Working with wildlife means you’re always on the job. For those with the know-how, any critter in distress is worth stopping to help.
Laura Stastny, who works with the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, found herself responding to an unusual call. A man in Elkhorn, Nebraska, saw something highly odd and figured human intervention was the only solution.
Six baby squirrels were spotted in distress for a surprising reason.
Craig Luttman heard screeching outside of his home and decided to investigate. Once he found the source, he called in the animal emergency to the Nebraska Humane Society.
“It was like a tug of war,” Luttman said to the Omaha World-Herald. “All were going in different directions.”
It wasn’t until the Nebraska Humane Society officers arrived on the scene that the situation was clear to them.
“Animal control got a call for six baby squirrels in distress, moving as a unit, with their tails tangled together!” the Nebraska Humane Society said in their Facebook post.
As atypical as the sighting may seem, it’s not as uncommon as one might think. Stastny said it isn’t the first time she has seen a case like this.
Stastny sees one an incident like this every one or two years.
Officers from the humane society captured the squirrels and took them to the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab. After some examination, Stastny found tree sap was the likely culprit in the squirrel’s tangled affair.
She estimated the rodents were only about 8 weeks old. After giving them each a mild sedative, she snipped away the sap-covered fur causing them to stick together.
She covered them in a towel to keep the creatures in the dark and calm as she untangled the remaining matted fur. The entire rescue took about an hour and the baby squirrels are currently recovering at the rehab center.
All of the squirrels are expected to recuperate and be released back into the wild.
While efforts to separate the squirrels were a success, a few of them will need to undergo further treatment. Several of the squirrels had parts of their tails permanently damaged, and they will need to undergo surgery.
But Stastny said they are lucky to be alive. In their tangled condition, they would have likely starved to death or become a predator’s easy meal.
They are all expected to make a full recovery and be released back into their natural habitat in a few weeks.