My Hyde Park Mishap

Posted on 03. Feb, 2012 by in Europe Travel, United Kingdom

I’ll remember this day forever, and for many reasons. Not only had I just spent a lovely morning exploring the market on the iconic Portobello Road, I also happened to get the surprise of my life in the form of an engagement ring in Hyde Park. This day couldn’t get any better, right?

No. It was too good already - karma had to keep it down a notch.

My now-fiancé and I were strolling on the Carriage Drive, contemplating our future together, in the usual post-engagement bliss. In my excitement and my oh-my-god-this-is-such-a-beautiful-day state of mind, I kind of swiped away my common sense and got overly excited at the sight of dozens of squirrels right at my feet. It’s not every day a wild animal approaches passers by, I was not going to let this occasion slip by!

Well hello there.

The squirrels kept coming and running around me, and I thought it was all pretty funny. You know how cute squirrels can be, right? Then, I remembered I had a granola bar in my purse - the ideal squirrel-snack, I thought. I started throwing some pieces here and there, until I had the most brilliant idea of my life.

Let’s hand-feed them.

However, my granola bar was pretty much already done, and I had very few pieces left. I started tempting them into coming even closer to me so I could get the perfect shot of me feeding a cute English squirrel (because yes, they are much cuter than their foreign equivalents).

That’s not exactly what happened.

As soon as I got close enough to the squirrel to feed it, not only did it steal the last piece of my granola bar, it also took the liberty of taking a piece of my thumb. You read that right - the little bugger bit me! I didn’t really hurt at first and it only bled a little, so I thought it was kind of funny.

Tempting, uh?

Only then did I started thinking that squirrels were just rats with a cuter outfit (thank you Carrie Bradshaw for this memorable quote). They are wild animals. They carry diseases. I was bitten, and I was going to die of tetanus. Or rabies. Or worse! My panicked mind didn’t know what to do and by then, I was starting to bleed quite a bit. I did not know this neighborhood well, and I needed to find a pharmacy or a hospital.

My fiancé (thank God I married him) had the presence of mind to ask passers-by about a pharmacy. An elder couple was definitely willing to help, and they started asking very pertinent questions, like…

“What color was the squirrel? Was it grey or red?”

What the hell does it matter?! Ever the Canadian, I thanked them profusely even though I was internally fuming. And still bleeding. I ventured out and ended up at a close by hospital, where I was able to get my bite cleaned up, my tetanus shot renewed and penicilen tabs, just in case. In the end it was all fine, but that was still one hell of a change of plans, to say the least! I bet my fiancé hadn’t thought about the possibility of me running to a hospital after he proposed!

Do not be fooled by the cute furry coat!

I know I made a fool of myself that day, and let me tell you, squirrels are vicious little creatures, devils hidden under a furry coat, and never again will you see me approach one.  I had my lesson, and I much prefer the animals in a zoo, now, thank you very much!

Did you ever have a mishap with wild animals on your travels? Are more on the safe or adventurous side?

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15 Responses to “My Hyde Park Mishap”

  1. Edna

    03. Feb, 2012

    What a crazy story! I always find it funny when people get excited over squirrels — I grew up in Pennsylvania, where squirrels are as annoying and commonplace as deer. When I went to college all the out-of-staters had the same englightenment you did — they thought they were cute at first then quickly realized squirrels are not creatures to be trifled with!

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  2. The World of Deej

    03. Feb, 2012

    Awesome story…Viscous squirrel! One morning my wife and I were getting a croissant at a stand at the Boardwalk resort at Disney. The lady handed my wife her pastry, and as we started to walk away a sea gull dive bombed her and took the thing right out of her hands. I would not have believed it had I not been standing there…

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  3. Dayna

    04. Feb, 2012

    I laughed so hard reading this! Especially about the bit where you mentioned they are rats in cuter costumes. Hyde Park was so much fun, but next time I go back, I’ll be sure to stay clear of the squirrels. Sounds like a bright idea I would’ve had, feeding them by hand!

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  4. Abby

    05. Feb, 2012

    At least he didn’t run off with your new ring — congratulations!!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Laurel

    06. Feb, 2012

    Awww, he looks too cute to bite, but it does make for a memorable engagement story! I also love that quote by Carrie Bradshaw.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Andrew

    06. Feb, 2012

    Congrats on the engagement.

    Squirrels are indeed pretty cool. The gray ones I believe come from North America. In Germany here, our native brand are smaller and redish.
    A kiwi friend of mine tells a story of being in London somewhere with a friend of his getting really drunk on a nice summer day. When his friend tries to feed the squirrel like you did, and the squirrel latches on as this guy swings it around a few times trying to dislodge it. I have no clue if it is true,but makes a good story during half time of a rugby game at the pub.

    Glad you are ok and no worse for the wear. Life is about acquiring stories and this is a good one.

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  7. Squirrels are evil. They try to lure you in by being all charming and cute, but them BAM! Their evilness reveals itself.

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  8. Nancy Sathre-Vogel

    07. Feb, 2012

    Love it! When I little we had a lot of squirrels in the trees in our yard. We used to hand feed them, but we always put the food on the palm of our hand rather than holding it in our fingers. It’s harder for them to get their teeth into a flat open palm. Just a tip for the next time :)

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  9. Daryl

    08. Feb, 2012

    The only disease I would be worried about is rabies- and we don’t really have it in this country so yep, you should be fine :) But come on, what were you thinking?!! Squirrels are like “food food mating food food”- NOTHING else! Ha!

    Congrats on the engagement

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  10. Now you have a romantic AND funny story about your engagement.

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  11. cheryl

    12. Feb, 2012

    Ha ha ha … glad the bite wasn’t too serious and congrats and the engagement. :)

    Reply to this comment
  12. Jade - OurOyster.com

    20. Feb, 2012

    hahaha! So funny! Im glad you didn’t get any disease from it!

    Reply to this comment
  13. BigL

    18. Jun, 2012

    I go into Hyde Park every day for lunch. Today there were a lot of squirrels around for some reason. One adventurous little blighter came running down a tree, straight across the path and climbed up my leg and helped himself to some grapes I was eating.

    Funny thing was about 2 minutes later another squirrel tried to do the exact same thing.

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