Several baby squirrels were discovered with their tails braided together on train tracks in Berlin, Connecticut, and veterinarians believe that it might be a case of animal abuse.
The four six-week-old squirrels were found last week, said the Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital, adding that the tails were braided in pairs while two knots were braided into a big tangle.
“They are all alive and on their way to recovery,” read a Facebook post from the organization on Sept. 19.
Kensington Bird & Animal Hospital noted that squirrels can get their tails tangled in the wild. However, they said it didn’t happen naturally.
“The tails were broken and braided together as well as tied together by a human-made object,” the Facebook post said. “Where these babies were found was also an indicator of animal cruelty.”
The hospital called on people to report incidents of animal abuse.
Officials also shared an X-ray of the squirrels with the tails braided together. It also posted a photo of someone working on at least one of the squirrels’ tails.
“Thank you to the kind-hearted person who found them and brought them in to be cared for,” the hospital said.
The four baby animals are now “doing well,” and a licensed rehabilitator is taking care of them. They have started to eat, according to the hospital in a comment on the post.
The animal abuse case was reported to authorities, they said.
There have been incidents of squirrels getting their tails stuck together out in the wild, as noted by the Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control.
“Baby squirrels end up with fused tails after spending the time from birth to a few months in the nest (which is called a drey). The material used to build the nest often gets entangled with the tails and merges them together. Over time the situation becomes more complicated as additional material joins the fusion and the fur becomes matted, essentially trapping the squirrels together,” the organization’s website says.
When that happens, the squirrels often face dire consequences.
“Squirrels in this situation are hampered in their efforts to survive. They struggle to move as each animal has its own ideas of where to go. This means that foraging activities are limited for these entangled squirrels. On top of it all, they are easier targets for predatory animals because of their limited mobility. When forced to huddle together by their connected tails, squirrels are also more visible to predators,” the organization adds.