Maned wolf from Shepreth Wildlife Park has teeth removed

Wolf undergoing surgery Ruby's gums had been exposed by the twig so three teeth were removed

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A rare maned wolf from a Cambridgeshire wildlife park had to undergo an hour-long operation to have three teeth extracted - after getting a twig stuck in her mouth.

Ruby, from Shepreth Wildlife Park, was laid out on the operating table at Cambridge University's vet school.

The seven-year-old wolf had the twig removed, but her gums had been exposed and would have been prone to infection.

The solitary hunter

Close-up of twig stuck in wolf's mouth
  • Maned wolves have incredibly long legs which help them see above the tall grasses of their native central South America
  • Unlike wolves that live in packs, the maned wolf is a solitary animal and hunts mainly at night
  • Mated pairs live in the same area but lead largely separate lives, except during breeding season

Source: BBC Nature

The operation was watched by about 20 students and was a complete success.

"Those teeth were not moving," said Rebecca Willers, curator of Shepreth Wildlife Park.

"They were rock solid, but the gums had receded so it had to be done."

Ruby, who is part of a European Endangered Species Programme, was first of all anaesthetised on Friday in her enclosure while the park's vet examined her.

He found the twig wedged in the roof of her mouth and the gums exposed.

Ms Willers said a risk assessment had to be carried out before taking the wild animal to the vet school for treatment.

During the operation, Ruby lay on a "hot dog" and was covered with a "bear hugger" - types of blankets designed to keep her warm.

With the three teeth safely removed, Ruby was up and about the next day.

However her normal diet of crunchy chickens is off the menu for a while.

"She's on soft and palatable wolf food at the moment," said Ms Willers, "but she'll be back on her normal diet soon."

Maned wolves are omnivorous and 50% of their diet is fruit.

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