Jannet Talbott was just sitting on her deck one day when she noticed a squirrel with abnormally large teeth in one of her bird feeders. “I saw something on the side of his face and I came towards the feeder to see what it was. It was an actual tooth growing up, really close to his eye,”.
She watched him struggling to eat. Talbott rescues dogs and works with horses and cattle at her Double J Freedom Ranch near Barrhead, Alta. So she pulled out a small live trap and intended to try and capture the squirrel she affectionately dubbed Bucky. But all of a sudden, a golden opportunity presented itself. Talbott came around the corner with her leather work gloves and saw Bucky sitting in the feeder again. “I literally reached in and grabbed him and then I think we were both shocked at that moment. I took him in the house and put him in a plastic container. I put some holes in the top.”
Then Talbott went to work online, trying to figure out what to do next. She learned squirrels’ teeth grow continuously so they can gnaw on nuts and acorns. Clearly, Bucky’s weren’t growing correctly. Talbott noticed two of his incisors had grown backwards in his mouth.
“I thought, ‘How on Earth has this guy been able to eat?’ Then I realized it’s because, in these feeders that I feed all year-round, I do put crushed, shelled sunflower seeds for the birds. That’s about the only thing he could fit in his mouth,” she said. Next, Talbott watched a YouTube video that showed her how to trim squirrel teeth and set to work with a new pair of cuticle trimmers.
“When I found out they don’t actually have feeling in their teeth, up until they’re close to the gum line — I felt confident that I could do it. I had the tool. And so I just took a deep breath and said, ‘Bucky, we’re going to get you fixed up here.’ It literally took under 10 minutes to do it.” She said Bucky was calm throughout the ordeal. She released him back into the feeder right after trimming all of his teeth. “He quickly ran to the branch and he rubbed and rubbed and rubbed his cheeks on there. You could just tell he was so elated to have those teeth gone from his cheek.”
Talbott said helping animals is incredibly rewarding and she’s ready to step up again if needed. “If he does have a jaw that’s not lined up, or if his upper and lower teeth don’t match… [this] could easily happen again. Thankfully he does live here and within a few months I’ll know and I can trim him again. I’m sure he would let me,” she laughed.