‘Help, I’m being chased by a squirrel’ – the cry for assistance that police usually receive.
But that’s exactly what happened in the German city of Karlsruhe, however, when officers were asked to rescue a distressed man who was desperately trying to flee from a clingy baby squirrel.
8am yesterday, police were called at by the man and, according to the force’s Facebook page, officers immediately ‘sent a patrol to investigate the matter’
It added: ‘In fact, the police there met the man being persecuted by the stubborn little creature.’
Officers warmed to the stricken creature, posting that it had become their ‘new mascot’ after they ‘baptized it in the name of Karl-Friedrich’.
The squirrel was so exhausted from its pursuit of the man that it ‘fell asleep because of the horror’, police added
Karl-Friedrich was ‘taken in to police custody’, where staff immediately sought new accommodation ‘for the little squirrel, which apparently was looking for a new mother.
‘The animal is now in [an animal rescue centre] and is well looked after.
‘We wish the little one all the best!’
Police spokeswoman Christina Krenz told the Guardian that it was likely the baby squirrel had targeted the man because it was seeking a new home, adding: ‘It often happens that squirrels which have lost their mothers look for a replacement and then focus their efforts on one person.’
“It often happens that squirrels which have lost their mothers look for a replacement and then focus their efforts on one person,” said Christina Krenz, a police spokeswoman.
She said the animals could be “very persistent, not just running behind someone, but entirely fixated on them. It can be pretty scary. The man didn’t know what to do and so he called the police. He was certainly feeling a bit threatened.”
But police on the scene appeared more amused than alarmed.
“A squirrel will be our new mascot, it will be christened Karl-Friedrich,” said the police write-up. “The squirrel has fallen asleep in fright.”
Krenz said: “It was just a bit of fun. The officers thought up a name that would suit the baby squirrel.”
Officers took the sleeping Karl-Friedrich into police custody, and then to an animal rescue centre, where it was said to be doing well.
Krenz said the rescue centre was looking after two other abandoned baby squirrels brought in on the same day for similar reasons, though theirs was the only case in which police have had to intervene.