‘She’s our baby!’ Couple rescues tiny Thumbelina the squirrel and pampers her with TV, face masks and snuggles on the sofa – but she has cost them 10,000 DOLLARS
- Christina Reyes, 35, from Mahopac, New York, rescued two baby squirrels abandoned by their mother with the help of her husband, Michael
- One of the baby squirrels died but the other, Thumbelina, survived
- The pampered squirrel became the couple’s pet who they nursed to health
- Thumbelina, named because of her small size, is an attention-seeker and loves to watch TV with her owners and nibble on avocados
Meet the pampered pet squirrel that watches TV, wears face masks and enjoys snuggles on the sofa with her rescuer.
Christina Reyes, 35, of the Bronx, has spent two and a half years and $10,000 raising little Thumbelina after she was found in a tenth floor apartment.
Thumbelina and another baby were found in a pile of leaves and twigs on a homeowner’s bed after being left there by their mother.
Overjoyed: Christina Reyes, 35, from Mahopac, New York, rescued two baby squirrels abandoned by their mother with the help of her husband, Michael
Tiny: The squirrels were found in a pile of leaves outside their Bronx, New York, apartment
Adorable: Christina revealed how her husband (pictured) helped nurse on of the squirrels to health
Small: One of the the squirrels died within hours, but Thumbelina (pictured) survived
Pampered: From the beginning, the couple treated Thumbelina like their pet
Christina, who has rehabilitated orphaned squirrels since 2008, rushed over to tend to the tiny animals, then just a few hours old.
With the help of her husband Michael, 37, a high school English teacher, the couple nursed the squirrels back to health and fed them formula through a syringe out of their Bronx, New York, apartment in 2016.
Christina said: ‘The mother was standing on the window sill, twitching her tail and freaking out because he was touching her babies.
‘She kept bringing in nest building materials but she wasn’t taking her babies back.
‘Michael and I knew we had to take them as they were only three hours old and needed to be fed.’
Sadly one of the babies caught a fever and passed away a few hours later, but Thumbelina — so-called because of her tiny size — pulled through.
‘When she was just three days old, my husband cracked open a walnut and said, “I bet we can fit her inside the shell”‘,’ Christina said.
‘She fitted into it perfectly and reminded us of the Thumbelina fairy tale where the tiny girl slept in a walnut shell cradle.’
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Cozy: They intended to release her into the wild once she was strong enough
Small: At just three days old, the tiny squirrel could fit into a walnut shell, which then inspired her name
Buddies: When the time came to release Thumbelina, the family worried about her ability to survive outside after growing up in an apartment
Decision time: The couple decided to keep her as a pet instead of releasing her
When the time came to release her into the wild, the couple feared Thumbelina wouldn’t survive because she couldn’t jump or climb.
Instead, the animal lovers built a bed for the adorable rodent and welcomed her into their lives full time.
She added that Thumbelina is not ‘outside squirrel material’ and needs a lot of TLC.
‘When we tried to introduce her to other squirrel babies, she isolated herself,’ Christina said. ‘She curled up into a ball and she wanted nothing to do with them.
‘She walked on the ground, she didn’t like to climb or jump, she followed us around.
‘She’s afraid of everything. We brought her to the park and she acted like it was a haunted house. She doesn’t like the cold. She just huddles herself into a ball. She’s not outside squirrel material.’
Now spoiled Thumbelina spends every night cuddling them on the sofa and enjoys human activities like watching TV, doing face masks and eating avocado.
Snuggles: ‘When we tried to introduce her to other squirrel babies, she isolated herself,’ Christina said. ‘She curled up into a ball and she wanted nothing to do with them’
Pampered: The squirrel has become part of the family as she watches TV, uses face masks and enjoys snuggles on the couch
Bonding: Thumbelina has a diet of kale, arugula, spinach, snap peas and avocados
Christina, who doesn’t want children, said the rodent – which owns squirrel-sized hats and glasses – is her ‘baby’ and ‘best friend’.
‘I love Thumbelina so much,’ Christina said. ‘My husband and I knew that we never wanted children. Thumbelina is our baby.
‘She’s my little best friend, every day I look forward to spending time with her.
‘When I’m feeling low, she comes over and snuggles with me.
‘My family are used to me being an animal person but my husband’s family was quite squeamish about it. But now they have come to accept that Thumbelina is our baby. They even send her cards.
‘She is a little troublemaker. She loves to bite a charger, the buttons on a remote, and headphone wires.
‘She’s always trying to get into the refrigerator. She does require a lot of attention.’
Christina has spent around $10,000 on little Thumbelina so far, splashing out $50 a week on her diet of fresh kale, arugula, spinach, snap peas and avocados.
She said: ‘It’s a lot of money – it’s like sending your child to college. But she’s worth every cent.’
Insane: Christina admitted to already spending $10,000 on the spoiled squirrel
Living the life: ‘I love Thumbelina so much,’ Christina said. ‘My husband and I knew that we never wanted children. Thumbelina is our baby’
Insane: Thumbelina underwent a $2,000 hysterectomy just last week due to health issues
Special: ‘She deserves just as much love and affection as you would give a cat or a dog,’ Christina said
Just last weekend, Thumbelina was wheeled into surgery to have a $2,000 hysterectomy, leaving Christina racked with worry.
She said: ‘Thumbelina gains weight very quickly. She weighs just over two pounds and really she should be between 1.5 and 1.75.
‘All her life she’s been a little chub with a pot belly. She is on a strict diet of kale, greens and squash and no nuts.
‘The vet said that her progesterone levels were too high and her little uterus was enlarged so she should have a hysterectomy.
‘I was hysterical because she’s my little baby. She’s so small and there were concerns about anesthesia.
‘I was so afraid to go to sleep. I slept with her next to me. But it all went well.’
Christina added that although some people consider squirrels to be rodents, they deserve human care and attention just as much as more conventional pets do.
She said: ‘People see squirrels as dirty rats, but Thumbelina has such a strong, endearing personality.
‘She deserves just as much love and affection as you would give a cat or a dog.’
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