5 min read

Baby Skunk Saved From Plastic Cup That Almost Killed Him

Something looked a little off about a baby skunk recently found rummaging for food in a someone's yard.

Closer inspection showed that his life was actually in danger: A plastic lid from an iced coffee cup had become stuck around his neck.

Joy Huggins (left) holding the skunk while a volunteer, Brianne Tweedie, cuts off the plastic lid | Deb Lehman/Wildlife Haven Waterloo

Luckily, the little skunk chose the exact right place to show up. He was scrounging for snacks in the yard of Wildlife Haven Waterloo (WHW), a rescue organization for wild animals in Ontario.

"I managed to trap him in a net," Joy Huggins, founder of WHW, told The Dodo. Huggins then called her friend, Deb Lehman, who photographs wildlife to raise awareness about conservation, so she could catch the whole thing on camera.

Deb Lehman/Wildlife Haven Waterloo

"We picked up the skunk and cut off the plastic," Huggins said. "He was scared, but he wasn't trying to bite - he was pretty polite."

The fur around the lid was all matted down, suggesting the lid had been around his neck for a while. "I reached out to rub the area where the lid had been, and the little guy put his head down so I could give him a nice scratch."

Huggins comforted the scared baby skunk before releasing him back into the wild. | Deb Lehman/Wildlife Haven Waterloo

The skin wasn't wounded, so Huggins and her team of volunteers let the skunk go and he scampered off into the woods.

But this skunk isn't the only one who's had a run-in with garbage. Properly disposing of trash can actually save lives, and Huggins and WHW is trying to get the word out.

Deb Lehman/Wildlife Haven Waterloo

"At the beginning of every spring season we post reminders about how the lids used for fancy ic[ed] drinks and sundaes can be deadly to our wildlife," WHW wrote on Facebook. "Here again is another animal that would have suffered a very slow and torturous death. This juvenile skunk would have eventually suffocated or died of infection as this sundae lid cut into its neck."

Deb Lehman/Wildlife Haven Waterloo

"How did you keep him from spraying you?" one person asked on Facebook about the skunk recently saved by Huggins and her team.

"We didn't," WHW replied. "He sprayed but it was worth saving his life."

Iced coffee cup lids, as well as six-pack plastic rings, can pose real threats to animals.

Remember to cut all plastic rings and to wash and cut plastic cup lids before putting them into a recycling bin. Better yet, use a reusable cup you never have to throw away. Little animals - and the earth - will thank you.

Click here to learn how you can help WHW rescue animals.

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