Jeff Longo was just a regular guy going about his business until the day he made a discovery on a sidewalk near his home that made him stop dead in his tracks.
There in front of him, sizzling on a sidewalk under the unforgiving Florida sun was a a teeny-tiny, unusual animal with no family in sight.
Longo knew there was no way the tiny baby could survive, so he stepped up and did what no one else would. While others walked by, Jeff picked the tiny animal up off the ground and darted straight back home. What was surely 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.
But let’s get back to the question at hand… what even 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 it burning up on a scorching-hot sidewalk in Tampa, Florida.
Longo theorized the animal must have somehow been separated from its family and was simply left to its fate. Even though Longo truly had no idea as to what this bizarre creature might be, he refused to let the helpless thing suffer an agonizing death under Florida’s unforgiving sun. Not on his watch.
It would seem easy to assume that it was the baby of some small animal, such as a rat. After all, the creature was only the size of Longo’s pinkie finger. But then again, you never really 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 if you consider that, this creature could be just about any furry mammal.
The fact was that it was so small that he simply couldn’t even tell what it was. So what do we do when we don’t know the answer? Ask the Internet, of course! Longo jumped on Reddit and asked what he could do. As you could guess, many of the Internet “experts” were heartless. They told him that it would die soon and that trying to help it was a fruitless cause.
But Longo wouldn’t let that stop him. He 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 still wasn’t able to identify it, he did gather enough information to start providing it with a healthy diet to start nursing it back to health.
After 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. Each day, it would grow bigger and stronger, until eventually, its eyes opened. And, oh, and what big eyes it had! It was definitely getting cuter by the day. And while it started resembling some sort of rodent, something about that just wasn’t 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. A hamster? A guinea pig? A prairie dog? Who kn?
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 only one thing…
Longo will have to continue to look after her. They are family after all!
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.