A Squirrel For A Pet


Photo By Caroline Phillips

Ping runs around his cage as he searches for walnuts. He came out his sleeping pouch to say hello.

Caroline Phillips, Assistant Editor of Sports, Social Officer

My family is renowned for our collection of unusual pets. We’ve had gerbils, rabbits, birds, and all at the same time. But, by far the most bizarre animal we’ve kept is a flying squirrel. We have two dogs, two cats, a bird, and a squirrel– Ping. The name was coined by my father after deciding that he looked like a pinball bouncing around the bedroom.

The squirrel came to us on a cold night right after Christmas. Our cats had been hunting and had brought us a few “gifts” before. Well, the next “gift” that they brought in was this tiny, fuzzy creature. I immediately ran to get my dad, “Dad, it is still moving.” We grabbed one of those old paint buckets, stuffed some towels in it, gently set the squirrel in it, and put it in the warm bathroom. Mom gave the little squirrel sugar-water and he started perking up a bit.

When I woke up in the morning, my mom had Ping in her hand eating acorns and walnuts. Ever since, he has been completely attached to my mother. She even sewed a little pouch that goes around her neck in which Ping curls up contently. Originally, once we had nurtured him we thought we could return him to the wild, bυt he had already formed a bond with my mom. They are  very social creatures so technically you’re not suppose to leave them alone. That is why my mom plays with him, hand feeds him, and carries him around.

    Ping being a squirrel and all does make it hard to purchase food. There is a store in Tyler that we have to go to that had some pretty exotic pet foods. He requires two different types of calcium supplements, fruits and veggies, and a salt block. Every so often he gets weighed– that way we can be sure he is maintaining his weight. Other than that though, he is overall a neat pet. For example, one day I was sitting next to Mom and she told me that apparently squirrels are the only mammals that glow under black lights. They have fluorescent fur. It’s this bright pink or orange color. He also makes really cute squeaking sounds as he glides around my parents’ bedroom. There is a lot to a tiny little squirrel. They are full of personality. To all animal lovers out there, get a pet squirrel.