Two weeks ago today, Older Daughter got her second set of babies. You might remember the two tiny squirrels she took in the first of March. (They’re doing great, by the way. Update at the end of this post.) Last week (before Miracle was rushed to the clinic as an emergency) my plan was to introduce you to the three new wildlife babies that had come in to Wild Angels. And I will do that today. But the numbers have grown again. I will use this post to get you all caught up.
Two weeks ago Older received a call. The woman told her that she had three baby raccoons - very very young. They were found in the back of a dump truck. Older doesn’t know much about how they were discovered. But the woman had been trying to feed them for a day and a night. Older agreed to take them, and the woman hurried them over. Older told me later that these were the youngest raccoons she’d ever tried to save. She hoped she could keep them alive.
There are two boys and a girl. One of the boys is bigger than the other. The girl is the tiniest of the three. They’ve been in Older Daughter’s care for two weeks. She fed these three babies every two hours for several days and nights. Now she has moved to an every-2 ½ -to-3-hour schedule. (This is around-the-clock.) The babies are all gaining weight. It was touch-and-go for a while with the little girl. You can never be sure you’re completely out of the woods, but right now it’s looking pretty good for these three tinies. (I’m never thrilled when my daughter is dramatically sleep deprived. But I deeply admire what she does.) These pictures will grab you and throw you down. Look. How. Cute.
Older got through a week of having three tiny raccoons in addition to the two baby squirrels. Then she received a call from a woman who said they had gone up into their attic to try to catch and release the “bird” they thought was up there making so much noise. When they discovered their critter, however, it was a baby raccoon who was down inside a pipe. We can only surmise that mom had been up there, too, and had moved her litter out. She wasn’t able to get to this one so it was left behind. Older has been extremely worried about this little guy. He was massively dehydrated and his weight was too low for his age. During the first 48 hours, he tried to fade away a couple of different times. Older sat up with him most of one whole night because she knew he was dying. She didn’t want him to die alone. But he pulled through. As of right now, he is doing better.
Then, if that wasn’t enough of a load for Older Daughter, she received a call about an opossum. A mom opossum was dead on a road. All of the babies were dead as well. Except one. This little guy had some minor cuts and scrapes, but there was a more serious issue. Head trauma. He circled and circled. He would exhaust himself. Obviously there was brain swelling. This sometimes remits on its own. But when it didn’t, at her vet’s suggestion, Older gave a couple of tiny doses of steroid. The circling ceased. But this little guy didn’t bounce back. He mostly slept and he continuously jerked. He had trouble moving around. The vet said that this baby was probably thrown against the pavement when the mom was hit by the car, and the prospect was grim as far as severe head trauma in such a young animal. The vet was right and this little guy didn’t make it. But Older and I agree that we’re glad he didn’t go through all of that out beside the road where his mom and siblings were killed.
In the midst of all of the baby care, Older received a call about a type of little mammal she’d never taken in before. The woman said that her cat was carrying a momma vole in his mouth. She raced to save it and somehow could tell that this vole had a nest of babies somewhere. Against all odds, she found the nest. She brought mom and babies to Older Daughter. Of course, this woman and Older expected the mom vole not to survive. There were a couple of surface wounds. Older wasn’t sure if it was the same with voles, but in mice it only takes a surface wound for bacteria from a cat’s mouth to end its life. Older knew that if mom vole didn’t live, it would be almost impossible to keep the babies alive. But mom vole DID make it. She has survived over a week now and is nursing her babies. She makes huge shredded paper towel nests for her and her litter of three. Older says it is impossible to get a good picture of this little family. She gave it her best shot. You can see a couple of the babies. That’s mom coming out of the little house, her head near the babies.
Finally, here is the update on the two baby squirrels. They, too, were very young when Older received them. They were formula babies for a long while, but JUST this week they are learning to eat solid food. Older says it’s precious to watch them. They cannot yet perfectly balance on their back feet while holding a nut in their little hands. So they tip forward with their wrists on the floor while they attempt to scrape off yummy (teensy) slivers of nut with their teeth. Oh, my! So cute!
Babies. So precious, yes? Well, tomorrow I’ll show you some more babies. The shelter is now getting its first confirmation that this Kitten Season is going to be too big to handle.