Knotted squirrels make for a tangled tale of rescued tails

World

Knotted squirrels make for a tangled tale of rescued tails

Five youngsters found joined at the tail get 'nippy' when vets try to get them out of their grass and plastic mess

Harriet Alexander


Five young squirrels in Wisconsin are recovering from a procedure to separate them after their tails became entangled in a “Gordian knot” with strips of plastic.
The animals were found by a passerby, hopelessly struggling to separate themselves. It is believed that they tied themselves together in the nest, getting caught up in strands of grass and plastic that their parents had used to create their home.
The authorities were alerted, and the squirrels taken to the wildlife rehabilitation centre at the Wisconsin Humane Society, where vets found the animals to be “unruly” and “nippy”.
“You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was,” the centre wrote on its Facebook page.
“Our first step was to anaesthetise all five of them at the same time.”
Vets then began unravelling what they called a “Gordian knot” (a reference to the legend of Phrygian Gordium, associated with Alexander the Great) of tightly tangled tails and nest material.
All of the squirrels sustained some degree of tissue damage to their tails, but after around 20 minutes of snipping with scissors they were freed.
“Now, one day later, they are all bright-eyed, and three of the five are ‘bushy-tailed’,” the centre said.
“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 Daily Telegraph

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