Stowaway squirrel takes free boat trip more than 7,000 miles from India to Aberdeen

A new home is being sought for an intrepid squirrel which sneaked on board a ship bound for Aberdeen at a port 7,000 miles away in India.

The stowaway – named Zippy due to his speed of movement – being cared for by an animal rescue charity after making the unexpected voyage.

It is believed the Palm squirrel spent about three weeks on the dive support vessel Deep Explorer and was finally caught by the crew three days before it docked in Aberdeen.

The ship made its way through the Suez Canal in Egypt, before stopping in Malta, then making the final journey up to Aberdeen on August 27.

In the brig: Zippy has swapped live on the ocean waves for a cage at an animal rescue centre: Photo: New Arc

Crew members thought they had an unexpected guest and caught fleeting glimpses of Zippy before finally catching him

He has now been relocated to New Arc Wildlife Hospital in Ellon. The rescue, rehabilitation and release centre has been run by husband and wife pair Keith and Pauline Marley since 2005.

The charity was called to help by Pest Solutions in the Granite City, who picked up the squirrel from the Deep Explorer.

New Arc is now caring for Zippy, who is said to be doing well after his long voyage ended at the Clipper Quay on Tuesday.

Hardly an ocean liner but the Deep Ocean was Zippy's ship of choice for the marathon trip

Mr Marley 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.

“He had been spotted before then but he is faster than a speeding bullet and took a bit of effort to catch.”

Zippy has been placed in a large cage at New Arc and is currently being kept in quarantine and monitored.

Mr Marley added: “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, also known as three-striped squirrels, are one of many types of squirrel found in India.

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.”

Mrs Marley added: “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’.

“Zippy is a ‘Palm Squirrel’ or ‘3-striped Squirrel’, very fit and active and faster than a speeding bullet earning him the name ‘Zippy’

“The task of finding him a specialist, permanent home, has now begun.”



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