DELTONA, Florida — For decades, the iconic water-skiing squirrel Twiggy has been entertaining trade-show goers, movie fans and others all around the world with her abilities. In April, it was reported Twiggy and handler Lou Ann Best would be retiring from shows.
It all started when Best and her husband, Chuck, found an abandoned baby squirrel in 1978 after her nest had been destroyed by a hurricane. The Bests had previously bought their daughter a toy boat, which they would eventually use to train Twiggy to water-ski.
In 1997, Best’s husband had a boating accident that took his life. Lou Ann, who had stopped showing Twiggy while grieving, took some needed time for reflection. In 1998, she decided to continue the Twiggy shows with a new emphasis on boating safety, according to the official website.
The website stated, “Twiggy always puts safety first. She never goes on the water without her little squirrel-sized life jacket and she is always sharing the importance of water safety with all her adoring fans.”
Twiggy has an extensive list of live, television and movie cameos including various boat shows, The X Games, “Anchorman” starring Will Ferrell and “Late Night With David Letterman.”
Best told local Tampa-area Fox 13 News, “It really touches my heart and it is really rewarding to do something where you are out there and you look at all the smiles on people’s faces. Twiggy always makes people smile.”
Best also stated she would possibly focus on writing Twiggy-themed children’s books in retirement.
Several squirrels have performed under the moniker of Twiggy with Best over the years. Currently, Twiggy IV water-skis at shows. The Bests had also taught other animals to water-ski as well including two miniature horses, two French poodles, a black cat, armadillo and toad.
Twiggy’s last show will be in Minneapolis where Best states the first Twiggy show took place nearly 40 years ago.
For more information about Twiggy, visit the official website at twiggyskis.com.
Photos: Lou Ann Best