A three-year-old boy was left pouring with blood when he was attacked by a “pack” of squirrels as he fed them.
The animals pounced and bit Finlay Renouf five times at a country park in Cornwall, his mother Sophie, said.
“All of a sudden six of them came at him. I’ve never heard such a heart-rending scream. There was blood dripping everywhere,” she said.
Cornwall Council said it may put up warning signs about feeding animals “if this becomes a regular problem”.
Shop assistant Ms Renouf, 22, from Pool, said she had been to Tehidy Country Park several times before and fed the squirrels with Finlay.
“He was feeding them as normal with nuts. I wouldn’t let him feed them if I thought there was any danger,” she said.
“One squirrel came up and then all of a sudden six of them came out of the hedge.
“One of them bit him on the hand five times.
“There was blood pouring out of his hand and down his legs, it was all over him.”
RSPCA squirrel advice
“Many people enjoy seeing grey squirrels while out in the countryside and they can be safely observed from a reasonable distance. Squirrel feeders are available to buy or make for people who want to feed squirrels in their garden.
“We would never recommend any adult or child hand feed any wild animal as they can be unpredictable.
“This must have been very upsetting, but fortunately these incidents are extremely rare.”
As she went to help Finlay, one squirrel tried to climb up her, she said.
She rushed Finlay to nearby Barncoose Hospital minor injuries unit but he was transferred to Cornwall’s main hospital, Treliske, near Truro.
He is now recovering with bandages on his fingers.
“Nothing like this has happened to us there before,” Ms Renouf said.
“It’s a warning to others.”
Cornwall Council said it was “sorry to hear about the incident”.
A spokesman said: “Many people visit Tehidy Country Park to see the squirrels so they are quite used to people being around and unafraid to approach if they think food might be available.”
“However, they are wild animals which are naturally capable of finding their own food and we do not encourage or advise people to feed them or any of the wild birds at Tehidy.”
According to several entries on Trip Advisor, Tehidy is a good place to feed squirrels.
One visitor wrote: “This is a beautiful tranquil place that’s huge and great for exploring with or without the children. It also has very friendly grey squirrels, huge swans and beautiful wildlife.”