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Jeff Longo saw a tiny ball of fluff on a sizzling street while wandering in the intense Florida heat. He had no idea what this bizarre creature was, but he knew the unrelenting sunshine would take its toll if he didn't intervene.
The poor baby was just over an inch in length and was clearly "half-dead." Jeff decided to nurse it back to health, despite having no experience of rearing animals and even having no clue as to what the critter was.
He took the helpless baby to his home in St. Petersburg, christened it Biscuits, and started to hand-rear it himself. Without the slightest inkling of which species Biscuits belonged to, Jeff originally had no idea about how to raise her best.
But he was certain that the first order of the day was to give the adorable and tiny creature some major tender loving care. To raise his newfound friend better, Jeff began to research online and even went to Reddit to ask its online community for help.
However, nobody can recognize the creature, and most of them believed that it's impossible for a man without animal-rearing experience to raise Biscuits on his own. Undeterred, Jeff went on his research and finally found the answer he was looking for.
It turned out that Biscuits was a southern flying squirrel, a species of squirrel that usually resides in forests and woods. They are nocturnal and use trees as their habitat. Furthermore, the gliding rodents survive on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, eggs, and birds.
Young southern flying squirrels naturally won't separate from their mothers until they are over two months old. Biscuits had clearly gotten lost from her family. As a result, Jeff got the chance to fill her mother's shoes.
For two months, Jeff bottle-fed Biscuits with a mixture of puppy formula and heavy cream. He took her with him everywhere, even to work. As time flew by, the once tiny, weak creature grew bigger, stronger, and eventually became a healthy adult squirrel.
Thanks to her encounter with kind-hearted Jeff, the lucky squirrel gained not only the gift of life but a brand new family. Alongside her surrogate mother, Biscuits got some four-legged friends, namely Jeff's dogs. But he had to "watch them so they didn't accidentally squish her."
Unfortunately, as Biscuits was hand-reared by humans from such an early age, it's almost unlikely for her to return to nature and survive the wild. Fortunately, she had plenty of things to jump back and forth in her new home, excited and chirpy.
"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," Jeff said proudly. Though things have run smoothly in general, Jeff once thought he'd lost little Biscuits.
"When she first started becoming mobile, she escaped... I found her in the bathtub in the morning," Jeff revealed. Despite her naughty nature, Jeff is quite smitten with his little darling that he described as "little fluffball."
"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," Jeff explained.
And Biscuits seems to have certainly made herself at home. She often hangs from her comfy hammock or chills in Jeff's top pocket, her favorite spot. As flying squirrels usually enjoy a lifespan of 10 years, the duo can expect to have a long, happy life together.
After Biscuits was nursed back to full health, Jeff returned to Reddit to prove those that doubted him wrong. He even posted an array of Biscuits' photos charting her recovery and demonstrating his parenting skills.
Plus, Jeff reminded Reddit users of the day when he first met Biscuits and took her home, writing, "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."
"Well, Biscuits is about three months old now and is super awesome… and healthy," Jeff went on. "Her favorite food is pecans and she enjoys jumping on everything and terrorizing the dogs."
Jeff's triumphant post had lots of Reddit users eating their words. And many of them couldn't help but get excited about Biscuits' cuteness and fitness, and they gave him a pat on the back for his amazing achievements.
"From now on it is my life's ambition to have an adorable animal living in my shirt pocket," one Reddit user wrote. Another suggested in envy, "Everyone should have a pocket squirrel sidekick." What wonderful dreams! Perhaps it might catch on.
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