Zip, the baby squirrel, is happy, healthy and energetic. But five weeks ago, he was trapped inside a bag of mulch, fighting for his life.
This week, Reddit user Nadtacular posted an amazing series of photos documenting the moment he cut open a bag of mulch and found the tiny squirrel, curled up and nearly hairless.
Nadtacular took in the squirrel, christened Zip, and cared for him. Two weeks later, Zip was "eating like a champ." After about four weeks, his eyes started to open.
The last pictures, dated March 26, show Zip climbing on a car steering wheel and being hand fed.
In the three days since the pictures were posted, they have garnered more than 68,000 up votes on Reddit and have been viewed nearly 300,000 times on image-sharing site Imgur.
In 2012, a similar story about a baby squirrel nursed back to life by Belarusian soldiers also went viral. Clearly, the Internet has a soft spot for the cuddly creatures.
However, raising a wild animal in your home is generally not a good idea, according to the wildlife rehabilitation clinic at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the clinic, told the Naples News that wild animals are never good pets.
"All wild babies have extremely specialized nutritional requirements and will not thrive on commercial milk formulas sold at pet stores," she said. "Most wild animal babies have littermates so they can cuddle and interact. A wild animal raised with people is already at a disadvantage because it will become tame and lose its natural fear of people. This makes it impossible to release the animal back into the wild."
Wild animals, no matter how cute, can also carry potentially dangerous diseases and parasites, she added.