An animal hospital in Connecticut is urging people to leave wildlife alone after four baby squirrels had their tails tied together in a suspected act of animal abuse.
“We cannot stress this enough: PLEASE LEAVE WILDLIFE ALONE!!!” the Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital in Berlin, Connecticut — which lies south of Hartford — write in a Facebook post last week.
“These 4 baby squirrels were found on train tracks and brought to our hospital. Upon arrival we realized that their tails had been tangled, braided, and purposefully tied together,” the post continued, including a photo of an X-Ray of the little squirrels.
“They are all alive and on their way to recovery. Unfortunately their tails are broken and may need to be amptutated [sic]. Thank you to the kind hearted person who found them and brought them in to be cared for.”
CNN reported on Monday that one of the baby squirrels did indeed have to have its tail amputated.
The 6-week-old squirrels also had broken bones in their tails, which had been braided together symmetrically, the outlet reported.
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“Animal abuse is never ok,” the hospital’s post continued. “If you see something please report it!”
The animal hospital clarified in its post that while tail knotting does occur naturally in the wild sometimes, that was not the case with these squirrels.
“The tails were broken and braided together as well as tied together by a human made object,” the Facebook post said. “Where these babies were found was also an indicator of animal cruelty.”
Veterinary technician Anthony Dibella told CNN that when tail-tangling happens in the wild, it turns into more of a sticky blob, often thanks to sap that leaked into their nest. But Dibella told the outlet that “there was no sticking factor, which is why we think this was done purposely.”
Now, the squirrels are eating on their own and should be able to return to the wild, Dibella confirmed, adding that the hospital reported the incident to local animal control and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protections.
“Squirrels revert back to the wild easily. The big factor is how well they can function without the tail,” Dibella said.