Squirrel picked as SunRail safety mascot

By Marjorie Sturgeon, Web Content Editor
Last Updated: Saturday, September 07, 2013, 9:48 AM
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A squirrel is bearing SunRail’s message of train safety to youngsters across Central Florida.

Meet Tie. He has bent whiskers, gray fur, buck teeth and lanky arms, along with a bandaged tail. He’s the mascot for SunRail safety and has a weakness for acorns.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, the state of Florida is home to three species of squirrel -- the eastern gray, the fox and the southern flying squirrels, but Tie is a special “quirky” squirrel.

SunRail officials say Tie is a puppet that will be performing for audiences and teaching them how to be smart and safe around trains and railroad tracks.

He features a bandaged tail that twitches, and will have a dedicated puppeteer so that his voice and mannerisms are always the same.

“His bandaged tail has a sixth sense of sorts as it starts to twitch whenever a train is near,” a biography for the mascot included.

A promotional pamphlet compared the new mascot’s personality to puppet icons from the Muppets, including Miss Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, Animal and Fozzy.

The pamphlet also includes quotes for him:

"Watch your tail and keep off the rail."

"No one is faster than a train, not even me...and I've got the tail to prove it."

"SunRail, there's nuttin' better...get it...I said nuttin'...cause I'm a squirrel..."

According to his bio, he has had more than his fair share of close calls with train tracks and will share those lessons.

Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below!

Michelle September 6, 2013 8:59 PM
Tie looks like he came to close to the sunrail tracks. Doesn't look much like a squirrel.
M. September 6, 2013 9:00 PM
So SunRail's mascot is a squirrel that got HIT BY SUNRAIL?
Princessa September 6, 2013 10:00 PM
Tie has been hit so many times by the sun rail he looks like a cat!

Seriously though Tie is a mess are they really considering him as a mascot!
Alex M
Alex M September 7, 2013 1:57 AM
Thank you for making my day, this is hilarious
Cashew September 7, 2013 2:06 AM
Ugly as ****! Drew Curtis for President!
Mike September 7, 2013 6:42 AM
Seriously Cashew? Fark is terrible, and has been for years.
Gary September 7, 2013 9:46 AM
I see at least a dozen squirrels lying in, on, or beside the road, bellyup, on a daily basis, yea, thats a good safety mascot said no squirrel ever.
Ray September 7, 2013 9:56 AM
It is important to educate the public re: train safety. Every year a lot of vehicles and pedestrians lose in crashes with trains. With more trains running with SunRail, the problem could get worse. I applaud the effort, especially with children. The squirrel I'm not impressed with though.
Kevin September 7, 2013 11:01 AM
Please tell me if/when plush doll versions of this... thing.. will be available!?
Bill in Clermont
Bill in Clermont September 7, 2013 3:16 PM
A squirrel that got ran over by a train and lived, that sounds disturbing for kids
Dr. Philip J. Shapiro
Dr. Philip J. Shapiro September 7, 2013 4:14 PM
Let's see what Tie looks like after the taxpayers of Florida get stuck with the bill for this project. A skunk might become more appropriate.
George September 7, 2013 8:01 PM
Looks like a rat, sure doesn't look like a squirrel.
Binh September 7, 2013 8:49 PM
Hideous, disturbing, and terrifying. Looks like something from a bad acid trip.
Marie September 7, 2013 9:12 PM
Seriously!? My 4 yr old HATED this thing! She said it looks like a monster. Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea??
Chuck September 7, 2013 9:58 PM
There's only one rail safety campaign that will works... "Dumb Ways to Die."

Dawn September 9, 2013 10:41 AM
To me it looks like the squirrel from the Ice Age movies... although that one was a lot cuter.
Chris September 9, 2013 9:31 PM
Mr. Tie the Squirrel looks like he's survived a couple close calls himself. Too bad...
M. H. Dolan
M. H. Dolan September 11, 2013 11:24 PM
OK--it's clear that the mandatory drug testing program at SR has some serious flaws. No non-impaired individual can POSSIBLY look at this deranged, ate-too-many-volts-for-breakfastcreature, and think Hey really cool. Puts Safety right out there. Tye rather resembles a lost extra from The Walking Dead, as opposed to a touchy-feely furry critter youd like to, uh, cuddle with.
Everyone knows they are rats with better wardrobes. But oh so concerned with human safety? Y-e-s. Squirrel Bob made me an involuntary member of the very large I hate squirrels! cl**** of people recently. A cherubic oldster, acting in accord with one of their deepest natural urges, ate through the third wire coming to the house. Result? A central nervous system-exploding BANG accompanied by the, uh, tangy smell of flash-frying squirrel. AND there was a rather alarming fireball at the electrical box. My power was out for six hours before repair.
And dont even get me started on how much I enjoy the furry multitudes who love to dine en m****e on the backyard bird seed. (Regrettably, my Doberman can only run down so many before she feels faint)
Well, warm and cuddly and built for safety? I fear I must say: no. no no no no no no no are you freakin kidding me no no no no no
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