While wandering around under the heat of the Floridan sun, Jeff Longo stumbled upon a fluffy animal on the sidewalk. This man did not have any experience rearing animals. However, he was a compassionate and dedicated person. Sometimes, that is enough. With the help of the internet, you can do anything! He did not let his inexperience get in the way of nursing the poor thing back to health. However, he was shocked when he learned the truth about this curious little animal…
Out On A Walk
The story took place all the way back in 2013. While he was strolling down the streets, Jeff Longo found a furry creature. The Tampa native thought that the animal did not look like it was doing too hot. He assumed that the intense heat was taking a toll on the poor thing.
She Was Not Doing Well
Later on, Longo described that the baby animal was “half-dead” the first time he saw it. He knew that he had to do something about it! He had no idea what it was, but there was no way he would leave it at the mercy of the elements. In the end, he brought it back to his house in St. Petersburg.
He Called Her Biscuits
After some time, he decided to give it a name. Longo called the creature Biscuits and even hand-reared her on his own. He might not have known much about it, but he knew that it deserved some TLC. We are glad that the little critter found herself in good hands. She probably was too!
Not A Single Clue
As you can imagine, it was inconvenient that he did not have the slightest idea what Biscuits was. If he did, he would have been able to figure out how to raise her. This is the reason he conducted some research of sorts. When in doubt, you can always turn to the internet for help.
Asking Reddit For Leads
Longo took to Reddit to ask if anyone had any idea what animal she was. Sadly, most of the replies came from people who told him that he could not raise Biscuits all by himself. He did not let it get to him, however. After a little more digging, he arrived at the answer that he had been looking for.
A Southern Flying Squirrel
He learned that Biscuits was actually a southern flying squirrel. The species typically live in woods and forests. They use trees as their habitats. Aside from that, Longo found out that they live on a diet of seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects. They are known to eat birds and eggs as well.
More About These Animals
The southern flying squirrel is a nocturnal rodent. Young squirrels often remain glued to their mothers until they reach the age of two months. As you already know, Biscuits had gotten separated from her own family for some reason. This meant that Longo had to fill in for her mother in the meantime.
No Matter Where He Went
For two months, he made sure to bring the animal with him no matter where he went. In fact, the critter even came with him to his work! When it came to feeding, he bottle-fed the animal. He would whip together some heavy crema and puppy formula to ensure that she was healthy.
It Was All Worth It
His efforts paid off. With each passing day, Biscuits got stronger and bigger. A few months later, she was a full adult squirrel in good health. It was amazing that Longo granted her the gift of life when he had no idea what she was at first. But aside from that, she also found a new family to call her own.
She Had Other Friends
Together with her surrogate mother, the squirrel gained four-legged friends that she could call her family. We are talking about none other than the dogs in the Longo household! There is no need to feel concerned. After all, he said that he made sure to “watch them, so they don’t accidentally squish her.”
No Chance Of Survival
Biscuits were hand-reared since she was very young, so there is a slim chance that she will survive in the wild. Despite this, she has been able to jump from many things in the house. Longo shared, “She runs around me like I’m a big tree… then jumps on things and then jumps back… gets excited… starts chirping… rinse and repeat.”
How They Are Doing
On the whole, things have been going smoothly for the Longo household. He admitted that there was a time when he thought he lost her, however. We are sure that it had been stressful. Longo revealed, “When she first started becoming mobile, she escaped… I found her in the bathtub in the morning.”
His Little Fluffball
She might be a little naughty, but Longo is in love with what he has called his “little fluffball.” He shared, “She has a big cage and semi-free reign of the house when I’m available to supervise. She wouldn’t last five minutes in the wild now. She is super friendly to people and not afraid of animals.”
It Is Now Her Home Too
From the look of things, Biscuits has definitely made herself comfortable in his home. She is often seen hanging from a hammock or spending the time in his top pocket! The latter is her favorite spot. They are excited about what the future holds. Flying squirrels have a life expectancy of up to ten years in captivity.
After Nursing Her Back To Health
After he was done nursing Biscuits back to health, Longo made sure to prove the naysayers wrong. He went back to Reddit to show them that he had been a successful surrogate fur parent. As a matter of fact, he even shared many photos that charted the recovery of the critter.
Reminding Them Who He Is
He kicked off the post by reminding the Reddit community of who he was. In the post, Longo told the other users, “I posted pictures on Reddit that day and had a bunch of know-it-alls tell me she would die because I am not an animal rehabber.” What else did he have to say?
Just A Little Update
“Well, Biscuits is about three months old now and is super awesome… and healthy,” he went on. Aside from that, he shared more fascinating facts about his furry pal as well! In the post, Longo also told them, “Her favorite food is pecans, and she enjoys jumping on everything and terrorizing the dogs.”
They Ate Their Words
With this post, the Reddit users had no choice but to eat their words. A lot of them congratulated Longo for a job well done. It was awe-inspiring that he nursed Biscuits back to good health despite his lack of experience. On top of that, they were also delighted to see how adorable the squirrel was!
How The Others Reacted
“From now on, it is my life’s ambition to have an adorable animal living in my shirt pocket,” one of the users chimed in. On the other hand, someone said, “Everyone should have a pocket squirrel sidekick.” Do you think that would be a good idea? We would love to see it become a trend in the future.
Giving Animals TLC
But it turns out that you do not have to go to the same lengths to give a poor creature some TLC. As a matter of fact, the good Samaritan in this next story found himself in the same spot upon returning home. After getting back to his New York apartment, he saw a little creature on his bed!
Why They Head Indoors
Many critters head indoors to avoid disturbances outside. However, there was something special about the visitor in question. On the bad, there was an incredible surprise hiding beneath the pillow. There were two baby animals on the duvet! But how did they even get there in the first place?
One of the animals is now called Little Thumbelina. She does not only have a name straight out of a fairytale, but you could say the same thing for her backstory as well! At any rate, the story is not fictional. It all began one cold morning in New York City in March 2016.
How They Wound Up There
The sad truth is that a construction crew in the city destroyed the nest that belonged to their mother. This meant that the poor animal was essentially homeless! In the end, this pregnant mother found a new birthing spot. If you ask us, you should never underestimate the power of maternal instinct.
Through An Open Window
To be more specific, the creature climbed into an apartment on the tenth floor. She got in through the open window. It was warm and comfortable, so it was the perfect spot to give birth to her two daughters. After that, she worked on remaking the nest to ensure that they would be safe.
While They Were Out
The tenant at the apartment had been outside the building when the animal dropped by. Upon his return, he was surprised by the sight that greeted him. There were leaves, pine needles, and twigs over his bed! However, the biggest surprise came in the form of two eastern gray squirrels under the pillow.
He Had No Idea Either
This man did not know what to do with the squirrels. He had no clue how he could help them. It was a good thing that he knew someone who did. He ended up calling a pair of local animal rehabilitators. Michael and Christina Reyes were a couple who have experience looking after squirrels in the past.
They Had Experience
As a matter of fact, Christina has ten years of squirrel care under her belt. On the other hand, Michael worked as a high school teacher but helped her out whenever possible. The couple dropped by immediately. At the time, the husband and wife were hoping to help reunite the mother and the babies!
Two Hours Later
But only two hours after giving birth to them, the mother felt hesitant to reclaim the two babies. She was probably frightened by the rescuers’ presence and their actions to rescue the babies. This was what Christina said when she spoke to The Daily Mail on November 6, 2018.
She Did Not Return
“She kept bringing in nest-building materials, but she wasn’t taking her babies back,” Christina narrated. Sadly, this kept happening no matter how much they tried to show her that it was safe. A couple of hours after that, the squirrel completely stopped visiting. A huge tragedy also followed this.
One Of Them Died
As you might have already guessed, one of the babies passed away in the absence of the mother. The Reyes couple decided to take on the other one. They called her Thumbelina, a name from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The rescuers planned to raise her and then return her to the wild.
What They Do With Them
“Almost all squirrels we take in are rescued and released into the wild,” read a statement on the official blog of the squirrel. “But Thumbelina was a special case.” Due to the special circumstances surrounding the baby squirrels’ birth and what came after that, the animal grew quite differently.
In the blog, they said, “Due to an abnormal birthing season and the passing of her sister, little Thumb grew up all by herself and did not learn to interact with other squirrels. By the time the normal birthing season had arrived, Thumbelina was already past the point of bonding with her kind.”
A Chance At Life
For this reason, the Reyes couple took her to a veterinarian that specialized in wild animals. The experts learned that the natural habitat of the squirrel was not safe for her. They had the option to euthanize her, but no one wanted that. In the end, her rescuers wanted to give Thumbelina a shot at life.
Their Very Own Pet
The Reyes family ultimately decided to adopt Thumbelina as their very own house squirrel. It is a good thing that they made this call. It looks like the squirrel would have seen a short life if this did not happen. The truth is that Thumbelina is not something you can describe as a squirrel’s squirrel.
When She Met Other Squirrels
But how did Thumbelina react when introduced to animals from her own species? “When we tried to introduce her to other squirrel babies, she isolated herself,” Christina Reyes shared with The Daily Mail. She went on to add, “She curled up into a ball, and she wanted nothing to do with them.”
Longer Than Usual
“She walked on the ground,” shared Christina. “She didn’t like to climb or jump.” The blog also talks about how Thumbelina saw slow development compared to most squirrel babies. She did not open her eyes after a matter of four or five weeks. It took her around nine weeks to do so!
Not Like Other Squirrels
“She’s afraid of everything,” she shared. “We brought her to the park, and she acted like it was a haunted house. She doesn’t like the cold. She huddles herself into a ball. She’s not outside squirrel material.” Despite this, she is perfect in the eyes of her human mother and father.
They Were Not Worried
They do not spend much time worrying about Thumbelina doing squirrely things. Instead, they shower her with as much affection as they could. The squirrel clearly enjoys all the cuddles from mom and dad. She would even watch the TV. She feeds on a diet of avocado, arugula, kale, and sweet peas.
She Is Their Baby
“I love Thumbelina so much,” revealed Christina. Aside from that, she said, “My husband and I knew that we never wanted children, [but] Thumbelina is our baby. She’s my little best friend; every day, I look forward to spending time with her. When I’m feeling low, she comes over and snuggles with me.”
An Ambassador Squirrel
While Thumbelina does not seem very interested in her fellow squirrels, she still does something for her species. “Thumbelina is now our little ambassador squirrel,” said the blog. “She helps us to teach people how important it is to respect and be kind to all wildlife and spread the message, ‘Each little life is big to the one living it.’”