We’ve all heard of sabre-toothed tigers, the fierce, prehistoric big cats that walked the earth around 10,000 years ago.
Well, now you can get a feel for what it may have been like to encounter one of these ferocious beasts – by checking out this fluffy little squirrel.
Jannet Talbott found the squirrel in her garden in Alberta, Canada, and gave him the adorably appropriate name ‘Bucky’.
One of his bottom teeth was so long that it was poking him in the eye, while his other teeth jammed his mouth open.
Poor Bucky’s teeth were so overgrown, in fact, that he was struggling to eat from the feeder Jannet had kept in her garden.
She watched him trying – and failing – to eat for a while, before realising how serious his dental issues could be.
“At that moment I knew I needed to help this little squirrel out, because that was a dangerous tooth,” she tells Canadian broadcaster Global News.
Rodent teeth never actually stop growing – usually they stay short because they’re constantly rubbed against each other, and against other hard surfaces like the shells of nuts.
What appears to have happened to Bucky is that his teeth are misaligned, meaning that they haven’t eroded each other down. Instead, they’ve grow in odd directions, threatening to grow into his face – or jam his mouth open, making it hard for him to eat.
Jannet didn’t want to watch Bucky suffer.
Luckily she works with horses, dogs and cattle at her ranch, so she’s a dab hand at getting hold of animals when she needs to. The next time she saw him, she grabbed Bucky out of his tree and brought him inside, ready to administer some much-needed dental care.
“I literally reached in and grabbed him, and then I think we were both shocked at that moment,” she says.
Using a cuticle trimmer and a YouTube tutorial, she set about cutting his teeth until they were a much more manageable size. Fortunately for Bucky, squirrels don’t have feeling in their teeth until you get close to the gum line.
“It literally took 10 minutes to do it,” she adds.
Here’s what Bucky looked like before…
And here he is after a bit of dental work.
Jannet then released Bucky back into the wild, hoping that he would enjoy not having a massive tooth on his face.
And sure enough, the next day she saw him back in the feeder, eating whole peanuts – something he couldn’t do before.
*Cue the Born Free theme song*