4 Baby Squirrels Found With Tails Braided Together, Vets Suspect Animal Abuse

CNN Newsource
By CNN Newsource
September 23, 2019Trending
4 Baby Squirrels Found With Tails Braided Together, Vets Suspect Animal Abuse
Four baby squirrels were found on train tracks in Berlin, Connecticut. (Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital/Facebook via CNN)

A gaggle of baby squirrels were found with their tails braided together. Veterinary staff who treat them worry they fell prey to animal abuse.

Four 6-week-old squirrels were discovered on train tracks in Berlin, Connecticut, last week. Their tails were braided in pairs, then the two knots were braided into one big tangle, Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital said.

Their tails incurred a few broken bones, which can heal, but lost blood flow often means amputation. One of the squirrels has already had its tail amputated, Anthony Dibella, a veterinary technician at the hospital, told CNN.

“They are all alive and on their way to recovery,” the organization said in a Facebook post on Sept. 19.

A squirrel on a tree trunk.
A squirrel on a tree trunk. (Mack Fox/Unsplash)

It’s not uncommon for baby squirrels to naturally get their tails stuck together. It can happen in the wild if their mother doesn’t clean them well enough or sap leaks into their nest and on their tails. The result is a sticky, painful mess—kind of like if you got superglue stuck to your fingers, he said.

The difference with these squirrels, he said, is that when vet staff untangled their tails, they were clean—and the braids were symmetrical.

“There was no sticking factor, which is why we think this was done purposely,” he said.

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.

Losing a Tail is a Big Deal For Baby Squirrels

Despite their injuries, the squirrels are eating on their own now. Like any wild animal, they’re feisty but frightened to be around people, he said.

“Squirrels revert back to the wild easily,” he said. “The big factor is how well they can function without the tail.”

A squirrel’s tail is a security blanket of sorts that keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer and helps them balance when they’re skittering up trees or across power lines. If they lose it at a young age in the wild, the injury could prove fatal.

A squirrel appears to sleep in the sunshine on a bin
A squirrel appears to sleep in the sunshine on a bin in Regent’s Park in London, England on Oct. 21, 2014. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It’ll take a few weeks for the amputee squirrel to recover from its wounds.

In the meantime, Dibella said the hospital’s contacted local animal control and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protections to investigate the incident as animal abuse. Neither department responded to phone calls from CNN for comment.

Epoch Times Reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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