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For this project, we ask you what you want us to investigate and what stories you'd like us to tell.

Why does Austin fire engine 11 have a taxidermy squirrel on its dashboard?

A taxidermy squirrel hugging a wooden stick sits on the dashboard of a fire truck. An orange fire hat is also on the dashboard.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
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This video premiered at the ATXplained Live show at the Paramount Theatre on Oct. 11, 2023. Get tickets to our next show on April 3!

There are dozens of fire stations in Austin, but have you ever looked closely at each station’s engine? You might see some strange creatures serving as mascots — like a stuffed squirrel.

KUT listener Daniel Rutledge spotted the squirrel in question riding shotgun on Austin fire engine 11. He wanted to know the story behind it, so he reached out to KUT’s ATXplained project.

Multimedia producer Michael Minasi spoke with Station 11 firefighter Logan Hendricks about the taxidermy mascot, which was inspired by the station's friendship with a squirrel who met an unfortunate demise.

Michael Minasi is a photo and video storyteller at KUT and KUTX. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @MichaelMinasi.
Kailey Hunt is KUT's Williamson County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @KaileyEHunt.
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