Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A North Carolina university professor on her drive home looked down to see a highly unusual sight: A baby squirrel climbing up her leg.
Lynn Owens, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said she was on Highway 40 after work Tuesday when she felt something touching her leg.
"In my car, I feel something moving on my foot. A squirrel is walking up my leg," Owens told WRAL-TV. "There was initial shock of, 'How did a squirrel get here?' I was going 75 mph on the highway, so I was trying to keep cool, and it just relaxed on my lap like it was a cushion or something. So, I just kept driving with the squirrel there."
Owens theorized the squirrel may have stowed away in her tote bag when she briefly set it down outside.
She took the squirrel home, where her children named it "Mr. Nuts," and tried to release it the following day on campus.
"I let it go, and the thing didn't want to leave me," she told the Daily Tarheel. "He kept crawling back up my leg and I'm like, 'buddy go, you're free,' but it kept crawling up my leg."
Owens said she brought the baby squirrel back to her office, where it perched on her shoulder during office hours.
"I had more students come to office hours today than all of last semester combined," she said. "They were begging me to keep it."
Owens said she doesn't have time to care for a baby squirrel, however, so she took it to rescue organization Wildlife Welfare, where rescuers determined the animal is about four weeks old.
"This one is old enough to eat some solid foods," said Ann Rogers, who sits on Wildlife Welfare's Board of Directors. "So it will be in a group of four to five squirrels, and he will eventually be released."