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The Austin Fire Department responded to a call right before April Fool's Day about a squirrel that managed to get its head stuck in the knothole of a Texas tree

By Kelli Bender
April 07, 2021 05:29 PM
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Squirrel stuck in tree saved by firefighters
Credit: Firefighter Austin Konopik/Austin Fire Department

"This is not an April Fools' Day joke," the Austin Fire Department started their April 1 Facebook post about a recent rescue job.

After learning about how one of the department's crews spent their time ahead of April Fool's Day, the disclaimer seems necessary.

"Just before 7:30 on Tuesday evening, the A-shift crew from Engine 38 responded to a distraught 911 caller who had reported the case of a squirrel who had somehow managed to get his head lodged in the knothole of a tree and was unable to free himself," the Texas fire department wrote in their post, which also featured video from the rescue. "Whether squirrels have a 'reverse' gear remains a mystery, but said squirrel had found himself with his front half stuck inside the interior of the tree while his back half remained unprotected."

"The caller was (rightly so) very concerned as the squirrel had apparently been there for some time; left unaided, he surely would have died a slow and unpleasant death, either from starvation, the elements, or a predator," the agency added.

The Austin Fire Department also noted that while they have experience rescuing animals that get stuck climbing trees, this squirrel rescue is likely the first time they have "literally gotten an animal OUT of a tree."

Even though it was the first squirrel extraction for the firefighters who responded to the call, the crew was able to figure out how to free the animal.

Video of the rescue shows the firefighters carefully maneuvering the squirrel out of the tree, holding on to the rodent's back half while attempting to free the animal's head. After a bit of massaging, wriggling, and turning, the squirrel breaks free of the tree and scampers off quickly.

"And as you can see from the video, shot by Firefighter Austin Konopik, it was no easy feat. But Firefighter Steven Slaughter (that's him, delicately handling the squirrel's back half) would not be deterred; after a good two minutes of work, Steven and Firefighter Shane Burton managed to free the squirrel and send him on his way … we assume none the worse for wear since he didn't stick around to offer so much as a 'thank you,'" the fire department added in their Facebook post.

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While the whole incident may seem like a joke to some, the Austin Fire Department said they were happy to help out the stuck squirrel.

"We're always going to be there to come to the rescue of those who need it, whether they've got two legs or four," the Austin Police Department concluded their post.