As the Grand Canyon National Park prepares for a busy Memorial Day weekend, they took a moment to post a warning to visitors about the wild animal that causes the most injuries – squirrels.
Yes, those adorable furry animals that seem so friendly.
The grayish-brown rock squirrels are often seen along the Riverside Walk trail, but have figured out that humans equal food. It is illegal to feed or approach wildlife, but that hasn’t stopped people from offering snacks to the squirrels.
“Although they may look cute and come right up to you, please remember that squirrels are wild animals—don’t feed them, and keep your distance—because they can bite,” states the park on their website.
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Park officials posted a wildlife safety warning on Facebook to keep visitors and animals safe. “Enjoy squirrels from a safe Distance. Their sharp teeth crack nuts — and cut fingers. On a busy holiday weekend, as many as 30 park visitors with bleeding fingers will require medical attention.”
Feeding wildlife puts people and animals at risk.
Squirrels are not meant to eat human food. It is hard for them to digest and has caused multiple fatalities.
Once animals start to rely on humans for food, they can become aggressive. “These squirrels have been known to get into backpacks, lunch pails, and trash cans, and to steal food right out of visitors’ hands.”
Look but don’t touch.
Visitors are asked to keep a distance of 50 feet from small animals, like squirrels, and 100 feet away from large animals.
Just remember the saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.”
As with any wild animal, if a squirrel approaches you, back away and give them space.
The safety of the animals and visitors is of utmost importance to the park, so they created a video asking people to “find their inner ranger” when it comes to the adorable squirrels and keep wildlife wild. Check it out below.
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