Last week, Twitter page WhatIsNewYork posted a video of a squirrel enjoying a special treat up in a tree. The rodent in question had apparently ordered take-out at one of the city’s many Chinese eateries and was savoring an appetizing egg roll.
Those familiar with Manhattan’s vast selection of wildlife know that this isn’t the first time one of its four-legged creatures has been caught having their food to go. In September of 2015, one of the subway’s many rat residents was spotted partaking of a slice of pizza, another of the city’s culinary delicacies.
In these troubling times, the Twitterverse has called the Egg Roll Squirrel “the hero we don’t deserve,” adding that “he’s living his best life.” Others were less kind and referred to the bushy-tailed creature as “chubby.”
His excess belly fat though may have a rational explanation since squirrels tend to put on weight during the winter months to insulate themselves from the cold weather. They are also prone to growing out their coats for an added layer of warm fur. Also, because squirrels cannot digest green plants, they mostly consume foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all of which are contained in the egg roll.
Squirrels, which are nothing if not persistent, generally adapt well to urban environments. While they usually make their homes in trees, they are also known for trespassing into residential areas to eat from bird feeders, though they are mostly harmless to human beings. Despite their seemingly affable exterior, however, there have been reports of frightening encounters with people.
Last August, in Karlsruhe, Germany, a terrified man contacted police after being chased down the street by a wild animal. When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the man cornered by a baby squirrel. They promptly took the small mammal into custody, though according to the official report, the squirrel “abruptly fell asleep.” After arriving at the station, the officers decided to make him the department’s mascot and named him Karl-Friedrich. No word on whether he prefers pizza or egg rolls.
According to police spokesperson Christina Krenz, the squirrel's threatening behavior towards the man in question had a reasonable explanation. “It often happens that squirrels which have lost their mothers look for a replacement and then focus their efforts on one person,” she said.