This squirrel is the cutest thing on two wheels


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/09/this-squirrel-is-the-cutest-th.html


#2

SpongeBob_with_Sandy_at_spongebob's_house

Spongebob: But Sandy, how can you be pregnant? You had a sponge inside you…ohhhh


#3

It starts with Rodent Borg


#4

Cat toys just get more creative every day.


#5

I’ll bet it could be even cuter with four wheels. And a real fast engine! Hey, didn’t Rocky the Squirrel have a jetpack?


#6

I’ve met someone who spent $1,000 on surgery for one sick rat. I call that misplaced compassion.

6 hours of surgery on a squirrel likewise fails my common sense test.


#7

I sort of hate myself for wondering where the video is of him when he first tries to run up a tree.


#8

This seems like cruelty to me


#9

Awwww. They should have fed him to an injured bird of prey.


#10

I’ve spent quite a bit on pet rat surgery (not $1000, but still a lot) and I hate to sound like one of those crazy animal people, but you don’t really get it until you get rats. They’re very social, smart, and affectionate (assuming they’re well-socialized), so you end up bonding with them pretty quickly…

…which really kind of sucks because of their short lifespans.


#11

The lifespan thing is what I thought about too, for this squirrel. A ten year lifespan would tend to justify this kind of investment, where a one year lifespan would make it seem like folly. I’ve had pet rats too, I know exactly what you mean about that connection, but it’s not just about the money, is also about how much pain and confusion you want to put someone through who has no way to consent to treatment.

On the other hand, I spent a bunch of money to make my dog’s last year more bearable, and I’d do it again. Maybe I am just a size bigot.


#12

The fact that the squirrel is from Batman (province), Turkey and that it got totally glossed over is a crime.


#13

Ah, sorry for assuming. I think everyone needs to do cost-benefit when it comes to pet health, and it’s always unpleasant. A friend of mine said her family puts a hard cap on the medical costs of their pets (in the 1000s, so not ridiculously strict), and I imagine that saves on a lot of heartache over the long run.

I’m guessing in this case the squirrel still had a lot of time left. Apparently they tend to only live a year in the wild, but have a natural/biological life span of 10 years or so, which I imagine this one will get to live out.


#14

I have no strong opinion on whether the surgery is worth the effort, but I do wonder if this is the best kind of prosthesis, given that travelling along level ground is not squirrels’ main activity. Wouldn’t a pair of little pirate hooks be more useful?


#15


#16

I have a lot to say about quality of life, stress and suffering in a wild, tree-living prey animal that is dependent on it’s front legs to climb, burrow, manipulate objects, eat normally, and groom itself being given a pair of little wheels and being expected to live happily in captivity. Sometimes the most humane and ethical thing you can do is to relieve the suffering (both current and future) by euthanising the animal. This is a wild animal. Despite looking calm in the video it is likely not very tame. It has no way to hide, no way to perform many of it’s natural behaviours. Giving it wheels is not ok.

Edited to add “prey” to animal.


#17

This is one of those issues I can definitely sympathize with both sides on. Humans have domesticated something like 22(?) species of animal, and I feel pretty confident that any member of those species has some chance of existing happily under human care, just from many generations of breeding and experience on the human side as well. It seems really doubtful that anything not in those 22 species is going to do well in captivity, zoos notwithstanding.

On the other hand, many times I’ve been astonished in my personal experience with wild animals, and it frequently seems to me its a lack of empathy and underatanding on the human end, that make wild animals dangerous at all.

I try to hold my ire for just those videos that make it look like harmless fun to handle endangered animals like a slow loris. If this were some rare endangered squirrel being trained to do circus tricks, I’d certainly care more, but really, it’d not as if this video is encouraging people to strap wild animals into roller skates for kicks.


#18

I don’t doubt that intensions are good. I do notice that’s a human doctor making prostheses and not vets though. Also, the most commonly acknowledged standard on what should be met to achieve some minimum of animal welfare is the Five Freedoms. These are (emphasis added):

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

This squirrel will in no way be provided with 4 and 5.


#19

Well, no, of course not. But 5 isn’t an all or nothing thing, and it’s difficult to quantify. All animals experience some distress. It seems to me the question is whether the quality of life is so low that it would be better off not being alive. While I tend to come down on your side of the argument, I don’t think it’s black and white. The biggest problem is that all I or anyone else can do is try to understand the animal’s situation through empathy, but that’s significantly limited by my ability to understand what it’s like to be a squirrel.

Anyway, just my 2¢.


#20

You just hit on the biggest problem of animal welfare science. And I do agree with you. It’s not an easy question.

But I have a problem with the presentation of this situation as a cute, 100% positive story and how most people seem either go with that, or protest because a squirrel is somehow not worth the effort.