AUBURN — At least it wasn’t an alligator.

An Auburn teen is flustered but unharmed after a photo op with a squirrel went awry in Florida.

Brian Genest, 17, said Wednesday he saw what appeared to be a friendly squirrel on a handrail as he was walking through John Chestnut Park near Tampa. He was on a trip looking at colleges.

Genest tried to take a selfie with the squirrel, but the flash from his camera phone scared the animal, which climbed under Genest’s shirt and hung onto his back.

Genest’s mother snapped photos of the spectacle, which are posted on her son’s Facebook page.

Genest said Thursday that he approached the squirrel “making a clicking noise with my tongue; phone drawn. When I got close enough, the squirrel actually tried grabbing my phone. I shook it off, and then snapped the first photo.”

What could possibly go wrong?

“Next thing I knew,” Genest said, “the squirrel was on my shoulder, then under my shirt, and then hanging off my back! The second photo is courtesy of my mom, who collapsed laughing with me shortly after that.”

Both cameraman and squirrel survived the ordeal. For Genest, the vacation continues.

“No rabies shot was necessary,” Genest said. “Many commenters (on Facebook) pointed out that squirrels don’t often have rabies — just a few minor scratches, really.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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