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A Tail of Four Squirrelies

Posted on 1 September 2010 by Dawn Keller

For 10 weeks, Mom Squirrel has diligently and lovingly raised her four little grey squirrel babies. Their big day is here - to venture from the nest for the first time and Mom is anxious about her babies growing up and facing the world. The boldest one gets enough courage and runs along the branch from the nest. NO – something is terribly wrong! Tree sap from the beloved pine tree has stuck together Bold Ones’ tail to that of his siblings.

Mom Squirrel’s other three babies panic as their tails get pulled by Bold One and they start running too but in different directions from bold one. Each squirrel tries to make its own way on the branch but the pulling causes them to fall to a branch about 10’ off the ground.

Now their stuck-together-tails are now also stuck hanging from a branch. The four babies, now hanging near the tree near the trunk all try to separate but instead become twisted. As the jump back and forth over each other, their tails become twisted even worse. Mom Squirrel runs down the tree to help and desperately tries to pull her babies back up the tree but she cannot lift all four babies at once.

A nearby neighbor hears the commotion and goes outside. She realizes that the baby squirrels are in trouble and calls McHenry County Animal Control. When Officer Gardner arrives, she cannot believe what she’s seeing. She works diligently and finally gets them unstuck from the branch and they fall into a net. She transports them to the waiting rehabilitator at Flint Creek Wildlife.

Flint Creek Wildlife tries to remove the squirrels from the net, but they are all running in different directions and jumping over each other. They are each connected to each other by a knot that is comprised of pine sap and their four tails. Their poor tails are twisted, so when any one of the squirrels tries to move, all four scream in fear and pain.

Flint Creek cannot risk further damage to the squirrels and determines that the squirrels need to be sedated. She gives each squirrel a shot, covers them and waits until they are more relaxed so that she can begin work.

    

    

Now she feels the mass of tails and tries to untwist the puzzle. Each time she moves one squirrel over another, the mass untwists a little more. Finally, after about 30 minutes, each squirrel is free.

The tails are all broken, some in multiple places. The poor broken tails are cleaned and bandaged. The squirrels are given other medications to keep them more comfortable. They huddle together to sleep it off.

        

What a rough day for four little squirrels!

Note: All squirrels are doing well and expected to recover.

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