If there was one thing Jannet Talbott hadn’t expected that day in June 2018, it was to see a squirrel struggling to eat out of the bird feeder for her finches on her ranch in Alberta.
Talbott approached the bird feeder and was shocked to see that there was something wrong with the squirrel – his teeth were extremely long, preventing him from eating properly and cutting down his available diet.
His incisors – all four of them – were so long that they curled back into his face and prevented him from eating.
Talbott, being an animal-lover who converted part of her ranch in Barrhead – the Double J Freedom Ranch – into an animal sanctuary for rescue efforts, knew she needed to help this squirrel.
This is something she’s done since she was a child – she always brings home animals that need help.
The sabertooth squirrel was very thin.
All squirrels have incisors that don’t stop growing, but they are typically kept in check because they eat tree bark and nuts that grind them down.
It’s likely that this squirrel had been born with a defect that caused an unusual bite, thus preventing him from eating proper food.
He resorted instead to eating small bits of bird feed, and he was in danger of starving to death.
Talbott picked the squirrel up carefully, shielded by leather gloves.
She gave him a name – Bucky – and began to watch YouTube videos about the proper methods to trimming the teeth of squirrels.
She was able to teach herself through these videos. It was just in time, too – Bucky’s incisors were getting dangerously close to his eyes!
Bucky was wrapped in a towel and Talbott worked slowly to file down his teeth. Squirrels, luckily, do not feel pain from this as they lack nerve endings in those teeth.
Throughout the process, Bucky stayed calm and collected and Talbott gently made use of a cuticle trimmer.
It was as though he knew that she was there to help and would not harm him. When she was done, he looked like a totally different critter!
The transformation is truly impressive. We can only imagine how much happier he felt with a freer mouth!
The next day, Talbott released him back outdoors. The squirrel was thrilled to begin eating whole nuts all on his own, no longer needing to rely on sunflower seeds.
He hurried up a nearby tree and rubbed at his cheeks in what was likely the first time he’d been able to do that for most of his life.
He even used some tree branches to sharpen his incisors so he can continue using them to chomp down on better food!
Talbott hopes that Bucky will be able to keep his incisors nice and trimmed – but if he doesn’t, she’ll be nearby.
It’s likely that the incisors might grow back improperly again, of course, and Talbott is all too happy to make sure he stays safe and well.
She’ll be ready with a trimmer, just in case.