Luca and his squirrels Bella and Captain Jack Squirrel

2 Sep 2015

Italian gent Luca was living in Bangkok but has recently moved to Koh Phangan with his two Thai squirrels!
Phanganist invited this cute trio into the office to tell us about themselves and what they get up to.

Tell us about your squirrels?
Bella was with us first, she is from the white mountains in the North of Thailand then we got Captain Jack, he is from the South of Thailand. Bella is the more rare of the two, she has a long tail and with squirrels a short tail is more common. My friends gave them to us. We let Bella choose her partner as squirrels have a partner for life.

These two are mates, they kiss each other a lot!

Why did you decide to get them?
My girlfriend had them and I wanted to train them. They are nice animals, and they can be trained well etc. I wished to have a dog but there was not enough space in Bangkok so squirrels were perfect.

What have you trained them to do?
They go on scooters with me, usually animals are too scared but these two are not. Bella can drink from my mouth, I can ask for a kiss and she will kiss me. Jack is more difficult to train, hes very kind, like a cat unlike Bella who is crazy, jack is more cuddly, he will lay like a cat and just let you stroke his belly and nearly falls asleep.

How are these squirrels as a breed doing in the wild?
They are safe for now. The only threat is that especially in places like Myanmar they are killed to eat, but I don't think this has affected their numbers.

How old are they?
They are still babies, Jack is three months and Bella is four months old. They usually live for four or five years but my ex girlfrend had one for eight years. It depends how much you take care of them

How do you take care of Bella and Jack?
I shower them every two or three days. Give them different kinds of fluid, different foods for a varied diet, they are mostly vegetarian but Bella likes meat and eggs which is not normal but that is Bella! She wanted my eggs and bacon this morning. They are on me whenever I am out, I bring them everywhere. At home I let them free, but for safety they are on leads when I am out so they don't fall off the scooter or anything. They sleep at night at the same time as us, they have a big soft bowl and couple of coconuts to sleep in.

What would you say to others thinking about getting squirrels as pets?
You need time, they are not like other animals. They are cute and nice but if you cannot give time then they are not a good animal for you as they are not like cats or dogs. They are a natural jungle animal. Time is very important, you cannot leave them free like a dog and expect them to come back.

You have come from Bangkok to Koh Phangan, are there any benefits for Bella and Jack being here?
It is a nice place to let them roam free, theres amazing jungle near my house, more places to play. It is better because its more old style Thailand here, in Bangkok I looked strange but no one cares here, it is a nice place for them.

Where are their favourite places on the Island?
They love going on the scooter, they come on on my shoulders and watch. I have trained them slowly with the sound of the scooter. They used to be scared and stay in their bag but now straight away they come out of the bag onto me when I get on the scooter.

Have they made any other animal friends?
Yes, they are friends with dogs, Mary-Jane and Cheeba, Breakfast the cat comes over and they get on well and even Mushroom the cat from Pizzeria Ale.