Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Baby Squirrels Tangled in Plastic Saved by Wisconsin Veterinarians

Animals
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society / Facebook

There have been growing concerns about the impact that the 8 million tons of plastic that enter the world's oceans each year have on marine life.

But that oceanic focus doesn't mean land animals are safe from plastic pollution.


The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society published a post on its Facebook page Friday detailing what had happened when a "caring finder" alerted the center to five young squirrels in an unusual predicament, KMSP TV reported.

"The tails of these five juvenile Gray Squirrel siblings had become hopelessly entangled with the long-stemmed grasses and strips of plastic their mother used as nest material, and with each other! A predicament that, without careful and quick intervention, would at the least cost each of these squirrels their very important tail (needed for balance and warmth), and likely their lives," the post said.

The veterinarians first had to anesthetize the squirrels all at once.

"You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was," the post said.

The vets then worked on untangling the "Gordian Knot" of tails.

"It was impossible to tell whose tail was whose, and we were increasingly concerned because all of them had suffered from varying degrees of tissue damage to their tails caused by circulatory impairment," the post said.

It took 20 minutes for the vets to use scissors to cut away at the grass and plastic and free the squirrels. The squirrels then began to recover from anesthesia.

The vets said they would watch the squirrels for a few days to make sure they did not develop tail necrosis caused by a lack of blood flow, but one day after the procedure, they seemed to be doing well.

"Now, one day later, they are all bright-eyed, and three of the five are 'bushy-tailed,'" the post said.

According to the most recent data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 34.5 million tons of plastic were produced in the U.S. in 2015. Only 9.1 percent of that was recycled. 5.4 million tons were burned and the vast majority, 26 million tons, went into landfills.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) wrote that it often has to rescue animals from littered items.

"Plastic items become intestinal blockages; baited fishing lines entangle limbs, hindering movement and causing dismemberment; and aluminum cans with leftover soda or beer turn into razor-sharp traps," HSUS wrote in a 2010 blog post.

Across the ocean, the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimated it got an average of 14 calls a day about animals endangered by litter.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less