Nuts! Brandon woman's squirrel photo wins international awards

A Hillsborough County woman was awarded first place in an international photography competition for capturing a squirrel in a hilarious pose.

Photos of cute and silly squirrels are in no short supply on the internet, but photographer Mary McGowan managed to capture a moment unlike any other. 

"They're so darn funny, I call them nature's comedians," McGowan said.

She recently returned from London where she received an award at the Comedy Wildlife Awards 2018. Her picture shows a squirrel, its paws straight out in front of its body and its mouth wide open.

McGowan said she took the picture in her backyard, where squirrels and other critters visit regularly.

The picture became an instant classic, being shared on the internet, by National Geographic, and on television talk shows.

As part of the grand prize, McGowan has been invited on a Kenyan safari.

She said she's excited to take pictures of exotic animals, but believes all animals have the potential to make great models, and priceless moments can be found anywhere -- even in your backyard.