QCOSTARICA – As far as airplane stowaways go, this could be one of the cutest ever. Employees at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas, received a surprise when they found a baby squirrel which had sneaked onto a plane.
The critter was apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials earlier this month after it survived a flight from Costa Rica, a journey that normally takes about three to four hours.
Passengers had already disembarked when the squirrel was found after a flight from Costa Rica to Houston
A CBP officer and agricultural specialist boarded the aircraft and ‘caged the squirrel without incident,’ the agency said in a news release.
CBP Port Director Charles Perez said: ‘During the course of performing our mission, we may encounter unusual opportunities to aid in the capture of seemingly harmless animals that have hitchhiked into the country.
‘While there is a cute factor here, realistically, we understand that animals must be handled carefully.’
The CBP’s office in Central Texas tweeted a photo that showed an employee, wearing a glove, clutching the furry stowaway after it was discovered.
It said: ‘#CBP rescued this baby squirrel that arrived aboard an aircraft @iah; He’s in capable hands @USFWS_Southwest.’
The animal, which boasts rust-coloured fur, was quarantined and given food and water until it was handed over to a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inspector. The USFWS is working with the Houston Zoo to find an appropriate home for the squirrel.