Don’t call him lame.
A video of a duck parading around a subway platform on a leash shared by Instagram account @SubwayCreatures had attracted 840,000 views and thousands of awestruck comments as of Friday morning.
The mysterious web-footed fowl is Forky, The Post can reveal, the new pet of Brooklynite Zaida Pugh.
A 25-year-old actress, Pugh took part in a video shoot organized by a friend last month. For the skit, the friend bought a $65 duck from a New Jersey farm.
After the shoot wrapped, the 5-year-old fowl was about to be released into the wild when Pugh decided to adopt him.
“He was going to be off in the street and I didn’t want him to die,” said the animal lover, a mom of four who admitted it was an “impulsive decision.” Pugh paid the friend back for half his purchase price and named him Forky, after her favorite character from “Toy Story 4.” “At first I was like, ‘Wow, this is going to be a lot of work.’ But I thought he was so beautiful.”
He’s already one of the family, Pugh said, hanging out in the den where he sleeps in a cage and even joining for meals alongside Pugh’s kids, ages 1 through 8, and her mom, who lives with them in a Flatbush house. He has a voracious appetite, Pugh warned, snarfing up rice, lettuce and grapes.
For the past three weeks, things have been just ducky between the two, who’ve become inseparable. Pugh and Forky make excursions to Lincoln Terrace Park. The pair even patronized a local bodega, where agog onlookers flapped their mouths and whipped out their cameras. One uploaded a video of the spectacle to Reddit last week under the heading “only in New York.”
“People from the ‘hood say, ‘You really brought joy to the ‘hood — we haven’t ever seen a duck,’” said Pugh, who walks as Forky waddles down main avenues like Church, Utica and Flatbush. A petite 5-foot-3, Pugh avoids carrying him to keep him from getting “too spoiled,” which is why he’s mostly spotted on leash.
“He gets a lot of respect over there,” she added. “Forky has street cred.”
Some people, though, are dis-confit-ed with the fowl sight. Fearful folks are afraid he might nip them. “This grown man, real big, started jumping on the bench — he didn’t want to walk on the ground,” said Pugh of a recent encounter. She told him that Forky doesn’t bite. He quacked from atop the bench, “I don’t want to find out.”
Then there are the hungry opportunists who proposition Pugh for her beloved pet.
“People ask if they can buy him to make curry duck. They’re serious,” said Pugh, adding that one bidder even offered a cool $5,000 for the prized fully grown male duck to be the centerpiece of a ritual meal.
Her response is the same every time: the duck is not for sale. “I’ll always have Forky’s back,” she said.
Exuberant children often run over to pet him, but Pugh makes sure to limit his exposure to strangers, since the coronavirus is a threat to Forky, too.
But the in-demand duck still rides the Brooklyn party circuit. Pugh fields ongoing requests for Forky — some via Instagram, where she’s set up an account for him with a modest 1,400 followers — to attend shindigs around town ($120 per appearance, less for kids’ parties). He was the “special guest” at a Labor Day backyard bash. “Everyone says, ‘I’ve never seen a duck up close in person.’” Pugh said. “It’s amazing to them, and I like that I enable them to have that experience.”
Although she has experience with kids, Pugh admitted Forky can be a challenging charge.
“He’s not easy. He’s like a child — you have to feed him, bathe him, put him to bed,” said Pugh, who added that he experiences separation anxiety. When she leaves the room or is away from him too long, she reported, he starts flapping his wings wildly.
“He don’t like me being away from him too long. He gets attached — just like a dog,” she said. “I never thought a duck would do that.”
It’s not quite a duck dynasty, but Forky may soon get a companion. “I’m working on getting him a female duck,” said wingwoman Pugh, who also takes him on jaunts around local parks to scope out any flap-worthy females. “If he finds one he likes, I’ll let them mate.”
She is also working to register her beloved quacker with local authorities, since the city generally frowns on keeping ducks as pets. That’s daffy, according to Pugh.
“This is the best pet I ever had — he’s more exotic and unique,” said Pugh, who’s nurtured a menagerie of cats, dogs, turtles and rabbits over the years. “They have nothing on Forky. Forky is on a whole other level.”
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