Every year, thousands of wild animals are injured or killed because of discarded litter. RVWS recently encountered a situation that could have ended as badly had it not been for Mac and Brenda, who rescued a skunk with a tin can stuck on his front leg.

They had first spotted it in a forest and did not see it again until two weeks later, this time in a place that made for easy capture with a live trap. The skunk had likely reached into the can to get at whatever morsels remained but got its paw caught on the half-open lid, which had been pushed down into the can.

Over time, the sharp lid had dug deeper into its paw. It’s incredible that this skunk survived for at least two weeks with a can on its paw, though it was obviously emaciated. We removed the can with tin snips, but veterinary care was obviously required.

Dr. Turmel, Richmond Animal Hospital, sedated the animal, cleaned the wound and took several x-rays. Although the wound was deep and the paw quite swollen, it was a clean cut that did not appear to reach tendons or bone.

“Lucky” stayed with us for twice daily antibiotics until his wound healed and he put on some weight. He would not have survived without intervention, thanks to Mac and Brenda.

The following tips will help keep wildlife safe from litter:

  • rinse recyclable containers to remove food and odours
  • fully remove lids of tin cans; crush cans
  • cut up plastic containers (including dome lids and 6-pack rings)
  • use garbage cans with locking lids or use bungee cords to secure
  • put garbage cans and recycle bins out for collection in the morning instead of the night before