Memo to people who toss garbage on the ground like it's no big deal: You're probably killing innocent animals with your trashy behaviour.
Raccoons, squirrels, possums, skunks, even dogs and stray cats — they all like people food just as much as we do, and they'll go to great lengths to slurp up what's left of a sugary beverage if you don't properly dispose of the container it came in.
A hungry skunk is the latest wild animal to be caught on camera in the Toronto area with fast food refuse stuck on its head, impeding its ability to eat or drink, and potentially constricting its airway.
Fortunately, he was spotted by some professional lifesavers while struggling at the side of a highway.
Simcoe County paramedics Mary Schermel and Katelyn Knaap were driving along County Road 10, just west of Highway 400 in Innisfil, around 3:30 a.m. earlier this week when they noticed what appeared to be a small animal in distress.
The team circled back around to see what was up and found a skunk with an Iced Capp cup from Tim Hortons on its head.
Donning full protective gear in case of a sudden spray, the paramedics managed to save the skunk from certain death by gently pulling the cup from his head.
The whole thing was captured on camera and posted to Schermel's Instagram Stories feed.
The skunk never sprayed the paramedics. In fact, it approached them multiple times, albeit skittishly, almost as though he were asking for help.
"3 a.m. work duties. Little guy just wanted an Ice Capp!" wrote Schermel in the caption of one post. "This counts as a save right? DON'T LITTER."
Yes, it most definitely counts as a save in my humble opinion, and in the opinions of all good people, and these paramedics are Canadian heroes.
Sadly, this particular skunk was exceptionally lucky to have been spotted by Schermel and Knaap — most creatures in such a predicament die with human trash stuck to their heads.
"The smell of food coming from human garbage, compost, and recycling is irresistible to animals," notes the Toronto Wildlife Centre, which has dealt with its fair share of calls for raccoons with jars on their heads.
"Rinse all recycling and other garbage before putting it in the right bin," reads an animal-proofing guide on the charitable organization's website. "Unwashed recycling and garbage not only attract wildlife, but can also hurt them: wild animals can get their heads or paws permanently stuck in cans, jars, and bottles."
PETA similarly encourages everyone to rinse out containers, crush cans and cups, screw lids on jars, and cut open empty cardboard and plastic vessels so that small animals can't get their faces or heads trapped inside.
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO