North East Wildlife Animal Rehabilitation Coalition is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. We are a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and these are the tales of the injured and orphaned animals we care for until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A tale of tangled tails.

Laurie, Lisa and I were getting ready to head out and work on one of the release pens when Laurie got a call about a bunch of squirrels stuck together by their tails. Soooooo....out the door went the release pen plans and we headed over to check out the squirrel situation.
Sure enough it was a case of tangle tail. It happens when they get sap stuck in their tails, then they all head back to the nest to curl up together. Due to the sticky sap, the fur from their tails get stuck together, along with various other nest debris. The squirrels realize they are stuck, then start to flip out trying to break apart, but only make it worse....the tails end up in a painful, tail breaking knot they cannot get out of. It is not seen too often because most usually end up dying in the nest as a result.
But occasionally some manage to get out or fall from the nest. In this case, 4 squirrels were stuck together, 1 was already dead. We brought them in and started to work on them. The tail of the dead one was cut off, then the whole knot was soaped up and they were able to be untangled with less effort than expected.

With tails finally separated, each squirrel was cleaned, given fluids and capstar for the maggots that were already in residence, and put aside in a warm, dark, quiet place to de-stress as we almost lost 2 of them from the stress during treatment.

All 3 are pretty stable now. Laurie has them now and it's just a matter of ascertaining the extent of damage to the tails and deciding on what course of treatment to follow.

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