Reuniting Really Reduces Residents!
By Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator
Wild Care receives hundreds of babies in the spring and summer. We make every effort to keep babies with their parents, especially those who are not truly orphaned. Babies who still have healthy parents but have been separated for one reason or another; often by people who are only trying to help.
Wild Care and other wildlife centers will all agree that animal parents, are the best parents. Taking care of an orphan is not easy, it involves long hours and hard work, to do it well. As wildlife rehabbers, we do our best. We have acquired considerable amounts of information over the years, consistently improving our skills. But at the end of the day, we are still humans- not rabbits, squirrels or songbirds.Last week we happily celebrated three successful reuniting’s with Eastern Gray Squirrels!
Niki Walley, one of our Staff Wildlife Rehabilitators’, convinced a woman, who had witnessed a baby squirrel fall from solar panels to the ground, to wait for its mother to come get it. She was instructed to put the baby in a small basket or cardboard box with a heat source, such as a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth, and place it where the baby fell from, and watch from a distance (without being seen). She did indeed wait and watch, with baited breath, to see the mother retrieve the baby. Success!
Recently, I helped a family who opened their shed to see plenty of squirrel damage. The guilty squirrel was also found inside the shed! The homeowner got her husband, who hit the walls with a baseball bat to scare the squirrel away. After the squirrel crisis was over, he grabbed a bag from the shed to use in the yard, and discovered the bag contained a nest of baby squirrels. They were mortified at what they’d done. I convinced them to just put the bag outside of the shed, stay away from the area, and hope the mom would return. Mom did return, and the woman left us a very appreciative message on our phone.
A few weeks ago, Leah Myrbeck answered a call from a man who was planning to use his Bobcat for the first time this season, and it wouldn’t start. He proceeded to find that the wires had been chewed and there was a nest of squirrels inside the machine. He wanted us to come take the squirrels. It took a while to convince him that the mom makes alternative nests for emergencies like this and that she would probably remove her litter from his tractor herself. So, this wonderful man whose electrical system had been partially destroyed, and his Saturday plans broken, agreed to leave his Bobcat alone with its hood open for the duration of the day. We had a plan for Kate Diggs, another rehabber at Wild Care, to meet him in the morning if the mother had not come. This man was such a good sport! Everything worked out, the babies were rescued by mom before dark. I hope the wire repair was not too expensive.
So, from a business standpoint, wildlife reuniting saves time and money. I would have had more interest in math class if the word problems went like this: If a baby squirrel needs to eat five times per day and it takes ten minutes to feed, stimulate, and clean each squirrel, how many hours does it take to care for nine squirrels for just ten days?
It’s a win-win situation! 😉
Feature Image taken from Pinterest, Mary Costello. Video of a mother squirrel removing her babies by Suellen Keller.
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