If you were to discover a strange creature lying on the ground, would you be willing to pick it up and care for it, especially if you had no idea what it was? Or would you leave it and let nature take its course?
Jeff Longo was just a regular guy minding his own business until the day he made a surprising discovery on a sidewalk near his home. There in front of him, burning on a sidewalk in the hot Florida sun was a a teeny-tiny, unusual animal with no family in sight.
Longo thought there was no way the tiny baby could survive, but knew he had to step and do the right thing. While others walked by, Jeff picked the tiny animal off the ground and rushed back home. What could have been a dead end for this little one, became a truly inspiring story about taking a chance on something and in return, getting a strange, new best friend. So let’s get back to the question at hand… what is this little guy/girl? Can any of you guess?
Hairless, blind and equipped with tiny sharp claws, this alien-like being wasn’t anybody’s idea of cute when Jeff Longo found her lying on a scorching-hot sidewalk in Tampa, Florida. Longo theorized the animal had been separated from its mother and was left to a terrible fate. Although Longo wasn’t sure what this bizarre creature might be, he just knew he couldn’t let the tiny being suffer a very hot death under Florida’s unforgiving sun.
The creature was only the size of Longo’s pinkie finger, making it easy to assume that it was the baby of some small animal, such as a rat. But then again, you never know. Nature can be tricky. For instance, a baby kangaroo is born the size of a grain of rice and then makes its way to its mom’s pouch, where it can continue to grow safely. So, in reality, this creature could be just about anything.
It was so small that he couldn’t even tell what it was, so he took to Reddit and asked what he could do. Many of the “experts” he talked to in person or online told him that it would die soon and that trying to help it was a fruitless cause. Although it didn’t seem likely the tiny animal would survive, Longo felt it was sent to him for a reason. With determination, attention and love, the creature he found close to death started to blossom into an adorable, affectionate animal.
Although he wasn’t able to identify it, he did gather enough information to start providing it with a nutrition regimen and start nursing it back to health. Soon, he started bottle-feeding her a mixture of puppy formula and heavy cream. After a while, the tiny creature began to grow a little more hair and longer whiskers. It was growing bigger and stronger each day. Eventually, its eyes opened — oh, and what big eyes it had! It was definitely getting cuter by the day. It started resembling some sort of rodent but that just didn’t feel right.
Over the next three months, Longo, who wrote he was never an animal “rehabber” did everything he could to help nurse the strange creature back to health. He named his little foundling Biscuit. Slowly, the creature’s ears popped out, and she grew even more fur. Now, she didn’t look so much like an alien being and more like a gerbil of sorts. However, it was still really hard to tell exactly what kind of creature Biscuit was.
So, what species did she belong to? On her top side, this once naked alien creature started to grow gray fur that covered from the tip of her nose down to her tail. The fact that Biscuit’s tail had fur on it and was broad meant that she was not a rat. On her underside, Biscuit’s belly was covered in a white fur. Here she is holding her tail and looking as if she would really love a little belly rub!
Raising a fragile baby of unknown origin that is still nursing is a daunting mission. But thanks to Longo’s dogged perseverance, Biscuit not only survived, she thrived. Biscuit even got along famously with the family dogs. Somehow, they realized she was a “friend, not food.” Soon enough, Biscuits acclimated to life in the Longo household, and it seems the dogs enjoyed her presence as well. “I just have to watch them so they don’t accidentally squish her,” Longo told the Daily Mail jokingly.
Longo never let the animal out of sight, taking her everywhere, including to his job, which apparently has a lax squirrel policy. Soon, Biscuit would ride to work with Longo in his pocket. As Biscuit grew brighter eyed and bushier tailed, people around her began to think that she resembled a tree squirrel. But on closer inspection, there was something a little different about her than your average tree squirrel.
A few clues helped Longo identify his new friend. Little Biscuit seemed to have a little extra skin around her underarm, her tail was fairly flat and bushy, and her big eyes were designed to help her see in the dark. With a little research, Longo discovered that his new furry friend was a southern flying squirrel, a nocturnal creature that can glide for more than 150 feet.
Once he researched enough to put the puzzle pieces together, he was even more capable of providing Biscuit with the necessary diet, nutrition, and living environment. He found that she really enjoyed fruits, nuts, and seeds. Once Longo discovered Biscuit’s true nature, he worked hard to create a fitting environment for her. For example, he added a pouch in Biscuit’s cage because flying squirrels like to make their homes in small places like woodpecker holes and nest boxes.
Whenever he is present, Longo lets Biscuits out of her cage and lets her explore the house. He told the Daily Mail he has covered most of his furniture with cloth in order to allow the squirrel to grab on and crawl around. Longo created a Go Fund Me account a while back to raise money for a new enclosure for Biscuits so she can have more room to spread those wings! She loves her new home! The next question was keep her as a domesticated pet or release her back into the wild?
This is a tough question for many reasons. Although some people believe that Biscuit should be released into the wild, it’s more than likely she would not survive. Since she was hand-raised by Longo at such a young and impressionable age and has become accustomed to his dogs, she has no fear of humans or canines which could coax her into a deadly encounter. Which means that Longo will likely continue to look after her. They are family after all!o them both for warming our hearts with their story.
Fortunately, it looks like Biscuit is very happy where she is. Biscuit likely escaped death the day Longo found her and instead, gained a new dad and best friend. She’s even been spotted trying out her skills on this tiny skateboard. Thanks, Longo, for taking a chance on this tiny creature and thanks, Biscuits, for being a fighter and having the perseverance to live against all odds…oh, and thanks to them both for warming our hearts with their story.