WASHINGTON—In their latest effort to educate and prepare the public for crossing the path of the ubiquitous rodents, the U. S. National Park Service released a detailed guide Friday advising visitors on what they should do if they encounter a squirrel. “We’ve published a step-by-step guide urging guests to remain absolutely still and try to ‘make themselves appear big’ by spreading their feet if they ever happen upon a squirrel in the wild,” said Park Service Wildlife Management deputy director Dan Smith, who stressed that the Park Service had installed high-visibility signage in areas where large concentrations of the bushy-tailed animals are found. “Movies such as Ice Age would have you believe that squirrels are friendly, mischievous at worst, with absolutely no thirst for human blood or history of carrying off infants only to climb up trees with them and eat their pink little heads as if they were apples. But remember, these are feral animals, perfectly adapted to survive and thrive in a harsh environment. There are, in fact, several species of squirrels in North America, and our new materials will cover interactions with each one, although you’ll want to avoid eye contact with all of them and absolutely safeguard your food when camping. And in the event that a squirrel does sprint off with your store of nuts, for the love of God, absolutely do not chase after them.” The Park Service also announced that capsaicin-based anti-squirrel mace would be sold in all national park gift shops.
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