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You rooted for Pizza Rat, now cheer on Milkshake Squirrel

The pizza-toting subway rat has some competition from a photogenic New York City park squirrel with a hankering for a dairy-based dessert.

Milkshake Squirrel is next up for viral stardom. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The American system of celebrity worship is a harsh one. Just two days ago we all hailed the fighting spirit of Pizza Rat, a plucky New York rodent hellbent on carrying a massive slice of pie down the subway stairs. Today, a new hero has stepped into the spotlight and its name is Milkshake Squirrel.

Milkshake Squirrel comes to us from Mashable animator Alisa Stern, who captured a 45-second video of a New York squirrel dumpster-diving in a trash can at Madison Square Park, retrieving a chocolate shake from popular burger chain Shake Shack and carrying it over a fence to feast on the sticky contents. The video was posted September 22.

The feat was accomplished with aplomb. First, the squirrel pulls out the straw from the top, then it hauls the whole container out to freedom before opening the lid and chowing down. Onlookers cheer the little guy on, though one concerned citizen can be heard saying, "No! You're going to get a tummy ache."

We all learned some valuable life lessons from Pizza Rat, such as "Your dreams are worth fighting for, even if your dream is just a stale piece of pizza" and "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be real." What does Milkshake Squirrel teach us?

1) If you've got skills, use them

Squirrels have some physical advantages over rats. They have top-level climbing skills, agility and crafty little hands. All of this is put to use during the milkshake extraction mission. Unlike with Pizza Rat (who dropped the slice), we know for sure this squirrel got its reward.

2) Enjoy the sweet moments in life

You may be stressed. You may be worried. You may be a bit hangry. Chill out, bro-dude-man-gal. You just need to find your own personal half-eaten Shake Shack cup in a garbage can, whatever it might be, and enjoy it. With effort comes reward. Carpe milkshakes. All that.

3) The Internet is still desperate for silly animal videos

A pizza-hauling rat becomes a Twitter-trending American icon. A squirrel with a sweet tooth racks up views on YouTube. If it has fur and does something weird, the denizens of the Interwebs want to see it and talk about it on social media.

Pizza Rat trended hard on Twitter, collecting thousands upon thousands of tweets. It was an unstoppable force, fueled by how we all identified with an anti-hero fighting for a greasy dinner. It was a microcosm of our own struggles.

Milkshake Squirrel, however, represents triumph and how plans can work out if you're clever enough and try hard enough. It's a happy ending covered in sugar. We love both underdogs and winners. In the span of just a few days, we got both.

When it comes to New York rodents carrying around fast food, who did it better? Pizza Rat or Milkshake Squirrel? Sound off in the comments.