Stowaway squirrel secretly travels thousands of miles to Scotland from INDIA aboard ship
A globetrotting squirrel is now being cared for by an animal rescue charity after it secretly embarked on the journey of a lifetime – travelling thousands of miles from India to Scotland.
After taking on the incredible three-week journey onboard the Deep Explorer ship, the animal was finally caught by crew, just three days before it docked in Aberdeen.
The North East Wildlife & Animal Rescue Centre (New Arc) charity, based near Ellon in Aberdeenshire, came to the rescue after being hauled in by Pest Solutions to see if they could care for the squirrel.
New Arc is now caring for the palm squirrel – who has been called Zippy due to him being ‘faster than a speeding bullet’.
While initially having to feed him grapes, Zippy is said to be doing well after his long voyage ended on Tuesday.
Speaking about the care of the rodent, Keith Marley, of New Arc, said: “It is a three-week trip from India and the crew got him three days before they got here.
“They looked after him and were feeding him grapes to keep him well after they took him into custody.
“I believe he had been spotted before then but he is faster than a fast thing so he took a bit of effort to catch.”
Currently, Zippy is being kept in quarantine and monitored 24/7 in his large crate, with Mr Marley adding: “He is doing well. He was a bit tired and panicked when he first came in, and stressed, but he had a good feed and seems to be behaving very much as a squirrel normally would.”
Palm squirrels are commonly known as the three-striped squirrel because of the stripes on their back, and are one of many types of squirrel found in India. This particular squirrel is different from other squirrels because it doesn’t hibernate, and looks very much like a large chipmunk.
The charity’s Mr Marley said that while their knowledge of the particular breed of squirrel is not thorough, they are adapting to Zippy’s needs. He said: “We have to admit that our knowledge of Indian squirrels is hardly encyclopaedic so we had used the time between the call and his arrival in quickly swotting up on the likely arrival.
“India has over 40 different species of squirrel ranging from ground squirrels to giant flying squirrels. However, we decided to arrange accommodation for the most likely species which was one of the ‘banded squirrels’.”
New Arc is now hoping Zippy will have more of a permanent home, and are looking for a zoo to take him on.
Mr Marley said: “In an ideal world we would like to return him home but it’s unlikely we will be able to return him to India.
“We will be checking zoos to see if anyone has this variety of squirrel in their collection in the hope that we can donate him so he can live out his life with his own kind and will hopefully have a comfortable life.”
The Deep Explorer’s Master, Maciej Wolinski, also heartwarmingly added that he hopes Zippy will find a permanent, specialist home to live in.
He said: “Anyone who’s had a squirrel in their home knows how difficult they can be to capture.
“Our vessel team managed the situation safely and humanely, and we’ve made sure the squirrel is receiving the best possible care.
“We wish the squirrel well in finding its new home.”