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Local man helps rescue squirrels that were tangled by their tails

August 29, 2013|By James Fillmore (jfillmore@wsbt.com) | WSBT- TV

MICHIGAN CITY-- Five baby squirrels are lucky to be alive after they were found stuck in a storm drain with their tails tangled.   

Michigan City Animal Control says it's not a criminal case because they believe it happened naturally.    

The department doesn't usually deal with wildlife, but the responding officer felt compelled to help the baby squirrels.

Joshua Phillips says, "It was like a puzzle. I pushed them through one hole, and then another squirrel would come through another hole."    

He is an animal control officer for Michigan City.

Phillips could see the baby squirrels were scared.    

He was able to free the squirrels from the grate, but their tails were still tied together.    

He tried getting them untangled, but it wouldn't work.   

At one point, the baby squirrels were at risk of being euthanized, but Phillips wasn't ready to give up.   

Once the animals were sedated, he tried one more time and was able to get their tails apart.

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He says, "After that, I took them to my house and I kept them in the crate. I took some out and holded them. I put apples in there, and I put some old shirts in there to keep them warm."    

Michigan City Animal Control doesn't believe this was done by a person.    

They did some research on the Internet and found this happens from time to time. It's called squirrel king.

Alijah Hunter is the director and he says, "It's just the nature of the tails at that age. They're probably in the nest, playing and running around like squirrels do."  

Phillips says they transported the animals in a cat carrier.   

When they went back to set the baby squirrels free, they say they found the mother waiting on the storm drain where the babies had been stuck.

Phillips says, "They didn't run up the tree. They ran under my legs at first, and then I put them on the tree and they started running up the tree, and then the last one ran up my shirt and nibbled on my ear, and then I put him on the tree and he ran up the tree."    

Phillips says it makes him feel good knowing that he helped these baby squirrels get a second chance at life.

People who live on the street where this happened tell us after the animal control officers left, adult squirrels were carrying the babies to a different tree and away from the area where the incident occurred.

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