Hogtown, meet Howard the squirrel
Forget the High Park Zoo’s fancy peacock or Hamilton’s doughnut-stealing raccoon.
Howard’s the next quirky animal to win Torontonians’ hearts.
“The whole city, every time we see a slightly quirky animal, we freak out about it,” said Sonia, the 25-year-old event marketer behind Howard’s lilsquirrel.bigcity Instagram account, which documents the adventures of the small, rodent.
“It becomes sort of a cultural moment. It’s the connection to nature in the big city and that’s one of the things that makes Toronto so great. It’s nice to have reminders now and again that we share our city with small, cute furry things.”
Sonia — who didn’t wish to give her last name — said she noticed the same squirrel hanging out on her Dupont St. and Davenport Rd. condo window ledge this July. Her boyfriend suggested she name him Howard.
Toronto has long celebrated animals who have gone viral on social media. Greatest hits include Darwin, the Ikea monkey, the white squirrels in Trinity Bellwoods Park and Conrad, the Dead Raccoon. The latter inspired a butter sculpture at this year’s CNE.
“In mid-August, I took a picture of him sleeping on his back and then I posted it to Bunz, asking people if it’s normal for squirrels to sleep like that and it got more than 1,000 likes, so I thought I should start an Instagram for this thing,” she said.
“I’ve learned that squirrels tend to nap quite a bit,” she said. “He loves to lie splayed out like that. From what I’ve read, it means he’s comfortable and allowing himself to feel vulnerable.”
She thinks Howard could even be polyamorous.
“He has a harem of girlfriends, seriously,” she said. “The three of them have sleepovers. They groom each other and in the morning, the grey one will come by and wait for him to wake up and then they go off on their adventures during the day.”