A tale of how five juvenile grey squirrels got their tails hopelessly entangled in a knotted mess has a happy ending, thanks to veterinarians at a Wisconsin humane society.
According to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at the Wisconsin Humane Society, a “caring finder” spotted the group of squirrels earlier this week and brought them into the care of the rehab facility.
The squirrel siblings somehow managed get tangled up with each other and the long-stemmed grasses, sticks and plastic their mother used as nest material, according to the humane society.
“A predicament that, without careful and quick intervention, would at the least cost each of these squirrels their very important tail (needed for balance and warmth), and likely their lives,” the humane society said in a Facebook post. “You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was, so our first step was to anesthetize all five of them at the same time.”
The vets then went to town trying to untangle what they described as a “Gordian Knot” of tightly tangled tails.
“It was impossible to tell whose tail was whose, and we were increasingly concerned because all of them had suffered from varying degrees of tissue damage to their tails caused by circulatory impairment,” the humane society explained.
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It took about 20 minutes for the veterinarians to carefully cut away the plastic and grass that had been wrapped within the rodents’ tails, eventually freeing all five.
“Now, one day later, they are all bright-eyed, and three of the five are ‘bushy-tailed,’ but we’ll need to monitor all of them for a couple of days to watch for tail necrosis caused by impaired blood flow,” the Wisconsin Humane Society said.
On Monday, the humane society said all five of the squirrels are “now very active and vigorous,” and are expected to make a full recovery and will later be released in to the wild.
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