Four baby squirrels had to be separated by a vet after they became tied together by their tails.
The juveniles were found in woodland near Stockton-on-Tees by a member of the public who called the RSPCA.
An officer took them to a local vet who managed to untangle their tails which were effectively plaited together.
It is not known how the squirrels got into their predicament, but it is thought they may have got mixed up in their nest.
They are now being cared for by the vet until they are old enough to be transferred to a wildlife centre with a licence to release grey squirrels.
RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson said she was initially sceptical when she got the call saying four squirrels were unable to get away from each other.
She said: “There were lots of leaves and twigs also tangled and squirrels have sharp teeth so I took them to Vets Now Middlesbrough where we had more hands to help them.
“I think they must have become entangled in the nest and, maybe in their haste to get free, jumped over each other effectively plaiting the tails so they were completely stuck.”
The squirrels will be released into the wild as soon as they are old enough.
Ms Wilson added: “We find wildlife in strange predicaments but this sounded particularly odd, and it definitely was.”