slower from Sierra Nevada squirrels. I think they are a bit wiser too, because I have never had a Killer Squirrel encounter. Thus, Virginia squirrels, showing all the typical signs of age, and in such high numbers, obviously have come here to retire.
Angelic Squirrels?  I have a story about an AS (angelic squirrel) just to show that they aren't all devil spawn with intents to kill. I was riding down a trail in Santa Theresa park, when I lost control and slammed into a tree. I almost died, but thank God for the squirrels. They made a makeshift splint for my leg, brought me food, and carried me and my bike to my car. Those squirrels!

BradB at Stanford

 

Stanford Squirrels aren't any smarter...
Hi.  This turned out badly for the squirrel, and it has a spooky ending.   I was riding east (south?) on Junipero Serra, just after crossing the bridge at Alpine Road.  Date was July 18, I think.  There were riders ahead of me and behind me. I noticed there was a ground squirrel well into the bike lane, so that the folks ahead of me passed to the right of it.  Just as I tried to do the same, it made a move toward the edge of the road!  I swerved left to try and miss it, but I heard a woman behind me shout, "OHHH!  He just killed a squirrel!"  My rear wheel must have it it, but I never felt a thing.

It wasn't for about two weeks that I rode that route again.  I kept looking guiltily at the pavement, wondering if I would see the remains of a squished squirrel.  To my surprise, I was a_live_squirrel at almost the exact spot of the tragedy.  Was it waiting for a chance to avenge the other's death?

Bob F

And if he hadn't come along... This happened about four or five years ago in Hamilton Ontario Canada. I was about 14 years old and was biking on some semi-local trails.  Well I came down a long windy single track descent on the way to what I hoped was the way out (I was very lost), when all of a sudden about 8 chipmunks all burst out in front of me running back in forth across the trail.  I slammed on the brakes sliding along with my foot down, ready to slide my back out.   Luckely I didn't hit any of them.  I stopped, got my bearings (in a lost sort of "is that the sun?" way), and tried to decide between four different ways to go at a fork in the trail.  I turned around to go back the way I came, when I noticed the chipmunks again.  They were all scurring around the trail, apparently looking for food while defending some holes in the ground.  I watch them for a while and realized that they were protecting their burrows from each other while looking for nuts.  Well I figured that on their own it must have been a pain, because if they left, another squirrel would raid their home.  I walked my bike over to where they were and I guess I went unnonticed, or they figured at slow speeds I wasn't to be worried about.

There was one little chipmunk that was having alot of trouble with defending his hole.   I figured I'd help him out, it was the least I could do after almost killing him.   So I slowly moved closer and closer, offering him bits of banana bread I had brought.  Eventualy I actualy gained his trust, then showed him that I would guard his hole while he search for food.  Amazingly it worked.  After a while he would just leave his hole without looking around for enemy chipmunks, he would just let me take care of it for him.  And I did a good job too.  I chased so many chipmunks that day.  It was alot of fun.  I suggest it to anybody. Eventualy it was getting late, and I was still lost.  So I said goodbye to my little chipmunk friend, and continued on my aimless, lost way.                   -Joe Stirling
Squirrel chooses life instead of death!
Mike-
        Well, not quite a killer squirrel.  Was riding back up Tunitas from the coast yesterday, with Carl Madson (who also frequents Chain Reaction, at both stores).  Just cruising along in the relatively flatter section, about 2 miles from the top, when from my right comes a squirrel, headed for my front wheel.  I swerved toward Carl, he swerved toward the edge of the road, and our rodent friend stopped just short of my wheel, hesitated, then turned and ran back to the other side of the road.  A squirrel that actually ran in the right direction, for a change!
        Carl thinks we should ride with t-shirts or jerseys that say "I'm  not with Mike!"  But maybe this squirrel knew that, after all...    
        See you later...Ted
Squirrel lives to tell a tale...
Last fall I had an encounter with one of KS's southern relatives. While descending a wooded fire road in the nearby San Gabriel Mtns (about 20 mi NE of downtown LA), a "hari-kiri" suicide squirrel launched itself from the verge directly into my crankset. I slammed on the brakes and once stopped, looked back up the trail at a seemingly lifeless "wee beastie".As I'm sympathetic to the plight of most animals, I turned around, and rode back up hill to see if there was anything I could "do". As I knelt over the motionless squirrel, he opened his eyes suddenly, took stock of the helmeted Oakley-clad monster, and bolted into the chaparral! All's well tha ends well...no damage to the bike/cyclist and apparently, no lasting damage to the squirrel.

Yes, we have all had run-ins with dogs, their fascination with things that roll past is legendary.  Cats have also been known to assert their hunter-killer tiger instinct with respect to riders.  Killer squirrels are probably one of the most unlikely threats, their reputation as one of the cutest of rodents (although some will call them ‘tree rats’) conceals their sometimes apparently hostile intent.  However, I have encountered a much more severe threat to cyclists, and luckily lived to tell about it. 

That threat is the Killer Groundhog. 

I have encountered mentally deficient suicidal squirrels before, and have even had a couple bounce off pedals or spokes due to their odd sense of timing.  But nothing prepared me for the insidious nature of my encounter with the largest of this countries indigenous relative of the kamikaze squirrel, the gnarly groundhog.   

It was an early spring afternoon around 20 years ago, and, as usual I was riding my treasured Cannondale through the varied terrain of the military installation on which I was stationed.  Other than some heavier tires than usual, my bike was very much a racer/cruiser.  There was not the same market for off-road/trail/mountain biking back then.  I did however venture off-road using many of the numerous foot-trails on the slightly hilly fort to the advantage of my workout as well as my schedule.   One that I used often used to wind down a nice hill across a narrow foot bridge and back up another modest hill.  When pressed for time it was a sure bet that I would be traveling rather quickly.  Now, if there happened to be walkers or joggers in the area, as was typical in the early mornings, there would be plenty of visual warning and more than enough time to slow down, take an alternate fork in the trail that went up to the road to cross the creek at a different point, or even just stop and wait to cross.   Being afternoon with most troops engaged in their usual duties and myself in route from point A to point B, from one job to another( I preferred riding to taking the usual bus or checking out a jeep ), I was making time.  Coming down the hill I could see all wide open spaces and no one around so I was set for the high speed assault of the next hill via the foot bridge.  Something accomplished many times previous by myself, and aside from the usual rush of traveling very fast on fairly narrow paths, nothing too troublesome to worry about. 

Or so I thought.  As I entered the footbridge I was shocked to see a rather large, angry looking groundhog pop up from a hole at the other end and proceed to practically charge in front of me.  He actually ran up on the foot bridge toward me stopping after a few feet to turn to give me a view of his bulk and effectively block my path. With no way to avoid this gigantic rodent, trapped into straight line travel and going very fast, my only choice was to shed as much speed as possible with both handbrakes. There was, however, not enough room to stop before collision, and it was much like running into a log or large rock at about 20 mph, only with nice steel handrails to dislocate my shoulder on impact.   

I was fairly lucky, not wearing a helmet, a lot of my forward momentum was absorbed by one of the handrails of the footbridge attempting to separate me from my shoulder, and the Cannondale which was still attached to my right foot, wedging sideways and torquing my big toe to the point it snapped.  I was lucky and the final count could have been a lot worse.  I ended up with a few bruises including a black eye, a dislocated shoulder, broken toe, two damaged wheels and a broken front fork.  The groundhog I am sure sustained some damage as well, but by the time I was coherent enough to stand up (and found out just how painful a broken great toe can be) the groundhog was lumbering away squealing and snorting thoroughly upset with me, probably for not crushing my skull.  Needless to say, I never took that particular path again, I would hate to think how bad it would be now that he had a real reason for a grudge against me.  Besides, shortly after I had repaired the damage to the bike, someone else decided that they needed it more than I did, and I never saw it again, proving that there is a 2-legged variety of rat that can also put a damper on your cycling.   Rob S.

Squirrels play chicken
Okay so there I was at 6:15 am riding along when these rodents decided to play chicken not Squirrel. They launched their attack from the middle of the road. As I approached these two `chickens' they held their ground. Finally at the last moment we both swerved at the same time in the same direction (of course) , and I smacked one of those rats with the ratted up tail with my foot, and then under my rear wheel. As I slowed down to look behind me to see what damage I had done, he was already up dusting himself off and laughing I tell you, laughing. I could swear that the other squirrel was patting him on the back as they scurried across the bike lane and up into the trees to tell the rest of their comrades of their early morning adventure.
Squirrel/Snake hybrid?

Calabazas park is overrun with these killer hari kiri suicide squirrels. We have gotten used to it over the past few years as their population has grown. But every time you go to fly off a jump there be KS running all over the place darting under your tires and pedals as some form of rodent chicken game. Oh yeah we hit a lot too. You hang out long enough you're sure to hear some kid yell "Hey i just killed a squirrel over here and its still twitching!!!"

In fact the other day i was jumping the wack pack and I had startled a poor young KS sunning himself on the back side of the jump and all he could do was was just turn his head and hiss with a sort of I'M NOT TAKING THIS S#!T anymore. It was the most scary thing I had ever seen! BRAD Chain Reaction wrench los altos. p.s I have heard of killer lizards that have gone after other chain employees

Killer Kittens???  Ok, I read the KS stories on your web page and thought "been there, done
that."  My first experience with a KS was in high school and my most recent was last Friday.  No biggie. But now I've run across a new breed-the Killer Kitten (KK).   In the last few weeks I've been making my morning commute on the Alameda Creek Trail from Fremont to Hayward at about 5:45 AM, and more than once, a small grey kitten has waited beside the trail and pounced at my bike. OK, even though I'm on a touring bike and not a racer I'm still faster than a kitten, and neither my bike nor the juvenile feline have sustained injury.
But what of the future?  Is this kitten going to grow up, reproduce and teach its offspring to hunt bicycles?  We cyclists may be in for a plague worse than Volvo drivers and the SF Police combined!     Stay alert and helmeted, Zack Ben-Moshe
Cross-dressing as chickens?
My squirrel was dressed in a chicken costume when she took on my road bike.  Came blasting out of a hedge squawking and pecking at my Pedali Combos.  Nicked her wing with the back wheel and sent her packing.  No sight of her on subsequent rides.

I've also had a chipmunk bounce off the back wheel.  He/she hit it pretty hard and left a couple of red marks on the road.

Final story relates to our deer overpopulation problem here.  Three people living on my block have hit them in the last three years with cars (yours truly included), but I've also had to put down the bike TWICE to keep from hitting them -- once on my mountain bike in the field behind our development and once on the road bike about a quarter-mile from the squirrel in the chicken costume.  They must know I cycle for health reasons!

Thom
But why tires?
You're right. Squirrels do have that Killer instinct, but I call them 'Kamikaze' squirrels, because they aim for your tires.

Claudette
I'd take a squirrel any day...
ITS NOT A SQUIRREL BUT BIGGER .......A HUGE BUCK RIGHT ON THE TRAIL,STOMPS HIS FOOT AND SNORTS. THE LAST THING I COULD REMEMBER IS ME FLYING DOWN THE TRAIL....WOW WAS I SCARED..

MATT

Ducks, bats, rattlers (but no squirrels?)
Well, I guess I've encountered a few animals on my travels, although not all in the wilds.

While riding the Washington Cross-State Trail from Idaho to Snoqualmie Pass I flushed bats out from inside tunnels, frightened owls from perches in rock cuts, had coyotes track me for miles parallel to the trail, and had deer walk up on the railroad grade and just stand there as I approached to about 20 feet, blocking the trail.  I also would hear the rattle of the tails of rattlesnakes, but did not stop to investigate.  The route involved
going through open range land and trying to avoid cows without getting them upset.

While hiking with BBTC at Cougar Mountain (to show how wide the trails are) a black bear dashed across the trail in front of me.  No one else saw it because I am so wide that no one could see around me.

In my road racing days while on a training ride on the Burke-Gilman with a pack of 15 riders I ran over a duck which survived ( I didn't go down). The funny part is that I was at the front of the pack and yelled "duck" and everyone ignored me because I am 6'6" and am always complaining about low
hanging branches. 

While riding the Mountain Loop Highway on my road bike I came to the bridge over a creek just as a cougar rounded the bridge abuttment at the other end and came onto the bridge.   He turned tail and I practiced my sprint technique.  Because I was going so fast when he appeared I ended up about 20' feet close to him.  Big.

Keep your eyes open..............Fred Wert
Rider keeps secret inside for years...
I never knew that here was such a thing as a whole breed known as the KS until I came across this Mtn Biking web page.  I have had a relatively inexpensive Huffy (nothing serious) for many years and just pedal around, the difference between this and other stories you get is that I live in a city!

I was in HS (many years ago) and racing to my sisters baseball game with my mind on which of her girlfriends I might be able to talk to ! Suddenly the leaves at the side of the road exploded and a KS ran from r to L in front of my front wheel.  IT MADE IT! I was braking full and slowing fast and it TURNED and ran back between my tires, it wasn't so lucky the second time.  The crunching noise, I'm sure, was heard for miles.  I stopped and sat with it while it twitched and spun like it was pinned in the middle.
When it kicked a last time I used a stick to get it on the curb and give it a quick burial with leaves. 

I carried this with me for years and now that I'm trying to learn about Mtn. bikes and a new bike I realize (thanks to your page) that they are just an occurence and not a singular attack against me!  Thank you and I hope that my story will help another deal with this seemingly random act of violence in the city!

John J. Neff (Neophyte mtn biker)
3 encounters on the UC Santa Cruz campus
Liked your story about the the KS.... but you're not the only one this has happened to.

I attended college at UC Santa Cruz back in the late 80's. I lived with a bunch of bike crazy housemates off campus near Natural Bridges State Park. If you have ever seen the campus, you will know there is a great bike trail that goes up the middle of campus. It's bikes only -- no pedestrians or cars. It is in the middle of a large field, and is a 40mph + ride home! The ground squirrels would jump out all the time!! I killed two KS and hurt one.

(1) The first one was with a 1985 Univega Alpina Uno mountain bike -- heavy beast, and it was just a small bump. No damage to me or the bike, and the KS died instantly (I checked him out).

(2) Later I bought a early TREK 1000, which was much faster than the mountain bike. I nailed one at 40MPH dead on. Large bump, but again no damage to the bike, and I stayed up .. although my nerves were shaken!

(3) On the same Trek, It was a close call, and I ended up chopping the tailoff the poor beast! My friends thought that was very funny, but I felt kind of bad...Anyways, I like your site, I am waiting to see when you are going to advertise that the the Carbon mountain bikes are going go on sale ...-Nick Gould
Squirrel Nip?
After reading the many stories and hearing some from friends, I have a new theory about the Killer Squirrel phenomenon. I believe that the squirrel equivalent of catnip (squirrelnip?) is present in the rubber parts of our vehicles. As the tires spin, they are heated, thus releasing squirrelnip.

But the release of squirrelnip does not just require heat, it is also highly dependent upon the rotational velocity of the tires. This explains why killer squirrels only attack moving vehicles.

The one exception to this rule would be rubber that has been used to make foam such as that found in bicycle seats. Once turned into foam, rubber releases squirrelnip quite readily as it is heated. Take for example my riding buddy. Taking a short break on a trail, he leaned his bike against a tree while he sat in the grass enjoying the beautiful day. Chomping and chewing noises pulled him from his reverie only to discover a killer squirrel eating his seat. While most killer squirrels develop a quick high off of the smell of squirrelnip, the direct consumption has a much more drastic effect. Eating squirrelnip leads to much higher levels of squirrelnip in the bloodstream than simply sniffing it, turning the once timid beast into a snarling monster. Despite repeated attempts to drive the monster away, the only solution was to grab the bike and ride like mad to escape the gnashing teeth of the killer squirrel. 

Obviously, more research is needed to understand the effects of squirrelnip. However, we must all realize that this powerful drug can turn a cute fuzzy woodland creature into the kamikaze beasts we call Killer Squirrels.

Keep the helmet side up and the rubber side down, Buck  Houston, TX

Motorcycles too!
Just discovered your KS site.  Whatta hoot.  I had no idea anyone else had made of study of the squirrel-across-the-road phenomenon.

Some of your contributors have hinted at it, but I'll tell you for a certainty why squirrels do what they do.  They're not confused, they're not scared, they're not undecided.  They're playing a game. The American Indian called it counting coup, we call it playing chicken, the squirrels call it "can't touch me."  Sometimes they get it wrong.

I discovered this frequently observed but greatly misunderstood phenomenon when I started taking long bike rides on the back roads of San Diego County.  I suspect this is heresy to you all, but for clarification, my bike has a big V-Twin motor on it.

Now to why I know what I know.

Event 1:  Riding by myself on a sun dappled, gently curving, rising and falling road named Mesa Grande at about 40 MPH when I see a squirrel standing up along side the road about 100 yards ahead.  There's not another vehicle around for miles.  The squirrel waits, I know what he's gonna do, and move to the center of the road.  Just when it's too late to cross the road in front of me (which is the whole purpose of the game), he drops to all four and takes his showoff shot. I thought for sure I'd run over him, but he went right between my wheels.  I'm sure this is NOT what he intended to do, but his luck held that day.

Event 2:  Coming down South Grade off Palomar Mtn. with two other motorcycles, I once again spotted the "I'm gonna do it" squirrel standing up in the distance.  We're going about 35
MPH when Mr. Macho shoots across the road in front of the first bike.  He immediately spins about and makes a second pass back the way he came in front of the second bike.  Not
content with two close calls, he makes a third pass in front of me.  This all happened VERY quickly.  I looked behind me only to see him now sitting straight up on the opposite side
of the road from where his game of chicken began.  If this hadn't been enough, the next event convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt of the game they're playing.

Event 3:  I'm riding on a very woodsie narrow twisting road at 10-15 MPH when I spot two squirrels on the right side of the road about 50 yards ahead.  As I get close to the first
squirrel, he drops to all four and races across the road in front of me.  This wasn't all that close, but he appeared to be young and inexperienced.  The second guy was much larger, and obviously much more experienced.  He did not jump the gun, but waited just right, did his dash barely in front of my front wheel, THEN did a hard right and ran right along side me, on the road, for at least 100 feet.  When I tooted my horn to see what he'd do, he changed pace and went into great flying leaps, three of them, then off into the woods on the left side of the road.  If I had any doubt up to that point in time that they were playing games with us, it went to zero right then and there.

Regards, Gary in San Diego

Park bicyclist conquers cat

by Mike Dawson
Peninsula Daily News
Sunday, May 26, 1996

PORT ANGELES -
Of all the humans the cougar could have attacked Friday, it had the rotten luck to tangle with Phil Anderson, dog wrestler, jujitsu fan. "I went to my back, wrapped my legs around him, rolled over and mounted him and started choking him, choking him forever," Anderson said Saturday. "It was just nuts."

Anderson, 28, a Port Angeles mountain bike enthusiast, spent Saturday on the couch, healing from the cougar attack in Olympic National Park. He had been riding his mountain bike on the Wolf Creek Trail Friday afternoon. The trail is an old road that runs from Whiskey Bend on the Elwha River to Hurrican Ridge. Whiskey Bend is about 20 miles west of Port Angeles. It is also the head of the popular Hume's Ranch Trail.

Anderson had ridden his bike up Wolf Creek Trail for about two hours. On the way down, he stopped 150 feet from the parking lot, dismounted the bike and removed his helmet. He picked up a sweatshirt he had left trail-side on his way up.

He had just pulled the heavy, black sweatshirt down over this head when he spied his opponent. "He just moved out of the shadows, so smoothly and quickly." When the cat came at him, he started running backwards, he said. He figured the cougar weighed about 80 pounds. The cougar kept coming, then leapt at Anderson's chest.

Anderson fell to his back, locked his legs around the cougar, flipped over and buried his thumbs in the animal's throat. He kept the front paws pinned back with his forearms, he said. He had the cat pretty much subdued, but it wouldn't die.

"I was watching him go in and out," Anderson said. "We were at a stalemate."

To his surprise, the cat made no noise while it struggled, Anderson said. He, however, was shouting for help. After about two and a half or three minutes, the cat still wriggling, Anderson got his thumb in the cougar's mouth. He just smashed it," Anderson said. That gave the cat the edge. As Anderson lost his grip, that cat's claws went into a whirl, ripping at the thick,  baggy sweatshirt.

Some of the claws caught Anderson's chest. "He put a lot more holes in my sweatshirt than he did in me," Anderson said. Not wanting any more, the combatants exploded away from each other and ran.

Anderson ran down the trail, grabbed a baseball bat in his van and returned for his bike.

The cat had stuck around, still looking for food. "He carried off my bag with four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in it," Anderson said.

It was the end of Anderson's first cougar sighting.

Anderson is a short, wiry, high-energy kind of guy with powerful arms and legs, a flat stomach and short hair. He's an Olympic Peninsula version of a surfer dude, with a passion for speed and gravity. He's also a mountain bike guide and unemployed waiter. The cougar, rather than picking on a tasty tourist, jumped a former college wrestler. And he has some other skills that prepared him for cougar fighting, he said. "I've been doing this jujitsu dog thing." While unemployed last winter, he spent a lot of time wrestling with a 120-pound German Shepherd named Forest, who was named for the trees.

Forest, who loves to wrestle, has been getting a taste of jujitsu, too. Anderson employs a move he picked up from "ultimate fighting," a new anything-goes sport in which people fight without gloves. The move is a defensive tactic, to help a little guy take down a big guy and choke him out. Anderson had already mastered the move on Forest. So when the cougar came along, Anderson was ready.

"It's something I think about all the time," he said.

He had good reason to imagine a cat fight. Cougar sightings have been reported in the Hurricane Ridge and Elwha districts of the Park once a week for the last month, ranger Gary Gissell said. At least two cougars, including one with a limp, have been identified. There may be one or two more, he said.

Rangers don't plan to hunt down Anderson's opponent, he said. With so many in the area, there would be no way to tell which one to hunt. Besides, he said, Anderson may have turned the cougar's attention to rabbits. "Hopefully, he may have turned the cougar off from hunting humans," he said.

Gissell said he looked over the fight scene and found cougar tracks and signs of a struggle. He also learned, through Anderson's admission, that Anderson was riding on a trail where bikes are forbidden.

The fine is $50. However, Gissel let the injured wrestler off the hook.

"The cougar was his warning," he said.


Want to make some sense out of it all? Perhaps this Squirrel Web Page might help!

Last updated 09/10/09

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