For weeks, a squirrel that appeared to have a "white fur beard" has visited the backyard of Angela Fernquist, a mother of four in Hanover, Massachusetts.
"The kids started calling it 'Santa Squirrel' because of the white fur around its neck," Fernquist told ABC News today. "But after I finally got to see the squirrel up close this past weekend, I thought it might not be fur."
Fernquist said she captured a high-resolution photo of the squirrel this past Monday, and that's when she realized that what her kids mistook as a beard was actually a hollow bone stuck around the critter's neck.
"I felt so bad for the the lil' squirrel," she said, adding that she contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston in the hopes of saving the critter.
On Tuesday, the ARL of Boston helped Fernquist set up a humane peanut butter trap to capture "Santa Squirrel," according to Dot Joyce of the ARL.
Joyce told ABC News today that the rodent was taken to a veterinarian's office in Dedham, Massachusetts. There, she said a technician gave the squirrel anesthesia and cut through the bone to free the squirrel from its shackle.
The squirrel was released back in the wild in Fernquist's backyard on Wednesday, Joyce said.
Fernquist told ABC News today that she and her kids were "really excited" to hear that "Santa Squirrel" made it out OK and they are hoping he visits their deck again soon.