But Staten Island Chuck did have a nice snack.....He BIT Mayor Bloomberg.
Why the Groundhog Bit the Mayor
By Fernanda Santos AND Sewell Chan
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tempts Staten Island Chuck out of his cage with corn on the cob.There are animals — hibernating bears come to mind, or emergency room doctors after an overnight shift — who don’t appreciate being roused from their slumber. Perhaps that’s what irked Chuck the groundhog Monday morning on Staten Island, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tried to lure him out of his cage.
Chuck wasn’t up for whatever it was that Mr. Bloomberg had planned for him, or for predicting how much longer winter is going to last, for that matter. And he got so annoyed at Mr. Bloomberg that he bit his glove-clad left hand.
The mayor seemed upset at Chuck, or perhaps a bit hurt by his reaction. During an unrelated announcement later in the day at City Hall, he provided few details, but he was firm on his labeling of the 3-year-old, 10-pound groundhog.
“Let me say this: For security reasons, there’s a limit to what I can say, but I think it is fair that whenever the people of Staten Island are at risk, the mayor is willing to put himself at risk, his physical well-being in harm’s way, to protect them,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
He added, “Given the heightened response against terrorism, and clearly in this case a terrorist rodent who could very well have been trained by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, I’m not at liberty to say any more than that.”
New Yorkers, and animal lovers of the world, have no reason to worry. Chuck G. Hogg, as the groundhog is formally known, is a healthy rodent, so he won’t have to be sacrificed — and the mayor won’t have to take a rabies shot. The wound, inflicted on Mr. Bloomberg’s index finger, just needed to be cleaned and covered with a Band-Aid.
The animal attack — captured on video by The Staten Island Advance — happened around 7:30 a.m. during the annual Groundhog Day ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo. There were no other injuries and, as the mayor indicated during an unrelated announcement at City Hall later in the day, no arrests.
“If the district attorney wants to press charges, I’ll leave it to the district attorney in Staten Island to do so,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “But we can rest assured that we have enough police officers on Staten Island — we’re building a new precinct there — just to make sure we can always respond.”
Mary Lee Montalvo, a spokeswoman for the Staten Island Zoo, said that Chuck did not have a history of aggressive behavior and was regularly taken by zoo employees on visits with students and school groups. She said:
He’s a wild animal. He may be as domesticated as a groundhog can be, in that he goes home with a keeper on occasion and he’s around humans quite a bit, more so than most zoo animals are, with the exception of animals in the petting area. But he is a wild animal. There’s always that risk with a wild animal.
Chuck was born on a farm three years ago and is from the same “family” that included the first Chuck unveiled at the Staten Island Zoo in 1981, Ms. Montalvo said. She said the current Chuck, at age 3, is fully grown, but she noted that groundhogs’ teeth continue to grow throughout life. Ms. Montalvo explained Chuck’s behavior this way:
He was probably nervous. There was a lot of activity outside, and he was probably nervous. He was basically concentrating on his food. The mayor’s fingers may have just been there. He wasn’t necessarily going for the mayor.http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... the-mayor/