Vacationing teen’s squirrel selfie goes nuts online

Teen snaps a squirrel selfie while on vacation, and then things took a turn. (NBC/NECN)

AUBURN, Maine (NBC/NECN) — A teenager in Maine woke up Thursday morning to find his vacation photos plastered all over the Internet, including sites in India and the United Kingdom.

So why all the buzz?

Brian Genest just returned from a family trip to Florida, where he learned the hard way that squirrels don’t like selfies.

It was back to school Thursday for the 17-year-old. Like many teens in New England, he spent spring break in Florida with his family.

One big difference, though, his vacation photos have been seen by millions of people around the globe.

“I didn’t think it would get this big at all, but it did,” said Brian, who snapped the squirrel selfie. “It’s awesome.”

The story starts with a squirrel.

“I saw the little squirrel, and I started making this clicking noise with my tongue — kind of like a click-clack kind of thing,” said Brian.

Brian kept moving closer, hoping he could snap a selfie. He did — and captured a wonderful and very brief moment with nature.

“It went from extremely cute and fuzzy to extreme attack squirrel,” said Brian.

He was stunned when the squirrel leaped from the fence onto his back. If you look closely at one of the pictures, you can see the squirrel under his T-shirt.

“I could feel his claws,” said Brian. “It was a little freaky.”

Brian flailed and turned trying to get the squirrel off his body. Who was taking these photos? His mom.

“She didn’t stop taking pictures, until at one point I yelled, ‘Get this thing off of me!’” said Brian.

But he’s not upset at his mom for capturing the “squirrel attack.” He never felt like he was in danger, and as soon as he hit the deck and the squirrel ran away, everyone started laughing.

He sent the photos to a family member, who posted them on reddit. Brian says he soon got the sense that it was exploding and going viral.

“It’s now on the Huffington Post, and Time magazine has it on their website,” said Brian.

Brian is having fun with all the attention and thinks he knows why the squirrel went on the attack.

“He was probably mad at me because I was trying to take a photo and he wasn’t going to get any credit,” said Brian.

Brian learned the hard way you can’t just walk up to any woodland creature and grab a selfie — at least not without offering a few acorns in return. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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