Tag Archives: rehabilitation

Squirrel Apocalypse

Baby season at the rescue center is finally starting to wind down, with most orphaned or injured spring babies getting ready to be released.  Fawns will be released in October, raccoons and raptors in September, coyotes around the end of September/beginning of October… but now is the season of the 2nd generation of squirrels.  We lovingly refer to this as squirrel apocalypse.  By the end of the month, our baby mammal room will be filled to the brim with baby squirrels, each incubator filled with 5 or 6 squirrels each (they love to cuddle with each other).  I wrote about this last year close to this time.  It’s important enough that I think it deserves a repeat.

Squirrel Talk

wpid-68747470733a2f2f776562746f6f6c666565642e66696c65732e776f726470726573732e636f6d2f323031322f30342f637574652d737175697272656c2d6c312e6a7067.jpgWildlife rescue and rehab centers are coming up on a very busy season… squirrel season. By the middle of August, we will be inundated with baby squirrels who have fallen out of their nest or who have been chucked out by their mom for one reason or another.  Most squirrels have two breeding periods, December to February and May to June.  I don’t know what it is about the summer babies, but they are constantly falling out of their nests and landing on the ground for kind-hearted people or predators to find.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME ACROSS A BABY SQUIRREL:

If you can reach the nest, put the baby back in it.

If you don’t know where the nest is, leave him on the ground and gently press on the baby’s foot to make him call for his mom.  Then leave the area.  If the mom knows where her baby is, she’ll come down the tree and carry it back to the nest, but she will never come around if people are nearby.  You are a predator to her.  Check on the baby later to make sure mom found him.

If the above two options don’t work, gently place the baby in a box or container in which it can breathe and take it to your closest wildlife rescue center.  NEVER EVER try to raise or feed squirrels if you’re not a licensed rehabber.  Babies require very specific formula in order to keep them strong and healthy.  If not properly nourished, they will develop metabolic bone disease, a very painful condition that causes their bones to break which is extremely cruel and inhumane (I can’t stress this enough), and there’s nothing that can be done to save them.

To locate your nearest wildlife rescue, visit your state’s Fish and Wildlife website.  They will have resources to help you.  Or you can contact me and I can help you find your nearest rescue.

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Just for fun, I thought I’d do a running tally on squirrels this month to give you an idea of what squirrel apocalypse is all about. Since August 1st, we have admitted 10 squirrels.  While 10 may not sound like all that many right now… think about it… that’s 10 little mouths that need to be hand fed multiple times per day.  Stay tuned… 😀

A Day In The (Wild) Life…

Disclaimer, or warning, or whatever:  The beginning of this post is not a happy one… if you want sunshine and roses, skip to paragraph 7.

I may possibly have a couple of new friends who don’t actually know what I do during the day… I work for a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility.  I am not a rehabber… I cannot work medical magic on wildlife.  I am, however, the animal 9-1-1 operator of the Seattle area, from Blaine to Tacoma and beyond, and I am also one who will occasionally go out and rescue, and every now and again, I get the opportunity to release wildlife back into their area.

Sometimes, I have really bad days or weeks.  This was one of those weeks.  The following is just a sample of what I encounter day in and day out.  While I usually have to hold back on what I say and how I react, this post is aimed at letting those people know how I really feel.  Just consider this cathartic for me, because that’s exactly what it is.  I never actually said what I thought, but boy, would I have loved to.

beaver

Source: Pinterest

To the woman who brought the baby American beaver in one full week after you called for advice… bad move.  You stated on the intake form that it had been “run over by cars.”  Had it been your cat or your dog that you’d seen being run over, would you have waited an entire week?!  How is it okay to watch an animal be run over by a car, and then wait 7 days to get it medical help?  Especially when said medical help is free??  I will never understand, but thank you for bringing it in.  Due to severe pain and internal injuries, it was humanely euthanized.  We quite possibly could have saved it and reversed its injuries, but you didn’t even give us a chance because you were selfish and didn’t bring it in as you were advised.

To the woman who felt it was necessary to “raise” a wild baby bunny for 2 weeks all by yourself without any experience or knowledge… bad move.  Had you brought it to us in the beginning, it would have been properly nourished and released back to the wild to be free.  The bunny you brought us, after 2 weeks of improper nourishment, was emaciated, dehydrated, and dying with agonal breathing.  As for the “lack of compassion” you accused me of having because I didn’t “pity” your situation… where was your compassion when you found this baby?  What made you think you could possibly raise this bunny to good health when you have zero wildlife rehab experience? People… I will tell you right here and right now… don’t trust what you read on the internet… wild bunnies are different from domestic bunnies, and their tummies do not absorb “goat’s milk” or “kitten replacement milk” as domestic bunnies may.  Do not feed wild bunnies milk or it will kill them.  And the reason the pet store won’t tell you this is because they want to sell you a load of products.  End result:  Euthanized, because it was suffering thanks to human intervention.

And, lastly, for the man who came upon a hawk while he was out on a trail riding his bike, a hawk that had a bag tied to its leg, the man wanted someone to come rescue the hawk after it had flown up to the underside of a bridge, a man who had no problem telling me I didn’t have “the balls or compassion” to rescue this animal with a bag tied to its leg… please, tell me, how would YOU catch a bird who can still fly?? You were afraid of its talons so you were frozen and just stood there until it flew away.  For crying out loud, put a sheet over it then put a box over it. But no, instead you decided to lay blame on me and the organization I work for because we didn’t “have the balls or compassion” to rescue it, even after I explained to you that I can’t rescue a bird who can still take flight.  I personally have lifted a full-sized deer into the back of a truck without hesitation, because my compassion gives me the strength and the balls to do so.  You, sir, however, only want to put the problem in someone else’s hands and then complain when they don’t do what you’d like them to do to solve your problem. But please, if you know of anyone who can catch a bird mid-flight, I’m all on it… give me that resource because I’d love to meet this superman.  The end result:  I redirected him to Fish and Wildlife so that he could tell THEM they didn’t have any “balls or compassion” as that’s what F&W get paid for.

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However… all that being said… there are some really good and happy endings that make my job worthwhile.  I received this text from a lady in Issaquah, a single mom who had 4 children.  She texted me a photo of a deer dying on her property and asked for advice.  Unfortunately, I told her it had to be dispatched. This was the final response from her (notice… I had compassion):

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I was on the phone most of the day with a man who was concerned about a fledgling barn owl and he was reporting its every move.  We went and got the owl, and it was eventually released healthy and happy.

owl audubondotorg

Audubon.org

 

A baby raccoon was feared to be abandoned.  However, the man who called sent me a picture of the baby raccoon, and there was no evidence that it had been abandoned because it was clean and healthy.  I advised him to leave it alone and keep an eye on it.  Guess what?! Mom came back.

BR attackofthecutedotcom

attackofthecute.com

 

Got a call from a lady who felt a fawn had been abandoned by its mom because it was sitting in a road.  I told her to put it back exactly where she found it.  Mom immediately came.  The lady didn’t even have time to drive away.

 

And as for Daryl, the domestic bunny I babysit all day at work (he belongs to the clinic manager), he’s still alive and kicking, getting bigger and better and more and more spoiled.  He’s standing up in his enclosure, wondering why I haven’t picked him up recently to give him cuddles.  He knows me well and totally knows how to play me.

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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10 (KJV)

If you run across an injured or orphaned animal, please, please, please contact your nearest rescue center.  And if we occasionally say that sometimes it’s best to let nature take its course, believe it to be true.  Nature has been around a lot longer than we have.