Japan zoo hunts squirrels that fled in typhoon

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 21 2012 07:45 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2012 03:45 AM

TOKYO, Japan - Zookeepers in Japan were Thursday hunting a group of squirrels that made a break for freedom under cover of a powerful typhoon.

About 30 of the bushy-tailed creatures saw their chance when typhoon Guchol felled a tree near their enclosure at Tokyo's Inokashira Park Zoo, cutting a hole in the netting that held them captive.

Park workers used nets and traps to recapture 18 animals over Wednesday and Thursday morning, but were still on the lookout for a determined dozen.

"Today we set traps with pieces of bread and sweet potatoes, the food we usually give them," zoo spokeswoman Eri Tsushima said.

"They don't usually attack humans, but they have very sharp front teeth, so we urge people not to chase or tease them."

Inokashira Park Zoo, in western Tokyo, is near the busy shopping hub of Kichijoji, an area where wild squirrels are not usually found.

The squirrel escape comes a month after the recapture of a Humbolt penguin that spent 82 days at large in and around Tokyo Bay after bolting its aquarium enclosure, garnering a large media following around the world.

Typhoon Guchol raked Japan's main island of Honshu on Tuesday night, leaving one man dead and injuring 50 people, while badly affecting air, road and rail links.