Squirrel McNastyface

Squirrel McNastyface

*Emily and Anna sing The Brain Scoop theme* Coming to you from the basement of The Field Museum in front of a live studio audience: Anna Goldman, and Emily Graslie! Yay!
– Hi! This is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen! I mean, he does not look like most of the other squirrels that we get. He’s got a giant abscess on his face, he looks blind in one eye, and his teeth are overgrown. I think it’s the abscess that prevented him from eating. Yeah. So my expert hypothesis is that he got some kind of like, injury or tumor that caused the abscess which pushed his jaw over, ’cause this thing is huge! It’s like having a globe growing out of your face. And then, you know, his teeth didn’t line up and then he couldn’t eat, and he’s all skinny, and he doesn’t look very good. I’m wearing gloves because there is cottage cheese coming out of a hole. Oh come on, it’s like egg custard. I would eat egg custard. I would not lick that. It feels like two solid masses. Well, gooey. Like Jell-o masses. Oh god. This might be the first time that I throw up on The Brain Scoop. I’m not wearing gloves, because whenever I do wear gloves, I like, I don’t feel as much. This is a really tactile experience for me, that I need to feel, like, where the muscle is and where it stops in the skin. And I can do this really well.
– And if I do that with gloves, it’s just kind of like… It’s like closing your eyes and putting your hand into a bag of like, wet noodles. He’s really skinny!
– His arm up here, his arm- He is really skinny. And there’s not a lot of pull.
– Loose skin. You know, a lot of the times there’s more between the skin and- Yeah.
– He’s dehydrated. He’s very dehydrated. And emaciated. So his pad gets stuck sometimes, so we’ve gotta make little
– Well it doesn’t help that- incisions to kinda help it.
– You can see all the tiny little ligaments. Ohp, it let go.
– Aw, look at his cute little foot! That tendon. That’s his heel. Aw, the little digits!
– So we do the best to try and get all of the fur off, but sometimes that just doesn’t always happen. And that’s okay ’cause the beetles don’t mind it all that much. They kinda eat around it. Woah. Woah. There you go. Yeah, so he’s got little, those little toes left.
– Wow! If he wasn’t so dehydrated, you might be able to pull the skin more easily. You’re still pretty quick, though. Look at you go!
– It’s not so bad. It’s all about your finger work. Yeah.
– Gotta work your fingers. Do you know what that is?
– That’s his penis. That’s his penis. Now, they’ve got a bone in their penis, so I just want to make sure to keep that bone,
– Oh man. which is right there- that little sharp bony thing right there- I want to keep that with the body and not with the skin because we’re actually going to discard the skin. That’s a ball. It kinda came out.
– Oh. A testicle. Whoops, put that back in there. What is the nastiest thing you’ve ever worked on? There was a mangabey in our freezer, which is a really large monkey.
– Oh. A monkey probably like the size of an adolescent child. Probably like an 8 year old child.
– Oh my gosh. And that was- and I was primarily alone in the lab that day, like there were like some people that were there that were taking like half days and like, man, me and this like, child on my table. It was crazy.
– Oh man. That was really rough, and that’s the first time I did a monkey, and they have like, fingerprints… Yeah. They look human-like.
– It was really insane, and so after he was sitting there with his skin off, it looked like there was a kid with a tail just like, skinned on my lab table. It was really rough. So you’ve seen some things.
– Yeah. It gets rough in that freezer. This is so much fun just watching you do this. Also, I love seeing his little foot. It looks reptilian. It’s really- there are so many tendons in there.
– So this is his whole foot, this is like your part of the foot. This is the heel that you walk on. And here are his long freakish toes. Woah, look at that! Look at that! “Hi Anna! How are you doing?”
– “Oh hey Mr. Squirrel!” That’s amazing! That’s like, putting pressure on these like, tendons and you can flex them. These are reproductive accessory glands! So these get larger when he’s reproductively active. But I’ve squeezed one before and it came out like… it came out a lot like custard, too, but like, really thick custard. Sticky. Sticky, thick-like-glue custard. I feel a little bit nauseous thinking about that.
– I’m alright with that. He is so emaciated! He’s so skinny.
– He’s really thin. You’re not supposed to be able to see all of his little ribs and his tiny little waistline. That is not attractive! There are his little whiskers from his arm.
– Awwww. ‘Cause they’re arboreal, so they need to be able to feel all over the place. They have arm whiskers?
– They have arm whiskers. Squirrels have arm whiskers. Squirrels have genital accessories and arm whiskers.
– “Assessories” Ohp, there it is! It’s the beginning!
– Augghh no! No! There it is. It’s coming.
– No! Eww! Guhhh. Oh, holy cow!
– Okay, we want to make sure not to slice it. Don’t poke that. I don’t want to see that. Oh, holy cow.
– Ohp. Ooh! There’s something else gooey right there. No!
– Oh. Wow! Are those infected lymph nodes? Ulghh.
– I don’t think- aw, no, that’s other stuff. That’s more- Oh, yeah, right there! Aw, yeah.
– Noooo. Yeah.
– Stop it. I don’t wanna touch it. I’ll just watch you do it. Bear with me, Emily.
– That’s the back of his head. No, I’m so- this is like, worse than watching a horror movie when the girl is going into the basement and you’re like, “Don’t go in the basement!” That’s disgusting!
– It’s awesome. Oh my gosh! That is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen on somebody’s face! So, for perspective, this is the ear. I’m about to come to the eye, right here. His eye’s bugging out of his face.
– Yeah, so I’m gonna try not to slice the eye. Ughh, that is awful!
– Oh, his whole jaw is off. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, it’d be so swollen. Are you gonna pop it? Are you gonna drain it?
– Well, so it’s underneath the cheek, right? ‘Cause his muscle’s under there, so if it was on the surface we could just remove it, but look: this is like, in his face. It’s under his muscle.
– Yeah. And it’s over there, too. I want to see what’s up with his mouth. Like what is in his- he was trying to eat something, so that’s all food that he couldn’t swallow. Normal squirrel right here. See how the teeth kinda come together like that? That’s really important. They don’t come up like that. So they wear each other down. But they didn’t have that opportunity. No, this guy needed braces. You’re just taking it off. Ullgghh. I was kind of hoping it would provide some additional insights on what is going on with his face right now. There’s his brain!
– You wanna go in? There’s his brain! You take a scoop. This is why the scoop is so small. This is what brains look like, you guys. For bigger brains, you just, you put it in there and you swirl it around, and then it comes out. Isn’t it amazing?
– You just swirled up all of his memories. Oooooh. You know, it kind of reminds me of when I try to make like, homemade Thousand Island sauce, like mixing the mayo and ketchup together. Oh, it’s like special sauce on your Big Macs.
– Now it’s ruined for everybody. So what do you want to do?
– I don’t know, are you gonna remove this goo? Look at that. See, we could even scoop the-
– I don’t know, so this was, like, it’s like, solid. See that? Oh, yeah.
– It’s like- Can you pull it out? Oh, jeez. I feel like if you squeezed it really hard, you would get some kind of dramatic, disgusting action going. But like…
– Yeah, it’s not really… Nope, it doesn’t really want to go anywhere.
– No. Ohp, it kinda came out behind it, like right there.
– But it’s still so solid!
– Yeah. [in unison] Woah. Ohp. Oh jeez. This is gonna end up on that one subreddit. I just know it. The big mass isn’t getting any smaller, but like, this other smaller mass is. So like, oh, there it is.
– Woahp. There it is.
– Aughh. How are you doing, Emily? My intern’s gonna be doing the subtitles for this episode, and it’ll just be like, “HERRRMP. NEHHHHH.” -Emily the Wookiee That- That’s a lot. That is a lot of fluid to be in somebody’s face. His eyeball is like popping out of his face. Wonder if we can take his eyeball out.
– Yeah, do it. I hope this is like, educational enough. I’m afraid people are gonna be like, “Yeah, and then they like, popped a zit for 40 minutes on The Brain Scoop.” Ullhh. Eww! Oh jeez, wow. So that pink tissue’s normal.
– Yeah, the pink tissue’s normal, the eyeball is normal, but this is not. The infection coming from behind his eye.
– Yeah, look. So this looks like it comes from in his skull. The infection was probably happening somewhere around here. So they eye is like, still connected to a bit of muscle that connects like, from the top of the skull down to the bottom where it attaches with the mandible. So if you can imagine an infection coming up from the side, growing over the back of the sagittal crest- this is called the squamosal bone- then it like, that pressure is coming in this small space behind this ocular ridge, this orbital, and pushing at it from behind. So it’s like literally getting under the eye and being like, “NERRRP.” Ohp. Ohp. It busted through. You’ve done- ohhh.
– Ohp. Ohhh. This is like, popping everywhere. I’m not gonna help you with this one, I’m sorry. Aw, you brought your gloves on for nothing.
– I’m just, I’m hands off. I know, I can’t help it. It’s just gross. Which is okay. It is okay to be grossed out. It’s really, I think it’s really, this is- Woah, woah. Woah. Oh, man.
– Okay. Alright. Why? It’s like solidly on there, I can’t even rip at it. And this is like, this is bone right here. I don’t even know how to get through it. Okay, alright. Oka- alri- ohp. Okay, alright, ohp. That… is SICK!
– Ohp. Ohh. WOAHH. It-oh. It-oh. Ulhg.
– Oh my god.
– Jeez. It has no smell. It has no smell. It smells like…
– It has no smell. It smells like sawdust. Like, it has no smell. And it has a greenish tinge. Do you see that?
– Yeah. Can you see that on there?
– Mhmm. You gotta feel that- this is like, this is weird. Is that bone?!
– This is bone. *Sharp gasp!*
– Touch it! Ew! Aw, that’s amazing! So I’m gonna open the jaw.
– Okay. Okay.
– Oh, wow. Yeah, so this has a hole in the bone.
– And this is all supposed to be smooth, but it’s not. It’s rigid and porous. Since it’s so small and it doesn’t need to dry out too much, we can put it in the beetles. We can- We can show it going in the beetles.
– You wanna do it? Right now? My nose won’t stop itching! They get really excited. Alright! How is it?
– Oh, well it’s not quite clean. They got most of it, that’s all of the pus.
– Yeah. Yeah, I think they ate around the pus. Oh my god.
– Woahhh. Look at that! It’s all just- it’s-
– Oh, that’s- that’s like- That’s terrible. He had some awful infection.
– Wowww. So who knows what caused this to happen- injury or infection- but, this is how your body reacts. This is how your bones react when there’s-
– If we didn’t have doctors and antibiotics. I know. And you know, this is pretty tragic, and you think, “sad, poor squirrel.” But people in underdeveloped countries who don’t have access to modern medicine have to deal with this. Modern healthcare is really a privilege to have. We should all feel very lucky and thank our doctors. Yeah, and brush your teeth!

100 thoughts on “Squirrel McNastyface

  1. 6am, sipping coffee and eating some toast. I've seen so much worse at my job as a groomer, oddly enough. xD

  2. Was that an abscess, a tumor or an infection??
    Awesome and super gross episode! thanks Brainscoop. 😀 Amo su trabajo.

  3. Anna Goldman you are a rockstar. I dig women who are excited by science and are not squeamish about getting their hands a little messy for a good cause.
    I am curious where did Squirrely Mcsquirrilface come from? How did you obtain his carcass?
    It is sorrowful the amount of suffering the horse squirrel went through.

  4. Cool, that was hard to watch, but the ending is satisfying, seeing how the beetles got to work and just cleaned that whole thing up. Thanks beetles!

  5. I'm never looking at custard the same way again…. . Grossest part is not the substance, but how it pops out, like there are many small pockets or membrane sacs grouped together, and they start individually breaking open. DX

  6. This must be the dark underbelly of 'The Brain Scoop'. A little too real for my taste. I wonder what's happening over on the Graham Norton channel….See Ya!

  7. Ugghhh….that was like the nastiest zit ever! I love the enthusiasm for her work though! "Look at this! It's awesome! You should touch it!"
    I feel her though on the whole wearing gloves thing. I'm a very tactile person, and having gloves on is like losing part of your senses when your hands are capable of telling you so much about a thing.

  8. That face infection reminds me the time I had a butchered wisdom teeth extraction surgery and a teeth fragment was left in my mouth. It infected and my left cheek started to swell, I had to get the damn fragment pulled off and endure three painful penicillin shots to get it back to normal.

  9. I’m guessing osteomyelitis? The pockmarks in the bone look somewhat similar, but I’m not a medical doctor so it’s just a very uneducated guess. 🙂

  10. This is the only brain scoop video that grossed me out .. There is no way I'd work with pus without gloves (I'm a medical doctor) .. Also you could get squirel pathogens (that's how SARS got caught the first time)

  11. I watched the wolf (all of them). I watched the anteater. I watched the zebra parts. I watched the beaver. Yet this, THIS, was the one that got me feeling nauseous. Pulling animal skins off over their heads? Actually quite interesting. Intestines spilling out of a cut into the abdominal cavity? Whatever. Emily playing with tendons and showing how various muscles flex and relax? Yes, please. Anna "popping" the abscess and pus coming out? Mouth gets shut hard and I'm swallowing hard all of a sudden. The kicker? I love watching pimple popping videos on YouTube. I've watched abscesses and cysts being surgically removed before. For some reason, the combination of dissection and abscess got me. Gonna go watch the one about the hyena diorama again.

  12. I don't want to watch it past 8:00 but I also want to see what happens next. Got I bucket right next to me just in case

  13. Damn I'm not an easily nauseated person but I legitimately started dry heaving when they dissected the abcess in its face yikes

  14. No different than gutting and skinning an animal after hunting you dont wear gloves that would just be weird to wear gloves.

  15. Look's like a Zymbal's gland tumor. Rats get them, too, and it's a very similar presentation, and usually presents as an abscess before anything else. I've dealt with them in a couple of my rats, and they are heartbreaking even with palliative care. I can't imagine what this poor guy went through before he died. 🙁

  16. I popped a pimple above my chocolate milk. It tasted horrible afterwards…
    I learnt my lesson. Never pop a pimple over your chocolate milk you're drinking. It will end up tasting like pus if you do that.

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