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Squirrel gives North Carolina professor a surprise while driving

(NBC News 2017)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WRAL) – Driving home from her job as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lynn Owens felt a surprise.

"In my car, I feel something moving on my foot. A squirrel is walking up my leg," she said. "There was an 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 said she thinks the squirrel may have gotten into her tote bag on campus, although how that happened remains a mystery. Since the squirrel came from campus, she wanted to take it back, but the release didn't go quite according to plan.

"It sat there and looked at me and then ran right back up my leg like I'm its momma or something. So, I take the squirrel out again and said, 'You're free, buddy.' It ran right back up my leg, so I'm thinking maybe this squirrel isn't ready to be back out in the wild."

Owens said she couldn't leave the squirrel outside, so she took it to her office, where it sat on her shoulder during office hours.

When news of the squirrel spread, she became the most popular person on campus.

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