Squirrels are scarier than ever.

There once was a time—long before it became famous as a haven for mobsters and a mecca for ziti—when New Jersey was known mainly for its toxic-waste dumps.

Sadly, that time may be returning. The Trentonian reports that New Jersey officials are warning residents in the Ringwood area not to consume too many squirrels after a lead-contaminated bushy-tailed critter was found.

A letter sent Tuesday to Ringwood residents advised them that children should not eat squirrel more than once a month, pregnant women should limit their intake to twice a month, and adults should not eat squirrel more than twice a week.

The area is home to the Ramapough Mountain Indian Tribe, who often hunt, fish, and forage for their food, as well as a toxic-waste dump that has been on the list of Superfund sites for years.

Even small amounts of ingested lead can create a host of problems, including nervous-system damage and problems with brain development in children.

Maybe the government should clean up that site so that mesquite squirrel can come back to the northern New Jersey table.

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