A Vancouver skunk known as Bubbles has undergone surgery to save it from a discarded beverage lid that was slowly choking the animal.
Officials said Bubbles was young when the lid first got stuck around its neck, likely several weeks ago, and the lid became tighter as the skunk grew, cutting into the animal's flesh.
Mia Cirotto, who is with the Wildlife Rescue Association, helped trap Bubbles as part of a rescue operation. She said the animal is recovering from surgery carried out Tuesday to remove the lid and repair the damage it caused.
"Bubbles is doing really well. She did scratch a little bit overnight and ripped out a couple of sutures, but it's not a problem," Cirotto said. "Everything looks really good and she's very feisty ... and is spraying a lot."
Cirotto said it's not unusual for skunks to get their heads stuck in random objects — they are easily attracted to food smells and because their heads are triangular in shape, it is easy for them to push through narrow openings.
But when they try to pull away, their fat and fur sometimes prevents them from escaping.
"It's very common with skunks," Cirotto said. "They get trapped in those plastic beer can holders, they also get trapped in dumpster drains as well. They'll stick their heads in to peek around and see what food is there and then they won't be able to pull themselves out."
Without help, Cirotto said, the animals starve or choke to death.
Officials recommend people cut up plastic rings or discs before discarding them, and screen off openings where skunks might think there is food.