Written by Claire Violette Herbaux / SWNS
A woman lives with an injured squirrel she saved from the roadside – and he now hides nuts in her hair as he prepares for winter.
Mandy McKenna first rescued Horatio when she found him lying concussed on a verge. Not knowing whether he had been struck by a car or not, she took him into her home to rest – but rather than staying at her house for a few days to recover, he got attached to his new human companion and is now living with her permanently.
He travels around with her in her handbag, watches TV with her on the sofa – and he hides nuts all over the house.
But she’s also now discovered that Horatio stores nuts in her hair as he naturally prepares for hibernation.
Mandy, who is from Shepton Mallet, Somerset, recalled the rescue by saying: “I was coming back from work when I found him near the prison. He was concussed and giving out a distress noise and freaking out when a car came along.
“He spent the first week in my scarf or in my hair. I would just carry him around like that and he even came to Aldi with me; no one would notice, or only when they looked closely.
“I don’t know if he got hit. They just need to have a safe place for a few days. But he imprinted really quickly and would come back when I tried to release him. He would endanger himself trying to come back.
“Now I take him to the shop where I work and when I go to friends’ houses. I have a handbag for him, so he can go inside if he wants to curl up and have a rest.
“At home he just puts you in a good mood … He is so cool, it’s impossible not to be in a good mood around him.
“When I watch TV he sits on the back of the sofa and hides nuts in my hair. Sometimes I move something in the house and find out he stashed nuts there.
“He eats mostly vegetables and nuts, he likes ham, broccoli and corn on the cob, and I make him squirrel flapjacks for extra calcium.”
Horatio is not the first animal Mandy has rescued, but it is the first who has refused to leave.
“I am from a city, but I love living here and being closer to nature,” she said. “I have rescued injured birds and bats, but this is the only one that has stayed with me. I rescued a squirrel about ten years ago after he had fallen from a tree. He stayed with me for three days and then went back into the wild.
“But Horatio imprinted quickly. He was too old to need his mother, but too young to make it alone.
“I’ve tried to release him, but he keeps coming back and endangering himself on the road.
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