More than a century before Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin became the most celebrated fictional squirrel in England, there was another famous squirrel in Britain. Unlike Nutkin, he was not a red squirrel — the tiny, tufted-ear rodent native to the British Isles — but an Eastern gray, an immigrant from the Americas. And this squirrel was not a literary creation. He was real.
His name was Mungo, and his brief life and violent death inspired no less a figure than Benjamin Franklin to eulogize him.