Page 112/3 By Sea-Shore, Wood and Moorland – by Edward Step, fourth edition
From a wonderful old book, found at the Castle Book Shop in Bedford, and now lost:
‘did you ever see a squirrel’s nest – ‘Squeggies’s jug’ it is called in parts of Surrey…..
…it is not difficult to tame a squirrel and make a pet of him, but it is a needless cruelty to shut up in a small cage a creature that is in nature accustomed to scamper freely to the topmost boughs of the highest trees, and to take flying leaps from one tree to another. Men may sometimes be seen in the streets with a very docile squirrel sitting upon their hands and offering it for sale. Do not be tempted to purchase any of these, for what looks like tameness is in reality only a want of life and spirit. The poor creatures have been poisoned – not sufficiently to kill them at once, for that would not suit the dealer’s purpose. As a rule they die a few days after they have been purchased.
I remember many years ago my brother purchased one of these very ‘tame’ squirrels, which seemed to be the perfection of docility. But a few days into natural health enabled it to overcome the effects of the poison, and at night it gnawed through the bars of its roomy hutch, and was loose about the house. I well remember catching it the next day – aye, and I did catch it! Though this happened five and twenty years ago, I still bear the mark upon my thumb where its front teeth met in my flesh. We caught it several times with difficulty, but it regularly made its escape at night. It seemed to be perfectly mad.
This went on for more than a week, when one evening a strange cat got into the house. In the dead of the night the two creatures met and quarrelled. There was a terrible uproar up and down stairs, and much scattering of fur. In the morning we found both dead; and so ended my first and last experience of ‘tame’ squirrels.