Workers provide daring rescue for ‘Little Brother’

Published 12:21 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

Brookhavenites are advised to be on the lookout for Ann McManus’Little Brother, who went missing in the woods off Highway 51 earlyFriday afternoon.

Little Brother, a 3-month-old baby squirrel described by hisowner as looking like every other squirrel in the woods, isbelieved to be hiding in the trees behind the Cracker Barrel gasstation on Highway 51 North.

The hand-raised, domesticated rodent rode in the car withMcManus to visit a friend at Southern Hospice Care before beingfrightened by the sounds of heavy traffic and instinctively boltingup a nearby power pole.

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Attempts by an Entergy crewman to talk Little Brother back intoan elevated rescue bucket were unsuccessful.

“It jumped over into the bucket truck with him. He startedjumping all around and his hardhat fell off, then the squirreljumped down into the bushes and we haven’t seen him since,” saideyewitness Rhonda Wallace, McManus’ friend. “It was kind of funny.I couldn’t tell (McManus) I laughed. She’s still crying.”

Entergy First Class Lineman Willie Robinson alleged sexualassault against Little Brother during the failed rescue. Hedeclined to press charges.

“I attempted to get the squirrel down, but I think it was matingseason and it was trying to do what nature wanted it to do,” heclaimed. “Somebody had to get out of that bucket and I’m glad itwas him. Squirrels and linemen don’t get along too well.”

Robinson sustained minor cuts in the attempt, but is expected tomake a full recovery.

A tearful McManus told The DAILY LEADER on Friday Little Brotheris harmless and just accustomed to climbing up and down her body.She said the squirrel was perched on her shoulder while she spokewith Wallace before the fear hit him and drove him up the powerpole.

“He stayed up there for four hours,” McManus said, crying. “Heran into a trailer park, but when I got across the street Icouldn’t find him anywhere. I’ve been up there two or three timesbut I couldn’t find him. He’s scared. He’s never been outside.”

McManus, a nurse at Claiborne County Hospital in Port Gibson,raised Little Brother on a bottle and syringe since he was around 1week old. The rodent had fallen down a chimney in Port Gibson, andshe picked him up from a local veterinarian.

McManus is a longtime caretaker of lost or injured wild animals,often raising squirrels and abandoned ferrets.

“I’ve had up to 17 ferrets because people get them and theythink they’re going to be one thing and they end up being somethingelse,” she said. “Ferrets are domesticated and they can’t live ontheir own. If you turn one out, you’re condemning him to die.”

McManus said she was rehabilitating Little Brother for releaseinto the wild in approximately one month. She said the babysquirrel is just beginning to eat pecans and other nuts, and she’safraid he is not yet able to forage for himself.

“I’m just afraid he won’t make it,” she sobbed. “I’m worried hedoesn’t know how to find water. I’m worried about him not havingfood. He’s not but about 3 months old.”

McManus is planning more rescue trips to the area where LittleBrother was lost. Anyone with any information on the squirrel’swhereabouts is urged to call her at 601-613-4943.

“When you get an animal, God gives them to you because they needto be taken care of,” said McManus, who was appreciative toEntergy’s Willie Robinson and Roger Smith for their valiant -though failed – efforts. “God gave him to me for a while, I did thebest I could and I hope it was enough for him.”