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Science: 

Squirrels go ‘missing’ from Moscow’s parks following new pet craze

Various - Oct 2012

Moscow’s nutty new pet craze

Moscow’s parks have bolstered security measures following multiple reports of squirrel poaching to feed Russia’s latest pet craze.

Thankfully, the ‘missing’ squirrels aren’t to be found bubbling away in rich stews on Moscow’s stove tops – instead, they’ve become trendy pets, with prime specimens fetching up to $144 each

$144 for a pet squirrel?!

Regardless of the price, the BBC quickly updated its tastebud-tingling recipe for sautéed squirrel with chanterelle mushrooms and autumn vegetables, which it promises is ‘cheap, ethical – and delicious.’ They clearly haven’t been following the ups and downs of the squirrel market.

 Muscovites would in fact be horrified by the fate of squirrels around the world 
Muscovites would in fact be horrified by the fate of squirrels around the world, as they lavish attention on their pampered pets. Minneapolis’s Star Tribune salivates, “My favourite recipe is a squirrel stir-fry,” dismissing fears that the creatures are simply “woodland rats,” and claiming that they taste “as good as venison.” The recipe also includes a detailed guide to hunting and killing squirrels.

Crazy pets are, of course, nothing new – U.S. politics site Mother Jones chronicles the untold history of such fads, revealing that in 1907, American women’s latest must-have was a pet pigeon, as well as traumatic facts such as the fact that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles led to a plague of turtles being released into the wild, and that many potbellied pigs, bought as pets, ended up as dinner.

Pet pigeons? Now we’ve heard it all.

Owning a squirrel seems to make sense – when you take on board the fact that we live in a world where ‘neuticles’ exist. These objects are fake testicles for neutered dogs. “Over a half million caring pet owners Worldwide have selected Neuticles as a completely safe, practical and inexpensive option when neutering their beloved pet,” the site boasts.

Nearly 1% of the population of the USA – three million people – own “equine pets”, according to Animal Planet – including miniature donkeys. Cute they might be, but the warnings are stern: “Do you have plenty of land for at least two mini donkeys to roam? Are you financially prepared to keep up with the large amount of hay your pets will require? Do your city’s laws allow for pet donkeys?” the site asks.

Of course, there will always be those who take things too far – such as this man, pictured kissing his pet tiger, who he also sleeps next to, despite the fact that the enormous beast eats chickens, and once nearly clawed one of his eyes out. By mistake, the 33-year-old Indonesian student Abdullah Sholeh claims. How will it all end?

Photo: Keystone/USA-ZUMA/REX
  • Nick Bramer

    Tragic. Those poor poor Squirrels. I’ve heard the airpollution is moscow is terrible.

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Squirrel for dinner? Sounds delicious.
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