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.
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