Last month, Kane County Animal Control brought us a squirrel that was seriously injured after becoming stuck in a bird feeder (Second Nature Fly-Thru Platform Feeder manufactured by Backyard Nature Products, Inc.). The squirrel became stuck in the feeder when its toes were entangled in the twisted metal structure supporting the feeder’s roof.
Frantic to free itself, the squirrel chewed off one of its own toes in a futile effort to escape. Sadly, despite his efforts, he remained stuck because toes from three of his four feet were also stuck.
The homeowners called animal control to intervene. They cut down the feeder and Animal Control brought the feeder back to their offices. (The featured picture shows the squirrel entangled in the feeder after the feeder was cut down). After tranquilizing the squirrel, Animal Control was able to remove him from the feeder.
Unfortunately, by the time that Animal Control was called, one toe on each of three feet had already suffered from major damage. One was completely missing. Two others were damaged beyond repair.
The good news is that, despite the permanent injuries to his toes, the squirrel has adapted and has regained full mobility. He is lucky that he will be able to return to the wild.
This experience reminds us that even products marketed as nature products can, if poorly designed, have inherent dangers.
We are contacting the manufacturer and hope that they will either discontinue or redesign this product in order to improve its safety. We will keep you posted on the outcome.