India to Aberdeen in three weeks: Zippy, the Vasco da Gama of squirrels, has more travels ahead of him – Scotsman comment

Given he had just successfully completed an epic 7,000-mile journey in one of the greatest ever feats of exploration by his kind, he might have expected a title befitting his stature.

Zippy the squirrel is now in quarantine after his epic sea journey from India to Aberdeen (Picture: New Arc Wildlife Hospital)
Zippy the squirrel is now in quarantine after his epic sea journey from India to Aberdeen (Picture: New Arc Wildlife Hospital)

Vasco da Gama Squirrel? Ernest Shackleton Squirrel? Lemuel Gulliver Squirrel?

But no, instead, his crewmates on the long journey from India to Aberdeen dubbed him “Zippy”, on account of his habit of zipping speedily about their dive support vessel, the Deep Explorer.

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The palm or three-striped squirrel apparently sneaked aboard before a three-week journey taking in the Suez Canal and Malta.

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After successfully evading the crew until just three days before arriving in Aberdeen last Saturday, he was treated to grapes until eventually being handed over – via an organisation called “Pest Solutions” – to the New Arc Wildlife Hospital, a charitable animal rescue centre in Ellon.

Zippy is now coming to terms with his rather different environment and a period of quarantine.

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What he has made of the Aberdeenshire climate and whether he experienced any culture shock is not known, although Keith Marley, who runs the centre with wife Pauline, said the adventurous rodent was “a bit tired”, “panicked” and “stressed” when he first came in.

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Happily, he has now calmed down and was said to be “doing well”.

Marley added that, “in an ideal world”, they would return the squirrel to his native land, but this was unlikely to happen and they were instead looking for a zoo with other members of his species.

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So it seems the intrepid Zippy, whose name will surely live long in the annals of squirrel history, has more travels ahead of him. We wish him well.

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